Drown Your Sorrows: Affogato at Cafe Lucca
Cafe Lucca in Old Town Orange--which is not to be confused with Lucca Cafe, a Cal-Italian restaurant in Irvine's Quail Hill--was our pick for Best Gelato in OC Weekly's Best of 2009. The prices haven't changed, and the gelato is still excellent, but there's a hidden menu item that is worth exploring: affogato.
Italian for "drowned," an affogato is a ball of gelato--traditionally vanilla, but the sky's the limit--that's drowned in a shot of espresso. You can get your Cafe Lucca affogato two ways: by asking for a small portion in a larger cup and a shot of espresso, or asking them to do it for you.
Cafe Lucca's affogato toward the end of its life...
The advantage to the DIY method is that you can control the temperature of the espresso when the moment arrives for the happy marriage; the espresso will cool faster than the gelato will melt, as long as you order a single espresso.
That said, if you order the affogato to be made, you may get more gelato, and at the end, you get to drink a coffee drink of your own design. Try an affogato, made either way, with the amaretto gelato. Amaretto is a traditional addition to affogato; it's sometimes made as gelato plus a caffè corretto, an espresso "corrected" with liqueur--the flavor is great.
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