Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures
By: Ryan Hutchins

America has changed in a myriad of ways since the country was founded in 1776, but one of the things that hasn’t changed much since then is the love America has for food. It’s the one thing we can’t go without. Maybe that’s why our love affair with it has only gotten bigger.

But of all the different kinds of food you can enjoy, everyone has their favorite indulgence. A guilty pleasure that you have to have a certain time of the day. Here in Jacksonville, we’re lucky enough to have a wide variety of options to choose from. But two choices really stick out when you’re in Jacksonville and craving something special: Pizza and Ice Cream.

Pizza isn’t even an American invention, but it’s something that we have definitely made our own over the years. Today, you can find a pizza shop practically anywhere in the metro Jacksonville area. It can be a chain or it can be a mom and pop shop; regardless, people just can’t seem to get enough.

So what makes pizza so enjoyable, so memorable? What makes us call a shop at 10:00 at night, praying there’s still one more pie left to be delivered?? Pete Elabu, manager of V Pizza at Jacksonville Beach, thinks it’s because pizza is so universal.

“Pizza is something you can take home and eat in your pajamas and watch television,” Elabu said. “It’s just very comforting.”

The fact that pizza is so transformative, the fact that you can go out to a place and eat or take it home and sit on the couch and watch TV, is what makes it such a favorite—
not just here in Jacksonville, but nationwide. If you don’t finish it, you can wake up and have cold pizza for breakfast. It’s a dish that you can have at any time of the day. The convenience of it has made it one of the most popular dishes we have in our world today.

But after indulging on a slice or two of pizza for dinner, the craving for dessert comes rushing in. Most people have a sweet tooth that has to be satisfied. Luckily, ice cream is there to fulfill that craving for us in Jacksonville.

Just like pizza places, it seems there’s an ice cream shop on every corner here in Jacksonville. That’s good news for us since it’s one of, if not the most, popular dessert treats around.

Ice cream has evolved from just a sweet treat you got when visiting an old farm, to frozen yogurt bars with toppings you can add yourself. Like pizza, chains dominate the plazas and mini malls, but you can still find homemade Ice Cream— believe it or not! Jason Leinheiser, owner of Christy’s Ice Cream Dream Bar, thinks homemade Ice Cream stands out from the pack.

“The flavors are all… nontraditional, for the most part. I didn’t want to use the same old thing for everything, so… we just have different creations,” said Leinheiser.

Trying to stand out in a flooded industry is hard to do these days. But having true, homemade, all-natural flavors is something that separates homemade ice cream, with flavors such as coconut, from the rest.

“It’s real stuff like cream of coconut, coconut flakes, coconut milk; the whole deal,” said Leinheiser.

It’s nice to know that the people of Jacksonville always have plenty of options at their disposal when it comes to their favorite guilty pleasures. Everyone has their personal favorites, but pizza and ice cream have seemingly been there from the start. That’s what makes them two of America’s favorite Guilty Pleasures.