Gelato Bravo

The bar is massive; the mirror is framed by dark wood columns with carved capitals. With his swooping gray mustache and barrel chest, bartender Richard Hazzard looks right at home. In the dining room, a few ladies with blue bouffants are lingering over lunch. As Hazzard makes my drink, I sit at a red-and-white-checker-clothed table in the barroom under a photo of Dwight Eisenhower, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. Except for the black-and-white celebrity photos on the walls, Maggiano's Little Italy [2019 South Post Oak, (713)961-2700] looks like it was decorated by somebody's oversize Italian grandma. Giant oil paintings of fruits and vegetables, high wood cabinets full of wine bottles, and big sturdy tables covered with linens echo the old-fashioned Italian theme.

Maggiano's Vanilla Ice

One of Maggiano's house drinks is a frozen lemonade with Absolut Citron. This vanilla variation was created by Hazzard, who is extremely fond of Absolut Vanilla. The frozen drink has an intriguing flavor, sort of like an Italian lemon-vanilla-almond gelato. It's very refreshing, but be careful. The drink tastes so much like dessert, it's easy to forget there's vodka in it.

2 scoops lemon ice (sorbet)
1 scoop crushed ice
5 shots lemonade
2 shots Absolut Vanilla
1 shot amaretto
Lemon slice

Put the sorbet and crushed ice in the bottom of the blender. Pour the lemonade, vodka and amaretto over the top. Blend until smooth. Serve in a large glass and garnish with the lemon slice.


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