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SF - Bi-Rite Creamery update - Chocolate olive oil sundae with Malden salt, popsicles & the best ginger ice cream ever

rworange Jan 27, 2007 08:12 AM

The double ginger ice cream is hot, intense and the soul of ginger. I’ve never had better. Period.

The pineapple popsicle ($1.95) was wonderful … and … if such a thing is possibly in a frozen bar ... juicy as biting into a fresh cut perfectly-ripe pineapple slice.

Sam’s sundae ($4.50) was the first time I saw the point of olive oil on ice cream.

It added rich velvetiness to the experience. It was a lightly applied golden drizzle so it didn't overwhelm.

The Malden sea salt / chocolate ice cream was a marriage made in heaven. This Sundae was about the whole. The chocolate flavor wasn’t intense and this isn’t what I’m looking for in that flavor … but the whole was intensely enjoyable … like the rest of the world fades away while you focus on the goodness in the cup.

That being said, I liked it but not enough to order again. I’m just not an olive oil on ice cream person as much as I liked this … then again …

Oh, yeah … I was asked if I wanted whipped cream and said yes. Great whipped cream that is like a crème fraiche … but on this sundae it was wrong and detracted from the experience. The salt got caught up and lost in the cream. Have more restraint than I did and skip the whipped cream for this one.

Cookies ($.75): Snickerdoodle & oatmeal raisin

The thin cookies are everything that is good about cookies … soft, with a little chew, buttery but not noticeably or greasily so. The cinnamon on the snickerdoodle was lovely, Maybe a bit sweeter than I’d like … but … hey, they’re cookies.

Samples:
- Blood orange – tart, citrusy and pretty. It was said to be excellent paired with ginger
- strawberry balsamic – ok, but not intense enough
- salted caramel – despite all the positive posts, nice but not my favorite

They have hot chocolate too. I had a tiny sample but either wasn’t in the mood or it just didn’t catch my attention.

Without a doubt this is some of the best ice cream in the Bay Area … a real close contender to Fairfax Scoop. I’ll have to bite the frozen bullet and make the sacrifice to try more at both places before bestowing The Orange award on one. But it is an honor for me to nominate them both. Dark horse … Café Fanny.

Bi-Rite is what ice cream should taste like ... not frou-frou or hi-faluting ... not too dense, icy, light, sweet, hard, soft, etc. etc ... perfect texture with pure straight-foward flavor.

The staff is super helpful, the samples are generous. The prices are fair and unlike another place I don’t feel like what I get for my money IS a sample. The size of the portion is an excellent deal for the quality and price.

This seems like it will be one of my favorite places in the City and a must-stop when I’m in the neighborhood … parking be damned … worth a ticket.

Previous posts:

bi-rite creamery opens
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/352044

So, did Bi-Rite Creamery open on Dec 1st as promised?
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/348859

Pumpkin and gingerbread seasonal sundae
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/332978#2142308

http://biritecreamery.com/

NOTE that they are closed Wednesday. They said these were the winter hours and they MIGHT open Wednesdays in the summer.

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  1. Robert Lauriston Jan 27, 2007 09:43 AM

    A chocolate olive-oil sundae with Malden salt is not frou-frou?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      rworange Jan 27, 2007 09:44 AM

      Oh yeah ... that ... I'm still laughing ... tho I shouldn't encourage you ... well the way they do it it doesn't SEEM frou-frou.

      I meant the ice cream itself. It just tastes simply what ice cream should taste like. If it gets tarted up a little, it doesn't matter because the foundation is good. Sometimes I just feel like I have to think to hard with ice cream. It's why ... tho delicious ... Cafe Fanny falls down a little in the list ... I find myself contemplating the maker and the ingrediants etc, ect. With Bi-Rite I'm just thinking how good this ice cream tastes ... especially that ginger. I just sampled it, but around Sausalito on the way home I was seriously considering turning around to buy some.

      Boston is a great ice cream town and in the other threads I find people on target in comparing Bi-Rite to some of the good ice cream makers in Boston.

      1. re: rworange
        a
        Agent 510 Jan 27, 2007 11:45 AM

        "I find myself contemplating the maker and the ingrediants etc, ect. With Bi-Rite I'm just thinking how good this ice cream tastes"

        RW, I couldn't agree more. As a friend of mine once said, "When did ice cream in the Bay Area get so *pretentious*??"

        My issues with local ice-cream/gelato extends not just to the product but the service. I've been to a couple gelato places (which shall remain nameless) in SF where, if you ask about a flavor, you'll get an unsmiling, joyless response about how they use only Meyer lemon, Strauss dairy, etc. Call me old-fashioned, but I like it much better when they happily, unsnobbishly hand you a spoon and say, "Try it, we love it!"

        1. re: Agent 510
          c
          chemchef Mar 5, 2007 06:03 PM

          Is it too much to ask for them to enthusiastically hand you the sample and THEN go into the details about where the ingredients are sourced, etc, etc? I would hope that it doesn't have to be one way or the other. One of the things I love most about living in the Bay Area is the fact that people DO care about those things. But, I agree, it shouldn't ONLY be about the ingredients. And snobbery shouldn't be part of the mix no matter what!

        2. re: rworange
          l
          linz Apr 30, 2007 10:24 AM

          Yes, Boston is an excellent ice cream town and on just having moved to the Bay, I asked a friend if there were any small, high-quality places where I could go for ice cream, and he was kind of confused as to what I meant by that. I'll have to try BiRite soon.

      2. Emily Hope Jan 31, 2007 09:51 AM

        rw, I so completely agree about bi-rite's ice cream! I'm one of those people who complains that San Francisco doesn't have any ice cream as good as Boston's. This week and last we've had two chances to try bi-rite's ice cream, and, well, I'm a believer. I no longer need to pine for Christina's and Toscanini's, with ice cream like this in the city. (I'm afraid I'm not as big a fan of Fairfax scoop as you--good but not great in my book.)

        The first time we tried to stop by, it was a Wednesday and they were closed. Although we were bummed (who closes on a Wednesday?), we went over to bi-rite and picked up a pint of the salted caramel ice cream. And although it pained me to pay 8.00 for a pint of ice cream, it was love at first scoop--intense, rich, perfectly salty, with a caramel taste that stayed just this side of burnt caramel, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

        Last night, we were passing though the neighborhood again and decided to stop by. As others have said, the counter staff is exceedingly friendly and was willing to let us taste as much as we wanted. Love the fact that they use real spoons for the tasting. Between my DH and myself, we tried the following flavors:

        Ginger: I totally agree--best ginger ice cream ever. Enough ginger bite to tame the creaminess of the base.
        Strawberry balsamic: I liked this OK, good strawberry flavor, balsamic didn't seem very apparent to me. They said there's only one more pan of this around, and then it will be gone until the spring.
        Roasted Banana: I absolutely loved this -- rich, deep banana flavor. But I'm biased--in the seventies my mother used to make us a "healthy" ice cream out of dehydrated bananas and honey that tasted just like this.
        Honey Lavender: This was the only real disappointment, as the balance of flavors was too much toward the lavender and not enough toward the honey for my taste.
        Milk chocolate chai: This was a revelation--I like chai ice cream and thought that the chocolate wouldn't work, but since it was milk chocolate, it just added a subtle background note that rounded things out and complemented the chai spices.
        Lemon: This was fine, but nothing special--just didn't seem to have the intensity of the other flavors.

        All in all, I'm soooo happy that they've opened. Now, if they would just make a rum raisin, my life would be complete...

        1. davina Jan 31, 2007 09:02 PM

          I loved the sam's sundae too. But it was just too much -- for that intensity of flavor, it could have been half the size.

          1. pane Feb 1, 2007 06:53 AM

            I, also, was pleased to partake in the Sam's Sundae. The chocolate ice cream was a revelation--dense, rich, almost pudding-like. I would have liked a little more salt on the sundae, but, like rworange, I had the whipped cream so that may have absorbed some of the salt.

            1. JasmineG Mar 4, 2007 10:54 AM

              I went yesterday -- that salted caramel ice cream is extraordinary. I also tried the brown butter pecan, and mmm, that was great too. The portions are also pretty big (which was exciting after seeing the tiny bit of ice cream that Ici gives you for more money).

              1. anna Mar 4, 2007 06:05 PM

                I had a fabulous sundae there a couple of weeks ago: lemon ice cream with warm burnt caramel sauce and ginger snaps. YUM! I also love the salted caramel and roasted banana ice cream.

                1. j
                  jsaimd Mar 5, 2007 12:56 PM

                  I also tried this weekend. I sampled the honey lavender, ginger and mint chip. I liked all three - the mint chip was fine, but more of my 5 year old son's speed than mine. The others were good. The lavender was subtle and refreshing. In the end though I settled on the salted caramel because I LOVE salted caramel, and it was fantastic - creamy, dark caramel with a hint of salt. mmmmm... I think next time I get to the city, I will have to have a sundae with honey lavender, roasted banana and salted caramel...

                  1. larochelle Mar 5, 2007 03:12 PM

                    I wanted to add a plug for their Roasted Banana ice cream. It is wonderful.

                    The husband seems to have a new Tuesday ritual - walking to BiRite for a pint. I can hardly wait to see what he brings home tomorrow!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: larochelle
                      Dave MP Apr 29, 2007 11:22 PM

                      I still don't think the roasted banana ice cream is as good as Mitchell's banana ice cream. They are different, but in terms of an overall banana ice cream experience, Mitchell's wins.

                      I do, however, think I agree with the OP that their ginger ice cream at Bi-Rite is the best I have ever had.

                      Dave MP

                    2. a
                      artemis Mar 5, 2007 07:36 PM

                      i had the bi-rite raspberry soy just now. no, it's not "real" ice cream, but my god... it will do JUST FINE for the lactose intolerant and/or vegan crowd! creamy and smooth, with lots of raspberry flavor (and seeds). i'm a happy camper.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: artemis
                        Lori SF Mar 31, 2007 12:19 PM

                        The Lemon ice cream is wonderful. I 've had gelato and sorbet but Lemon Ice Cream? They really pulled it off, almost buttermilky.. I loved the roasted banana too.

                        1. re: Lori SF
                          josquared Apr 29, 2007 11:17 PM

                          Ditto on the roasted banana...very good stuff.

                          But that salted caramel...yummm. Made me wish I had gone for a double

                      2. a
                        asherandeva Apr 30, 2007 03:01 PM

                        ginger ice cream with their homemade caramel sauce is one of the great flavor combinations!

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