Downgrade Your Trendy Foods: The $5 Limonata

Updated: Jul 09, 2010 09:14
The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

At the SF Ferry Building location, thirsty Midwesterners line up to wait for what could be entire minutes before handing over their hard earned dollars for lemonade with sorbet in it.

While I don’t really believe in illegal activities, I have very few vices in this world that are not at least somewhat regulated by the government (Television with swear words and alcohol being chief among those). So admitting that the Passion Fruit Limonata from Ciao Bella (now with convenient locations in SF and NYC) is a guilty pleasure of mine is a huge breakthrough for me. Let’s be honest with ourselves here – they’re actually just charging you five bucks for a glass of lemonade with some sorbet in it. And in this painfully detached day in age, if you’re drinking a beverage that costs more than a dollar fifty, has no booze in it and must be ordered in a different language you’re just going to end up sounding like a vintner who’s a friend of Bill’s.

Of course, it’d be nice if I could just join some sort of Limonatics Anonymous group and quit this preposterous beverage entirely, but this isn’t some bullshit Minute Maid Frozen Lemonade from the gelato guy in the park. This is _Limonata_ we’re talking about here – it’s the black tar heroin of cold, citrusy beverages.

And that’s actually a pretty appropriate metaphor because, despite what Tropical Rainbow Skittles would have you believe, it’s actually hard as shit to get your hands on some pure Passion Fruit in this country. Should you find yourself even slightly South of the Border and you’ll see those little yellow balls of tart sunshine literally falling off the trees. But back here in the fertile crescent of Northern California, not even the mighty Berkeley Bowl can round up a suitable Maracuya (that’s the Spanish name for it, try to keep up). The closest we’ll ever get is some syrupy mixer from BevMo, which is not a suitable substitute at all as it turns out.

But now all these problems are behind me, because I have only recently discovered that the aforementioned, bi-coastal, boutique chain store actually sells the very same product in your local grocer’s freezer aisle at a remarkable discount (Or, more accurately, without quite as much markup). An entire pint of Passion Fruit sorbet will run you a mere five dollars and as far as I can tell from the packaging, it’s even manufactured in the same facility which is probably staffed by the Italian World Cup team and, yes – in case you were wondering – it may contain traces of 100% organic sunbeams and rainbows. (Hope you’re not allergic to rainbows!)

And I know what you’re thinking, $5 is still kind of a lot to drop on sorbet, of all things. But look at it this way: One five dollar pint of sorbet, plus two bucks for a half-gallon of Paul Newman’s finest lemonade and you’ve got the supplies for at least four or five tasty beverages. Enough to surprise all of your picnic companions with your stunningly great taste. So how does one make this magical beverage? It’s easy! Just look at the recipe, it’s pretty much the easiest ever and you actually end up with a final product that is nearly identical to the version you’d find at the Ferry Building gelato kiosk:

Broke-Ass Passion Fruit Limonata

Sorbet: I will probably never stray from my Maracuya Mistress, but once again – you’re a grownup who can make big decisions for him/herself, so grab whatever flavor tickles your fancy. Might I suggest the $0.99 Rainbow Sherbet that comes in the 1-gallon plastic tub with a handle on it? (Just makes the scoops super big because where we’re going we don’t need ice cubes.)

Lemonade: Ever since Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman has never steered me wrong regarding: salad dressings, organic Oreo knockoffs, and lemonade. So, I continue to respect his opinion and opt for the Virgin Lemonade. If you’re going ultra-low budget, reach for Crystal Light’s latest flavor abomination.

Finally: drop those scoops of sorbet in a glass, add lemonade, hold the ice. That’s it! And it only cost you like one whole dollar to make. Not including, of course, the cost of the booze you’ll be putting in it once you get about halfway through, at which point you’ll wish you still had that bottle of Limoncello handy for an added flavor of intense authenticity.

Got a trendy or expensive food that you just know you could make at home if only you weren’t so lazy? Leave it in the comments.

Previous post

Street Art Goes Legit During FREE Friday Night Soirée at the DeYoung

Next post

Cheap Sandwiches at Rhea's Deli

Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew is an East Coast transplant from Virginia hamming it up in San Francisco without any intention of leaving. Having worked every typical job from Bike Shop Employee to Bartender to Ad Agency Hotshot, to Dotcom Layoff he now busts his ass covering the "weird things to do" beat for gracious local audiences at and rallies the Western Addy/Lower Haight/Panhandle neighborhoods into action at His work was published in a real, paper magazine one time. One day he might even figure out how to make money from it.