Ever heard of the famed Pacific Coast Highway? Well, I live two blocks from a portion of it. However, it’s not the stunningly gorgeous rugged coastline part of it that you will encounter from central California and northwards. I live in sunny Southern California (with the very crowded freeways) near the very busy PCH that meanders southward toward the ritzy cities of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. Ritzy like millions of dollars for hilltop homes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Ritzy like homes I will only ever glimpse on my drives along PCH. Ritzy like pricey shops lining the roadway that I’ll never step into because there is no way I can ever afford anything from any of them.
Despite all that ritziness, though, it is fun to drive the highway sometimes and absorb the aura. For me, that aura is not so much the homes and shops but the beauty of the ocean that lies on the other side of the road. I’ve done this drive early early early in the morning to arrive at the beach in front of the Montage, a pricey resort, to practice my photography as the sun rises. And I’ve done this drive off season to explore the tidepools in front of the same hotel.
And I’ve also done this drive in the late afternoon heading toward glitzy Laguna Beach in the middle of summer to meet up with my husband’s sister and her hubby. You see, they live in the San Diego environs, so Laguna is a halfway point for them and us. We thought it a bright idea to meet there for dinner one night. Major mistake. MAJOR!
On a warm summer evening, apparently everyone else thinks a coastal drive is a great idea, too. We knew it would be crowded, so we left the house plenty early. Turns out the roads were much more crowded than we expected. It took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to arrive in Laguna with lots of nervewracking traffic to navigate as we scoured the streets for a parking spot. Times like that I wish I had packed a snack for the road, for adding hunger pains to annoying traffic and mega pedestrians makes for ultra grouchiness–on both my part and hubby’s.
Well, we finally arrived–late. As did the other pair (traffic is just as bad along PCH heading northward from the San Diego area). Once we situated ourselves in a cute little Italian restaurant and got some food to fill our bellies, everyone was in a much better mood.
On this night of PCH traffic frustration, my sister-in-law introduced me to the dessert Affogato. In Italian, this literally means “drowned.” You see, the dessert is simply composed of a scoop of ice cream, usually vanilla, topped with coffee, usually in the form of espresso. Hence, the ice cream is “drowned” in the coffee. And the dessert eater has the awesome job of saving the ice cream from drowning by scarfing it up!
Who knew something as simple as ice cream swimming in coffee could taste so yummy? Well, I guess if vanilla ice cream pairs so well with root beer, why not something else, too?
After making the Kahlua-Amaretto Ice Cream awhile back, I immediately knew I wanted to try it in affogato. I use Kahlua, afterall, to enhance espresso ice cream, so I figured the Kahlua-Amaretto Ice Cream would complement espresso even more beautifully than vanilla ice cream in this dessert. And I was right. Scrumptious. I had a serving nightly until the ice cream was all gone. If you’ve never tried affogato, I recommend it. It’s fun. It’s yummy. It’s easy. Sprinkle some cocoa powder or chocolate sprinkles or even whipped cream on top for an additional pizzazz element and you’ll be sure to impress your guests.
Affogato with Kahlua-Amaretto Ice Cream
- 1-2 scoops of ice cream
- 1/2 cup espresso or strongly-brewed coffee
- optional: whipped cream, cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles for topping
Scoop ice cream into a small bowl or dessert cup, then pour hot espresso over it. If desired, top with whipped cream, dust with cocoa powder, and/or scatter with chocolate sprinkles. Serve immediately.