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NEW: Tara's Organic Ice Cream, Berkeley - anyone try it?

hhc Aug 13, 2008 06:19 AM

There's a mention of Tara's Organic Ice Cream in Berkeley in sfgate.com, opened Sun 8/10/08. 24-flavors & homemade cones. Original store Santa Fe, N.M.

Tara's Organic Ice Cream
3173 College Ave. (at Alcatraz), Berkeley; (510) 655-5014. Noon-9 p.m. Sunday-Monday and Wednesday-Thursday; noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

link:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

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Tara's Organic Ice Cream
3173 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

  1. rworange Sep 3, 2008 11:11 PM

    I never get what people like about ICI, so for me Tara's wins by a mile. More interesting flavors, larger selection, better prices, friendlier and more helpful staff ... no icy ICI attitude. It makes getting an ice cream fun ... not like work ... walking into ICI just sucks the joy out of ice cream for me.

    My Tara favorites so far are the cinnamon and the hibiscus agave.

    I liked the corn. It is probably the best corn ice cream I've tried with a nice sweet true corn flavor.

    The pink peppercorn might make a nice accent ice cream in a dish. Strawberry balsamic was fine, but I haven't been taking with that combo anywhere.

    The molasses was very good too and would make a really nice addition to some dish .. not quite sure what yet ... maybe pumpkin pie? Speaking of which, one of the few flavors I didn't think much of was the pumpkin. There just wasn't any deep flavor there. Chocolate tarragon didn't do it for me either.

    Anyway, I look forward to going back and trying more.

    The story about why Tara's opened the second location is that she was up this way buying lots of ingrediants for her ice cream.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange
      b
      Bryan Gros Sep 4, 2008 03:48 PM

      Went to both Ici and Tara's last weekend. The biggest difference I saw, other than the more "exotic" flavors of Tara's, is that Ici has more subtle flavors while Tara's were quite bold. A matter of taste, but I like the restrained approach of Ici. The molasses was very molassesy--I couldn't imagine eating a whole scoop. The allspice was very spicy. I should have tried the cinnamon at Tara's; the version at Ici had good cinnamon flavor without being real spicy or astringent. I found the Strawberry balsamic from Tara's somewhat crystalized in texture, but the lemon blueberry was nice and smooth. I tried the sweet corn at both stores and I preferred the Ici version slightly. The Tara's version had pieces of corn and I liked the smooth, cleaner version from Ici.

      It certainly is a good thing to have two good places in that area.

      1. re: Bryan Gros
        rworange Sep 4, 2008 04:26 PM

        Yeah, Ici always translated to me as lacking flavor. I'm not a fan of that subtle. So it is nice to have a choice.

    2. singleguychef Aug 17, 2008 06:44 PM

      Visited Tara's today and was impressed with the variety of flavors. Really odd and interesting flavors, some really good and other's not so much. They had one of sweet corn which wasn't so good and a lot of agave which I guess is the New Mexico flavor.

      I noticed a lot of spice flavors and herbal flavors. My friend got garam marsala which was spicy and good, also Pink Peppercorn which was just OK. I got Strawberry Balsamic which was nice but not great, and the Kaffir, which I really loved.

      Overall the texture was ok, but there were some problems of clumpiness where the ice cream breaks into little clumps. I agree with others that it's not as creamy as Ici, which I really like. But I like the fact that they're really experimental with the flavors.

      Cup prices are $2.85 for one scoop and $4.60 for two, cone prices are $3.60 for single and $5.35 for two. Tara was behind the counter today and she seemed friendly and nice. Coincidence that while I was there, the owner of Tres Agave in San Francisco was there trying out the Mexican-inspired flavor. Who knew that he lived in the East Bay?

      Anyway, nice addition but I still prefer Ici (which btw I walked over to afterwards and they have the typical long line).

      Photos here: http://singleguychef.blogspot.com/200...

      1 Reply
      1. re: singleguychef
        a
        Agent 510 Aug 26, 2008 03:52 PM

        I went back for seconds yesterday. I tried a couple non-sorbet flavors, the white pepper chocolate chip and Mexican chocolate. Both were great and had a nice balance of spice and creaminess. You can actually get 2 flavors in a small cup.

        A note on its location...it's about a 10 minute walk down College from Ici. The shops stop about a block south of Ashby and start up again right before Alcatraz, where you'll find Tara's.

      2. a
        Agent 510 Aug 13, 2008 05:36 PM

        I tried it this afternoon. Had a nice orange rosemary sorbet. A bit icy, but it's certainly one of many flavors you won't easily find elsewhere.

        One thing I wonder...why Berkeley, of all places, for the 2nd store of a Santa Fe-based operation? Why not somewhere else in New Mexico? Gosh, I should have asked this question while I was in there!

        7 Replies
        1. re: Agent 510
          b
          benjieats Aug 15, 2008 04:41 PM

          Not just why Berkeley but why three blocks from Ici? Maybe they wanted to capitalize on the success of Ici? Seems so silly though. Gelato Milano opened up next to Naia and it ended with Gelato Milano closing. They were never as busy as Naia despite what the owner said.

          It seems obvious that there are soon going to be too many fro-yo places but will there soon be too many gourmet ice cream places, too?

          1. re: benjieats
            c
            chemchef Aug 16, 2008 10:16 AM

            Maybe so, but right now I think we're all happy to have another high quality ice cream option for when the lines at Ici are unbearable.

            I tried Tara's the other day. It was good, and I could tell the ingredients were good quality, but I like Ici better. Tara's seemed to have such a high butterfat content that it muted the flavor a tad. This can be nice with really strong flavors, such as their Turkish Coffee or Black Sesame, but some of the other flavors seemed very dulled by the high fat content. Besides that, any more than a small cup and I would be sick from the richness. Nevertheless, I'd still go back for the Camote (Mexican sweet potato). I had that with the Garam Masala ice cream. Both were very good and made a good combination.

            1. re: chemchef
              a
              Agent 510 Aug 16, 2008 07:40 PM

              Also, if you look at their website (www.tarasorganic.com), there are plenty of unique flavors that capitalize on their New Mexico roots. I can see this place doing quite well on the strength of this alone.

              It's too bad that not all the flavors on the website are available, but that's understandable considering just how many there are. I really want to try green chile and chile pistachio, high fat content or no high fat content!

            2. re: benjieats
              f
              foodnut Aug 18, 2008 11:13 AM

              But I would argue that those three blocks are quite far away from each other -- I tend to clump the stores of Elmwood/Ici area away from the Rockridge/Tara area in my mind. Will be nice to have ice cream right near the wine shop, Brugges, La Farine, etc.

              1. re: foodnut
                singleguychef Aug 18, 2008 11:38 AM

                I agree that the two neighborhoods are pretty distinct with the clumping. But the walk between the two places isn't that bad if one went to one place and decide to change his/her mind because of lines, etc.

              2. re: benjieats
                Robert Lauriston Aug 18, 2008 12:27 PM

                Milano changed hands and the new owners renamed it Almare, but other than that and a different pistachio mix they haven't changed anything.

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/520675

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  c
                  chemchef Aug 18, 2008 12:49 PM

                  I beg to differ. The people are actually friendly now!!

            3. Scott M Aug 13, 2008 12:31 PM

              Was channel flipping last night and saw a place called Tara's Organic Ice Cream on Road Tasted (Food Network) it was in Santa Fe, NM. Is this a chain?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Scott M
                Melanie Wong Aug 13, 2008 12:58 PM

                According to its website, two locations: Santa Fe and Berkeley.
                http://tarasorganic.com/locations.html

              2. 1
                10foot5 Aug 13, 2008 09:51 AM

                I stopped in on Monday on my way to Flavors of India. Woman behind the counter (Tara?) said they had just opened the day before. Asked for a sample of the Kaffir Lime Ice Cream and it was very good.

                Lots of fairly exotic flavors up on the board. Cardamom, Lemongrass. I believe the sorbet was something and agave. The kind of flavors I like to think I would try if I got an ice cream maker.

                Prices seemed reasonable.

                It was good enough that I was tempted to go back for a full scoop after dinner on Tuesday across town at Maritime East. I didn't end up going, but I was tempted.

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