Cold Rush


By Brandon Hernandez
Photos by Brevin Blach

(unless otherwise noted)

Keeping cool like Cheech Marin isn’t as easy as it looks.

No sweat.

When the summer sun gives us hot times, PacificSD makes cold calls-a countywide collection of America’s Finest and frostiest sweet spots-to help you lick the heat (and those pesky munchies) in style.

Can a brain freeze of this magnitude be habit forming? Ask Cheech...

In the world of yogurt shops, where seemingly no flavor is off limits, Linda Vista’s Fiji Yogurt stands apart from the pack. Fiji’s co-owners, Kyle and Cory Miholich, team up with neighbors Home Brew Mart and the MIHO Gasrotruck to create regular beer-and-food tasting events. The Miholich brothers whip up beer-flavored yogurt for the events, creating flavors including Victory At Sea Imperial Porter with Caffe Calabria coffee bean chunks and Even Keel Ale-lemonade-ginger sorbet. The next tasting at Fiji is August 11. Cheers!

Fiji Yogurt, 5401 Linda Vista Rd., Suite 407, Linda Vista

When it comes to popsicles, there’s more on the market these days than the Bomb Pops and Otter Pops kids score from ice cream trucks. At Viva Pops, they’re freezing fresh fruit, dairy and herbs to produce flavors such as Salted Caramel, Strawberry Basil and Margarita with Salt. Viva Pops uses as much seasonal, local produce as possible, but in the end, it’s not all that heady. Popsicles-even the mango-chili kind-are all about a tasty return to childhood.

Viva Pops, 3330 Adams Ave., Normal Heights, 619.795.1080,

Pastry chef Rachel King turns tradition on its head at Searsucker.

Her King Sundae- comprised of peanut butter cup-flavored ice cream, candied pecans, torched bananas and...wait for it...bacon caramel sauce-is the chill equivalent of a hunk of burning love.

“It was inspired by Elvis’ favorite sandwich (peanut butter and banana),” says King, who admits she also wanted to see her name on the menu. “The combination is perfect-salty, sweet, cold, hot, creamy, crunchy. I love contrast, and this dessert hits the mark.”

Searsucker, 611 Fifth Ave, Downtown

Slices may be the name of the game at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, but their aptly-named Messy Sundae is legendary. Served in a 22-ounce glass, the confection is a decadent eruption of caramel and chocolate syrups. The walnut-studded behemoth’s been on the menu since Sammy’s opened its first location.

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza 10 locations countywide

When it comes to gelato-Italy’s extra rich and creamy version of ice cream-it’s all about tradition and the perfect marriage of texture and flavors.

In San Diego, nobody does this better than Gelato Vero Caffe, a double-decker sanctuary for Italian coffee drinks and icy mounds of perfection at the foot of Mission Hills. Though their suped-up gelatos include a Mocha Rum Crunch, nothing screams authentic Italiano louder than Gelato Vero’s Chocolate Hazelnut. With bursts of cocoa and nuttiness in every bite, your taste buds will feel like they’ve just arrived in Florence.

Gelato Vero Caffe, 3753 India St.
(at the corner of Washington St.)
Middletown, 619.295.9269

Packed with free-radical-fighting antioxidants and healthful omega fatty acids, the Amazonian açai berry is getting a lot of play these days, and no place in town is playing it up quite like Sambazon Açai Café.

As the only source of freetrade açai in the county, the Cardiff-by-the-Sea café serves simultaneous doses of fuel, flavor and conscience. Offerings include their Brazilian Rio Bowl, a combination of frozen açai blended with banana and apple juice, topped with granola and more bananas. “It’s just like you’d find on the beaches of Rio,” says Sambazon’s communications
manager, Kaia Lai. “You can also build your own bowl, choosing from 18 toppings.”

Sambazon Açai Café, 2031 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Poet Ogden Nash said, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” Have both at the same time at Wet Willie’s in the Gaslamp, where a rainbow of frozen daquiri machines line the huge wall behind the bar.

Make a great escape with a cup of Bahama Mama, a mixture of banana, coconut, raspberry and Bacardi light and dark rums. Or erase the experience from memory with a Call a Cab, a pink drink made with 153 or 190 proof grain alcohol.

Wet Willie’s, 555 Market St., Gaslamp

You can’t drink on the beach, but you can get a serious brain freeze steps from the sand at P.B. Shore Club, which serves up Vodka Red Bull Slushies to the masses.

Shore Club owner Doug Sondomowicz says that during busy weeks, the iconic beach bar powers through 150 cases of Red Bull to make the stiff, frozen drink. “Sometimes we do margaritas and Sweet Tea Vodka Lemonades in the summer, but we can barely keep the Vodka Red Bulls frozen with all five machines going on a sunny day,” Sondomowicz says.

PB Shore Club, 4343 Ocean Blvd., Pacific Beach

It wouldn’t be summer in San Diego without margaritas. For some of the county’s finest, head to Hacienda de Vega in Escondido. Their Hacienda Margarita, a tamarind and tequila-based refresher with potent, Mexican chile-salt on the rim of the glass, turns up the heat with the greatest of cool.

Hacienda de Vega, 2608 S.
Escondido Blvd., Escondido

Cheech Marin’s sham sundaes and counterfeit cones come courtesy of Fax Foods, in Vista. For the ultimate fake-out, visit