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We All Scream

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The June issue of Food Arts features an interesting, if not mouth-watering, article on the next generation of ice cream. In addition to old favorites like vanilla and chocolate, the article mentions that chefs are using flavors like rosemary, parsnips, yuzu, shiso, and satsuma. I soon realized that my ice creame palate is pretty mundane.

I love ice cream but, will admit, I'm a huge fan of vanilla. Probaby the most unusual flavor I've had was ube - did I like it? not so much. While I wait patiently for Ici to open, I'd love to hear about your top choice local ice cream / gelato restaurants / shops / parlours and flavors!

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  1. Sketch in Berkeley is the place for unusual flavors.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Sketch is great for unusual flavors and classics. On any given day you'll find cocoa nib ice cream, lemon verbana sorbet and earl grey granita along side chocolate, vanilla and coffee.
      Truthfully, I usually sample one of the more esoteric flavors and respond, "Wow! That's great! I'll have the vanilla."

      Do you live near Ici? Please, please, please post as soon as they open.

      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        I've been calling Ici almost every day only to be greeted with a recorded message saying something about "putting the finishing touches" on the place - I think they were suppose to open a month or two ago. If anyone has more information, please let us all know. I'm dying to try one of their ice cream sandwiches!

        1. re: lizelle

          I was faked out by all the Ici magazine coverage with pictures of bombes and ice cream sandwiches. I found papered up windows and a sign on the door indicating that they will open "in early August"

          http://www.bunrab.com/dailyfeed/June2...

    2. Several of my fellow hounds were just discussing this as we tucked into some of Tucker's excellent ice cream (Mexican Chocolate for myself). I was lamenting the demise of the late MC2's dessert bar offshoot, Zero Degree. They made a Cassis sorbet that was wonderful. Yoogo Gelato on Broadway in San Francisco has a lot of unusual flavors stretching from the tropical Asian fruits such as Durian and Lychee to the truly strange such as beer, Pilsner to be exact. They have traditional Italian flavors to round out the experience.

      In the Mission District on Valencia, Bombay Ice Cream serves up very tasty traditional flavors along with Rose, Saffron, Cardamom and other great Indian tastes.

      If you search the boards, I'm sure you'll find some other great places, including numerous discussions of Marianne's many flavors as well as Mitchell's. Try the Avacado and Macapuno for really great expressions of ice cream's potential.

      a sante,
      Curtis

      5 Replies
      1. re: Curtis

        Excuse my ignorance, but is Tucker's a place or product you can buy at the market?

        Macapuno? I think I had this during a visit to the Philippines... ages and ages ago. Thanks for the recommendations.

        1. re: lizelle

          Here's the thread on Tucker's, started a few days ago. It's an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in Alameda.

          http://chowhound.com/topics/show/304125

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Tucker's also makes great cakes! Henry made me a fabulous coconut cake and I asked him to add chocolate ganache layers and it was TO DIE FOR!

            But as for their ice cream cakes, I haven't tried them but a co-worker of mine LOVED it. It was ALL ice cream, no cake, but still very delicious.

            1. re: Foodrat

              Thanks, I wondered about those. Do you mean the ice cream cakes? Favorites? Was admiring them in the case while waiting for my turn in line. Also, how are the brownies?

          2. re: lizelle

            Tucker's also has an excellent macapuno (young coconut) ice cream.

            It's our favorite ice cream place around, but I'm biased: I've been going there since I was a kid and now I take my kids (my five year old ALWAYS gets the macapuno and the three year old ALWAYS gets the vanilla.)

        2. Ciao Bella's Green Tea with White Chocolate Chunks really stands out...deep green tea taste, not sugary or even sweet, very pure flavors, entrancing texture contrast....

          1 Reply
          1. re: fauchon

            I've been feeling kinda "down" all day... All this talk about ice cream, I thought, should cheer me up. Went to Ciao Bella and had the Milk Chocolate Malt Balls and the Valrohna Chocolate. Didn't care for the malt one (my fault, I should have sampled it) but the Valrohna Chocolate one cheered me up slightly.

          2. Yoogo's got some interesting flavors. Nothing exceptional about the quality.

            There's nothing next-generation about Mitchell's. It's been using those imported Filipino flavors for a long time. Other than the interest provied by those flavors the ice cream's pretty generic.

            1. I like the choices and quality at Citizen Cake.

              And I really like that you can get a scoop of your choice of sorbet in a glass of sparkling wine (or at least you can at brunch). Its wonderful (sort of a mimosa slushie) and its fun to experiment - Meyer lemon, Texas grapefruit, Blood orange all make wonderful drinks - but feel free to go crazy!

              1. I did a Mint Julep Ice Cream this weekend, based on a recipe from Cindy Pawlcyn's Mustard's Cookbook. It was exceptional and very easy to make.

                I also had a sweet pea ice cream at a Chicago restaurant recently. Not to my liking.

                LPM
                http://www.runninggags.blogspot.com

                1 Reply
                1. re: LPM

                  These look great - thanks for the post!

                2. My vote is for Rick's Ice Cream in Palo Alto. The cookies and dough is excellent as is the brownies and cream. Their coffee ice cream is rich, and the the banana ice cream is the essence of banana. They even have one called "sideways" which is cabernet with raspberries and chocolate.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Porthos

                    I love Rick's Ice Cream! I agree, "Sideways" is a unique and wonderful flavor.

                    Rick's post -
                    http://chowhound.com/topics/show/39215

                  2. What's this "Ici" place mentioned at the top of the thread?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Agent 510

                      There was some info about Ici in the Chronicle a while back... it's going to be a gourmet ice cream shop operated by Mary Canales, former pastry chef at Chez Panisse. It's going into a new retail spot on College near Ashby.
                      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                      I live in the neighborhood and have been eager for the place's opening. I peeked in there last week and it still looked pretty rough. I'm sure that with the recent hot weather, the owners are working hard to get it open though...

                      1. re: beanbag

                        If in the neighborhood, please keep us posted. Ici was not only mentioned in SFGate but in Food Arts (a few months ago) and San Francisco mag - more recently. I'm sure they're getting lots of calls!

                    2. Our current favorite gelato place is Naia - we were just thre last night! I've been to the Castro location, but can't wait to try out the newly opened North Beach one. The "unusual" flavors at Naia include Milo and Horlick. Apparently, Naia has 100+ different flavors and they are rotated regularly. So you can always find something new each time you visit.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: anna

                        I find Naia's stuff cloyingly sweet. The only flavors of theirs I like are the few with enough acid or bitterness to balance the sugar, like black sesame. In Berkeley, Milano a block away is better and slightly cheaper.