It comes as no surprise that Aldo Sandoval, the culinary mastermind behind Baldo's Ice Cream and Coffee, is not only a chef, but an artist. Who else would dream up inventive flavors like winter spruce, olive oil and cinnamon cayenne? The Art Institute of Dallas grad has poured his creative energy into every aspect of the shiny, new scoop shop, right down to the playful ice cream-themed paintings on the walls.
Also not shocking: the hybrid ice cream and coffee spot has been hopping since opening a little over a week ago. The word is out about all the lovable details, including "Texas proud" offerings from Waco-based Kai Organic Tea and Austin's Little City Coffee. Just about everything else you'll find here, like raspberry white chocolate muffins and gluten-free date pecan cookies, are made in-house. Oh, and did we mention they serve wine and beer?
Ice cream flavors are divided into a trio of categories. Vanilla lovers will be drawn to "vintage" classics, "vitality" flavors like vegan chocolate meet more health-conscious needs and the "why not?" section of the menu is ripe with new discoveries like spiced pear. The mini cone flights (three for $7 or six for $13) make it easy to sample a little of each.
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Sandoval's enthusiasm and attention to detail make a visit to Baldo's a truly stand-out experience. Salted caramel ice cream is finished with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt, winter spruce's rosemary essence is jeweled with cranberries, and colorful flecks of spices adorn a scoop of cinnamon cayenne. The focus on gourmet flavor combinations and fresh, high-quality ingredients will turn any ice cream fan into a regular. If you don't have time to hang out and soak in the chill vibe, it's easy to grab a pint to go from their "flavor vault."
Even in ice cream's slow season, Baldo's is busy. No doubt it'll attract even more fans when the scorching heat of summer arrives. That day always seems to come too fast, and when it does, we'll be first in line.
Baldo's Ice Cream and Coffee, 6401 Hillcrest Ave., across from SMU (University Park)