July 15th, 2012 | by MARTIN CIZMAR Food & Drink | Posted In: Scoops' Out For Summer

Scoops' out for Summer, Day 15

Caffe Pallino

scoops out for summer logoILLUSTRATION: Casey Jarman

Two gelato shops in a row for Scoops' out for Summer? Don't mind if we do...
 

Caffe Pallino
3003 Southeast Division Street, 232-0907, caffepallino.com.

Price per scoop: $2.95 for a small bowl of gelato
Most popular flavors: Pistachio and Oreo
The person in front of me: A greying couple still chatting a few minutes before close. They had no empty plates or cups and appeared to have been settled in for some time.
Best for: When there long lines for other D Street desserts.

Caffe Pallino seems a little foppish at first. Furnishings are sparse and modern, with the house speakers playing music to match from Portland duo Pure Bathing Culture. 

Yes, this is a place where you will eat a pastel-hued dessert with translucent plastic baby food spoons.

Look back at the well-used open kitchen and you’ll see there’s more going on. It’s a utilitarian set-up and clean but not primly ordered. That makes sense given the juggling act Pallino does to make a go of it on a competitive stretch of Division.

This vaguely Italian cafe does a little bit of everything: brioche French toast for breakfast, BLTs for lunch and rigatoni with chicken for dinner. Their counters are piled with baked goods from other eateries, all past their peak at this late hour. The gelato, however, is their own product. It’s good stuff: Slickly creamy, with mix-ins that don’t overwhelm the milkiness. The flavors aren’t anything revolutionary—I opted for Oreo—but you could easily walk a few blocks in either direction and spend a lot more money for far worse food. I haven’t eaten anything else at Pallino, but given its mission statement is to provide “a delicious gourmet meal” for “close to the price of a Big Mac” I’d wager it’s in a similar spirit.

That’s a good thing. What’s a neighborhood without neighborhood joints?


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