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House of Glory: Sweet treats and savory bites are a huge hit

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Passionfruit mousse is a house specialty of House of Glory in Grants Pass. Photos by Sarah Lemon
Guava cheesecake comes in individually prepared servings at House of Glory in Grants Pass. Photos by Sarah Lemon
The Monte Cristo, pictured, and other sandwiches are served with plantain chips at House of Glory in Grants Pass. Photos by Sarah Lemon
The Napoli sandwich comprises prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato pressed Cuban-style at House of Glory in Grants Pass. Photos by Sarah Lemon
The “guava Maria” is a signature dessert of House of Glory in Grants Pass. Photos Sarah Lemon
Manny and Zachary Velazquez opened House of Glory late last year in Grants Pass. Photo courtesy of House of Glory
Chocolate cake is layered with dulce de leche at House of Glory in Grants Pass. Photos by Sarah Lemon

A couple formerly of Florida is feeling the love of their artisan desserts in Southern Oregon.

Manny and Zachary Velazquez unveiled a “soft opening” menu at House of Glory in November. But as enthusiasm has built so have the number of decadent dishes at the Grants Pass sweet shop.

Layer cakes, cheesecakes, pavlovas, cookies and bars complement House of Glory’s key concept of serving locally made gelato in “bubble waffles.” A small selection of sandwiches and Cuban-style pulled pork empanadas are House of Glory’s nod to savory items. And a full espresso menu encourages customers to linger in this stylish space.

The Velazquezes spent six months renovating 115 S.W. G St., which for nearly a century housed Blind George’s Popcorn, Newsstand & Ice Cream Shop. Honoring the building’s original brick walls, the couple selected wallpaper, tiles, fixtures and other decor to evoke their native Miami.

Giving their young daughter a slower pace of life closer to nature motivated the Velazquezes to leave loved ones and follow their hearts. The community embraced the family’s business, buying more than a thousand cups of gelato during its first month in operation.

Mamma Mia of Jacksonville produces House of Glory’s gelato in classic flavors, as well as tropical fruits that are Miami staples. Guava gelato stars in House of Glory’s “guava Maria,” two scoops wrapped in a bubble waffle, topped with sweetened condensed milk, guava drizzle, whipped cream and Maria cookies ($14).

Paying homage to the shop’s history, the “George” combines dulce de leche gelato, caramel popcorn, Heath bar crumbles and whipped cream in a bubble waffle. Or customers can build their own bubble waffle with two gelato scoops, two toppings, one drizzle and whipped cream. Additional toppings and drizzles cost 75 cents apiece.

One 4-ounce scoop of gelato in a cup costs $4. Six ounces of up to two flavors is priced at $6.

Gelato was a must on my first visit to House of Glory for lunch with a friend. She professed a preference for the Monte Cristo sandwich ($13.50) — also my favorite. So I switched to the Napoli ($15), layering prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and pesto on a croissant. If I hadn’t planned a second course of ice cream, I happily would have lunched on the sweet-savory “Elena Ruz” ($12.50) touted as a “Cuban delight” of turkey, cream cheese and strawberry jam.

Also featuring turkey, the Monte Cristo lacked the traditional recipe’s ham, Manny Velazquez informed my friend. She was still game for the sandwich’s meat, Swiss cheese and mustard pressed Cuban-style.

Although I’m not an aficionado of Cuban sandwiches, versions I’ve enjoyed were prepared on crusty white bread, similar to French or Italian loaves. And because I adore croissants, I did question House of Glory’s choice of this light, airy alternative only to compress it with meat and cheese.

The buttery croissants, however, did heighten the sandwiches’ richer notes. I relish a thick stack of just meat and cheese but appreciated Velasquez’s offer of more vegetables — red onion, cucumber or arugula — and opted for the last of those on the side. Melting the veggie array with mozzarella on a sandwich, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, costs $11.50.

The sandwiches’ accompanying plantain chips and housemade cilantro sauce for dipping were surprisingly light. The only unusual pairing, on my palate, would be with the banana, strawberry and Nutella sandwich ($9).

I felt compelled to try one of House of Glory’s signature bubble waffles and, favoring fruit over chocolate and caramel, chose the “guava Maria.” My friend requested a single scoop of Oreo cookie gelato.

Drizzles of sweetened condensed milk and guava syrup sound like a bit much, but the gelato’s mild sweetness ensured the dessert wasn’t cloying. I expected a bit more tenderness from the eggy bubble waffle, particularly given its freshly made status. Crunchy contrast came via the Maria cookie, an iconic Spanish treat made by Goya Foods. All told, the portion was about twice as large as I could finish in a sitting.

Because the house specialty passionfruit mousse with dark chocolate shavings ($7) would travel, I took a portion home to my partner. Sweeter than I anticipated, the mousse was more like pudding in texture under the generous application of chocolate.

Appetite piqued by pavlovas pictured on House of Glory’s Instagram profile, I made another trip to Grants Pass to try them. Unfortunately, the meringues topped with sliced strawberries and dulce de leche had sold out by my evening arrival. Don’t count on a particular dessert’s availability at House of Glory. Items are made daily in limited quantities.

I settled instead for guava cheesecake, prepared in an individual, round dish. Also similar in texture to pudding, the filling cozied up to a sandy crumb. My sister favored chocolate cake layered with dulce de leche and topped with sliced strawberries.

Demand for cakes has so far surpassed the Velazquezes’ expectations that they gave their baker full creative license to prepare new flavors each day. Cakes are made with organic flour, milk, sugar and cage-free eggs. Slices are priced at $6.50.

No sweet tooth is too much for House of Glory to satisfy. Indeed, its labors of love would charm any Valentine.

House of Glory is open from 11 a.m to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. See houseofglory.co

Tempo Tidbits

A chain pizzeria with local outlets is bringing back that lovin’ feelin’ for Valentine’s Day and all month long.

Heart-shaped pizzas are a February tradition at Mountain Mike’s Pizza. Handmade to order, each pie comes cut or uncut covered in one topping of customers’ choice for the price of a regular, large, one-topping pizza through Feb. 28.

The eatery with locations in Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg recommends perennially popular pepperoni on its heart-shaped pizzas. But customers can select any topping their hearts desire.

Spreading the love of pizza on social media comes with the chance to win Mountain Mike’s gift cards all month. Post photos showing “pizza displays of affection” with the hashtag #MountainMikesPDA on facebook.com/mountainmikes and Instagram @mountainmikes

Love-themed pizza boxes, staff’s pink T-shirts and heart-shaped decor are part of the February promotion. With 240 family-style pizzerias across the West, Mountain Mike’s is at 2640 E. Barnett Road, Medford, and 1531 N.E. F St., Grants Pass. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

See the menu and order for takeout or delivery at mountainmikespizza.com. Or call 541-779-4599 in Medford or 541-507-1947 in Grants Pass.

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Super Bowl Sunday cuts the cost of chicken at a couple of Ashland restaurants.

Billy’s Fried Chicken announced Feb. 13 discounts of 10% and 20% respectively on takeout and dine-in orders. Specializing in gluten-free recipes, Billy’s prepares classic buttermilk-fried bird, as well as Korean- and Japanese-style chicken. Mix-and-match options abound at Billy’s, which prices chicken by the single-serving plate, half or whole bird, plus three-, six- and 12-piece assortments from $15 to $47, including side dishes.

Located at 82 N. Main St., Billy’s is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. See friedchickenashland.com or call 541-708-6744.

Preordered fried chicken, wing buckets and meal deals come with a 15% discount at Ashland’s Bird & Rye. Eligible orders must be placed today at birdandrye.com/order. Located at 23 S. Second St., Bird & Rye is open noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

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Makers can meet up Wednesday at Medford’s newest brew pub.

HRL Brewery & Pubbery plans to host the event from 6 to 8 p.m. at 1100 N. Central Ave. Organizer Scot Gotcher bills the region’s first Maker Meet-Up for networking, meeting likeminded people, sharing business contacts and even buying and selling tools.

See Gotcher’s Instagram profile @clevergrain

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Have a Tempo tidbit to share? Email news about the local dining, food and beverage scene to: thewholedish@gmail.com

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Sarah Lemon has relished the Rogue Valley’s dining scene for nearly two decades as one of the original contributors to Tempo’s dining column. Her palate has helped to judge some of the region’s culinary competitions and festivals. The former editor of A la Carte, the Mail Tribune’s weekly food section, she writes a biweekly column, The Whole Dish, and blogs and podcasts under the same name. Listen at mailtribune.com/podcasts and read more at mailtribune.com/lifestyle/the-whole-dish. Follow @the.whole.dish on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter or see facebook.com/thewholedish.