Sweets in Downtown

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    Just what you've been looking for -- a new hangout. The Eola Wine Company opened its vintage-laden doors a few months ago, offering bottles from distinctive vintners like Royal Tokaji from Hungary and Firesteed from Oregon.

    As a true and very welcome wine bar, Eola Wine offers its wares by the glass or in 2-ounce sampler "flights." If something grabs your fancy, racks of bottles line the walls. There are also beers from England, Belgium and Germany.

    As a true and very welcome wine bar, Eola Wine offers its wares by the glass or in 2-ounce sampler "flights." If something grabs your fancy, racks of bottles line the walls. There are also beers from England, Belgium and Germany.

    Eola Wine hops until 2 a.m. most nights, with a menu of grapes and brews that changes every few weeks, along with desserts and what co-owner John Walsh calls, "appetizers for before-dinner or after-dinner." Try the baked Brie with a glass of Riesling.

    Eola Wine hops until 2 a.m. most nights, with a menu of grapes and brews that changes every few weeks, along with desserts and what co-owner John Walsh calls, "appetizers for before-dinner or after-dinner." Try the baked Brie with a glass of Riesling.

    This is one of the few places to find everything from the very hip Trappist Chimay aged ales to a bottle of Thierry and Guy "Fat Bastard" Shiraz.

    “Do you want crunchy or creamy peanut butter in your shake?”

    “I’ll take crunchy,” I said as I watched the man behind the counter at Goff’s Drive In cut up a banana into vanilla ice cream for my peanut butter-and-banana shake ($3).

    Next time I’ll order smooth, as those nutty bits ended up clogging my straw when I tried to sip the last part of the shake. When I got home, I scooped the last of the peanut pieces from the bottom of my Styrofoam cup.

    A longtime customer of the store told me that he’s been coming here since he was a little boy, and he’s 53 now. “They have the best shakes in town,” he said. “You should see the line after church on Sundays.”

    Goff’s has been in the same freestanding cement-block building on OBT between Church and Jackson streets since 1948, its white paint now slightly dingy. Faint yellow letters spelling out “Goff’s” on the side could be overlooked by those not looking for it. There isn’t any place to sit except maybe the hood of your car or the tarmac, surrounded by industrial blight, but I’ve always had good service and some interesting conversations while waiting in line. (Last time I was there, a hooker who was walking by started bickering with one of the guys waiting in line. That probably doesn’t happen on Sundays.)

    The menu is consistent with other ice cream stands, with dipped cones or sprinkles covering swirls of vanilla or chocolate or both and sundaes with all kinds of different toppings. My shake maker told me that Goff’s doesn’t serve chocolate on Sundays. Why? They serve so many sundaes on Sunday that they need to keep all the vats full of vanilla.

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