While many parts of the country are bracing for cold weather we can still enjoy frosty treats on a warm November day. Rosie’s Gourmet Italian Ices with two locations offers a dozen flavors of water ice daily from tangerine, root beer, cotton candy and coconut to pineapple, chocolate cherry, marshmallow and pink grapefruit to name a few of the roster of about 50 flavors. There’s also premium ice cream made by a company that supplies independent shops (try the pistachio with whole roasted nuts in a cup or cone).
There’s no Rosie here, the name comes from one of the owner’s last name. Scott Rosengarten and Jerry Baer met in high school in Philadelphia. Jerry came to South Florida in 1980 to attend Florida International University and stayed to work for a management information systems company. Scott moved down in 1994 with the idea to open an Italian ice place that could stay open year-round. The two trained under a Philly expert to learn the process of making the frozen dessert.
The ices are made by freezing water, sugar, fruit purees and other flavorings while mixing them in a large commercial ice cream machine for a smooth texture. I recently visited the Hollywood stand where you order from a window (or the drive-through) and eat at shaded tile tables. There are also creme ices made with a little cream (try the vanilla chocolate chip or rum raisin) plus banana splits, shakes and sundaes with a choice of hot fudge, caramel or wet walnut sauces.
The thing to get here though is the radio ball, a Philly specialty invented in 1945 at Hecker’s Deli. It consists of a ball of water ice sandwiched in a cup by soft serve ice cream. The name came about as people ate the treat in summer on front stoops while listening to the radio. The ices come in various sizes — up to a four-gallon bucket. This is the place to get gourmet quality ices at reasonable prices. The sunshine is free.