Nieves Cinco de Mayo (artisan ice cream) update [Oakland and San Francisco]
I stopped by Nieves Cinco de Mayo today -- it looks like he got another freezer case, as there are more ice cream flavors in the menu than I remember. The most exotic flavor was rose petal and I thought it was a good version but not something I would want a whole dish of. I ended up with pumpkin and pecan. The pumpkin was unspiced and tasted delightfully squash-y. The pecan wasn't as successful -- I don't think the ground nuts infused as well with the ice cream base, and I don't think he uses any "flavorings" in addition to the main ingredients that would have pulled it together. I also had a taste of my friend's jamaica sorbet, which was a lovely example of sweet-tangy-floral flavors.
Unlike many ice creams, these flavors don't hit you up-front, but really build on the finish as the ice cream melts away and just leaves its essence on your tongue. I think this is because his ice cream isn't made with cream or eggs, so there's no creamy buildup to mute the flavors. And because he uses whole ingredients, not artificial flavors or extracts, the flavors are pure, without any harsh or chemically overtones.
Nieves Cinco de Mayo
3340 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601
On this warm day, my visitor from the East Coast and I wound down at Nieves Cinco de Mayo. This was my first time there, and we were totally enchanted by the owner who kept offering taste and after taste. I loved the light and icy style here. I think Spence had the best combo: chongos zamoranos on the bottom and a scoop of hierba buena (spearmint) on top. I had tequila ice cream on the bottom and limon (lime) sorbet on top. A double scoop is $2.25. Other flavors of note that I enjoyed tasting were cafe (coffee and so good), rompope (egg nog), limoncrema (lemon ice cream), tecojote (hawthorne), rose petal (I found this a bit too sweet), arroz, mango sorbet, cherimoya, and that's all I can remember.
The have added coffee which is WONDERFUL. Deep, strong coffee flavor and clean tastes.
I also had the rose petal which I liked very much. They didn't over do the rose flavor. Like a lot of his ice creams it is one of those that is best appreciated eating a whole scoop.
That jamaica is so good ... like a handfull of fresh snow flavored with jamaica.
"Unlike many ice creams, these flavors don't hit you up-front, but really build on the finish as the ice cream melts away and just leaves its essence on your tongue."
That description is so on target. Often I find a taste isn't very representative of what a scoop will be. I got the rompompe which didn't taste like much in the beginning, but by the end of the scoop I was so into it.
Has the bakery opened in that building yet?