We hit 3 places at Rehoboth Beach last weekend to get a sampling of the sweets scene: Cake Break, The Ice Cream Store, and Annie’s Banannies. In case you’re wondering, the famed Candy Kitchen was not one of these, because (1) I’ve got way too many fillings to be eating stuff like taffy (2) fudge is one of the worst bastardizations of chocolate I’ve ever encountered, and (3) the place is a madhouse swarming with kids who could spontaneously combust from sugar overload at any moment.
It’s funny how much junk you can justify eating while on vacation. The boardwalk is filled with double-fried fries, ice cream, funnel cakes, pizza, you name it. We walked past one lone frozen yogurt place. Tellingly, there wasn’t a single person in there that wasn’t an employee.
Luckily, offering healthy options isn’t a death knell for every business on the boardwalk. Annie’s Banannies, which makes vegan “soft serve” out of frozen bananas, has been there 2 years and is going strong. You can’t miss it—the store is decorated to resemble a jungle.
The product is simply frozen bananas run through a juicer; nothing more. You can get the works thrown on top, or just get it plain ($3.75 for a small).
We were transfixed watching them make these. They push the frozen banana in one end of the juicer while ever-so-slowly, it painstakingly poops out a smooth, creamy treat with the consistency of soft serve. No added sugar, no nothing. We felt like this was some well-kept secret among the Coven of the Frozen Banana Juicers. I learned from their website that Annie’s mom was the one who introduced her to the concept. Apparently Annie had been kicking around the idea of opening Annie’s Banannies for a while:
“One night while folding laundry my dad came in and said, “Annie, you have to do it, Annie!” I thought, do what? “Do you need me to do some laundry for you, dad?” He laughed and said, “No. Banannies! You need to do Annie’s Banannies!” I told him that I would, “one of these days.” The next day when I got home from work I found that he had passed away. It was the last thing he said to me. (He died September 26, 2006.)
Three weeks after we laid dad to rest, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery followed by a long 9 months of rehabilitation, it seemed she was getting better and was finally cancer free!
One night while watching TV together, mom looked up and said, “Annie, you have to do it Annie.” I said, “Do you need something mom? What can I get you?” She replied, “No. Banannies; you need to do Annie’s Banannies!” I promised I would as soon as she got better. It was the last thing she said to me; 18 hours later I found myself holding her hand as we took her off of life support. (She died July 6, 2007.)”
Annie has another location opening soon in Baltimore; I hope she successfully grows it into a nationwide franchise. As long as you don’t go overboard with the toppings, it’s so much healthier than the custard and ice cream places dotting the boardwalk. We even went back the morning after we’d first tried it to get another one–and to gawk at the employees making them.