Photo courtesy of Narvalo Ice Cream & Gelato

I've had it up to here with summer. Yes, the calendar says it's technically fall, but I'm still sweating in places I don't want to talk about. Don't give me that "you San Diegans don't know from hot" business. I know we don't. I don't care. I'm wimpy and have a really big mortgage, and I want my temperate climate back.

But one thing that does bring me constant cheer on the days the sun wants to kill me is ice cream. Icy, sweet and full of calcium! So it's healthy. I realize that everyone's into self-serve froyo, and that's all well and fun, but the best stuff is the real stuff.

Narvalo Ice Cream & Gelato (2205 S. Melrose Dr.), way deep in suburban Vista, is a charming little family-run shop serving ice cream, imported Italian gelato and air conditioning. On a recent visit, I dove into as much gelato as I could. All the traditional flavors are there, including a deep, dark chocolate that is bitter and rich and utterly decadent. My little one dug into a cup of classic chocolate chip, with a sweet cream base and the teensiest little sugar cone perched on top like a jaunty little cap.

The quirkier flavors are worth exploring, too. Check out the green tea gelato, an intense shade of moss green with a strong, sweet matcha flavor. Or try the cocktail-reminiscent amarula cherry, with sweet bits of fruit and a faint whiff of booze. But a real treat to try, particularly at this time of year, is the cinnamon vanilla. Tasting of snickerdoodle and autumn, this is a flavor you normally have to schlep to Julian to get with your pie. Now you only have to get yourself to Shadowridge.


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