Ice cream used to be something that I went to the grocery store to buy. Searching through all the brands in the freezer aisle, picking the one flavor that would satisfy my craving. But not very often mind you. Ice cream can be addictive and also very fattening. In my family, when I was a child, ice cream was reserved for Sunday evenings while watching The Wonderful World of Disney. Would that be vanilla or chocolate?
As an adult I rarely eat it, opting instead for non-fat frozen yogurt on a really hot day.
Recently, during a week’s stay in The Mission District of San Francisco, I threw caution to wind. There were two new ice creameries that have opened up in the neighborhood – along with my long standing favorite, Bombay. I was set to try all three, knowing full well I would regret it later.
Ice cream has come a long way since the days when I was kid. It’s not all about Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, or even children anymore. It’s more about experimenting and adults playing in the kitchen with their food – designing creative combinations to tickle their customer’s fancy, and taste buds.
Bombay Ice Cream: 552 Valencia @ 16th, San Francisco, CA 94110 T: 415.861.3995 Hours: M – Sa: 10:30am – 7pm; Su: 11am – 7pm
For a long time, Bombay Ice Cream was the only ‘exotic’ ice cream parlor in the city. The flavors offered in their freezer combine fresh Indian flavors like Cardamom, Rose, Ginger, Green Tea, and Pistachio along side a few more domestic flavors like Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla. My forever favorite here is their Cardamom-Rose!
Bi-Rite: 3692 18th @ Dolores, San Francisco, CA 94110 T: 415.626.5600 Hours: Su – Th: 11am – 10pm; F – Sa: 11am – 11pm
Sitting catty-corner from Dolores Park, Bi-Rite’s location is perfect to attract a long line of park goers on a sunny afternoon. Its ice cream is handcrafted, made in small batches from (as often as possible) local and organic ingredients using organic milk, cream and eggs from the local Strauss Family Creamery up in Marin County. I was happy to see that the day fellow travel writer Caitlin Fitzsimmons and I tried it out they offered the perfectly paired Creme Fraiche and Balsamic Strawberry flavors. I was craving something that wasn’t really sweet, and they had it! I also sampled her choice of the Salted Caramel. All three were wonderful! There is also a nice sundae menu.
Humphry Slocombe: 2790 Harrison @ 24th, San Francisco, CA 94080 T: 415.550.6971 Hours: Tu through Su: Noon – 9pm; Closed Mondays
Don’t let the empty counter seats in the photograph fool you! I just happened to be there during a lull that day. This shop sat within a block of the house where I was staying, so I visited it more than a few times. My favorite flavor was the Peanut Butter Curry, which I had paired one day with the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee and another day with the Coconut Ice Milk. Besides a number of non-intimidating choices and the Peanut Butter Curry, they offer other quirky flavor combinations like Secret Breakfast (Bourbon and Corn Flakes), Jesus Juice (Red Wine and Coke Classic Sorbet), Green Tea Black Sesame, Thai Chili Lime, Honey Thyme … whatever it is, it’s all good. Sundaes too!
All three ice cream shops have their flavors listed on their web sites.
At left: Humphry Slocombe Peanut Butter Curry and Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee