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Ice Dream : New entrepreneur believes she's selling a quaint lifestyle along with frozen treats.


Kate Silverman has always relished soft-serve ice cream. It's her livelihood now.

Westlake Village's newest entrepreneur recently celebrated the opening of a Dairy Queen outlet after 10 years of tossing around the idea of owning her own franchise.

An early November opening marked a significant career change for Silverman, who for 25 years had worked as a pediatric nurse and social worker.

Soft-serve ice cream and health care aren't seemingly the most compatible of professions. But for Silverman the decision was a no-brainer.

"The career seems totally different, but really it's not," she said.

"My specialty is working with families and children. And that's who come to Dairy Queen."

In addition to a unique connection to her clientele, Silverman cites another factor that motivated her to go into this business.

"I'm from back east. I grew up with Dairy Queen," she said.

The Cleveland native spins a homey childhood tale about her father arriving home with an armful of Dairy Queen cones for the family.

It is an experience she shares with her customers.

"Most people grew up with Dairy Queens. They understand what it was like being taken there when they were kids," she said.

"Now they want to repeat their own histories with their children."

Indeed, for more than 50 years Dairy Queen has been a part of rural Americana. The Minneapolis-based company, whose roots reach to 1938, resulted when an ice cream maker joined forces with a refrigerator inventor.

The entrepreneurial pair sold franchisees the right to use the machines and collected royalties on the gallons of ice cream sold.

Today, International Dairy Queen--which was bought by super-investor Warren Buffett for $585 million last year--licenses about 5,800 outlets in the United States, Canada and overseas.

Silverman's 900-square-foot site, with a large outdoor patio, is designed with both nostalgic and modern appeal.

There is chrome trimming and red and blue hues, a la yesterday's ice cream parlor.

In Dairy Queen-speak, a limited Brazier hot menu offers chili dogs, hot dogs and a beef barbecue sandwich.

On the chilly side are such Dairy Queen staples as Dilly Bars, Blizzards and Buster Bars, plus malts, shakes, banana splits, cakes and vanilla nonfat yogurt.

The reduced-fat soft-serve cones come in chocolate, vanilla or a twist, with your choice of dips--chocolate, cherry or butterscotch.

And get this: That tidy swirl that tops each cone is actually a registered trademark. Employees are trained, tested and must perfect the "Dairy Queen Curl."

The store is at 5790 Lindero Canyon Road (at the corner of Thousand Oaks Boulevard) in the Albertson's shopping center.

Store hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Call (818) 706-1590.


Smell that? You just might if you pass by City Bakery tonight. Owner-chef Rose Burtchby is presenting her Garlic Festival Dinner--a fourth annual salute to the odoriferous bulb, a.k.a. the stinking rose.

In years past the popular Ventura lunch spot has featured a weeklong fete with special garlic-laced menu items each day.

"This year we just didn't have time to do all that. But everybody's been asking about the dinner," Burtchby said.

And here it is:

Appetizer--roasted garlic bulb with crostini, black olive fig tapenade and green olive almond Armagnac tapenade.

Salad--greens with grilled vegetable skewer, and garlic and fennel vinaigrette.

Soup--creamy garlic sage ("It's the cold season soup and will cure whatever ails you. It's like mother's milk," said Burtchby).

A choice of entrees--stuffed pork chop with Marsala, juniper berries and garlic clove stuffing of arugula and pine nuts; or eggplant Turban stuffed with four cheeses. Both entrees served with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli spears.

Dessert--citrus torte cake.

There will be two sittings, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Cost: $25, plus tax, per person. Call for reservations: 643-0861.


Also today: The International Students Club at Ventura College is hoping to lure your appetite and your dollars to its International Food Festival.

The fund-raiser will offer food prepared by local restaurants.

A number of students will be doing some of the cooking, too.

Besides helping a scholarship fund that aids financially strapped foreign students, this event "will give people an opportunity to try foods they may not have been exposed to before," said Zeak Simmons, an advisor to the student club.

For $3 a plate, you can try Vietnamese, Moroccan, Japanese, Greek, Indian, Chinese and other cuisines.

Food booths will be set up outdoors at the campus quad area. Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The campus is at 4667 Telegraph Road.

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