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Dec 29, 2008 07:05 PM

humphry slocombe ice cream SF

this new ice cream shop opened today, and i stopped by to check it out. for now, they're doing fairly limited business, and had signs up saying that they aren't doing sundaes, etc. there was a selection of about, oh, maybe eight ice creams, and again, for the time being they're doing pay as you will.

i sampled three flavors before settling on the vietnamese coffee and the yogurt. i also sampled a thai lime chile flavor, that had bright lemongrassy notes with a mild kick of heat. interesting, but i really liked the intense flavor of the vietnamese coffee, and the sweet and tangy yogurt. i was given a thin cookie as well, which tasted pretty good, spice-laden, but i was focused on the ice cream.

i can't remember the other flavors off hand. there was some coconut one, and a guinness gingerbread flavor. i think.

hmm. having trouble adding place, but it's on harrison at 24th.

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
2790 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. Super, I was hoping someone would have a chance to try it today and post. How would you compare the texture, sweetness, density, etc. to say, Mitchell's or Bi-Rite?

    Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
    2790 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    5 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      i can't really do a straight comparison to mitchell's or bi-rite. i eat ice cream pretty infrequently, and usually in the coldest days of our winters. i will say that the vietnamese coffee had a very dense, creamy texture, and was quite sweet, but that was offset by the really strong coffee flavor. it seemed to live up to its inspiration. the yogurt was labeled as a sorbet which sort of confused me, but it did seem lighter in texture.

      i prefer bi-rite to mitchell's in general, and out of the three i might still give the edge to bi-rite creamery overall. but we'll see how humphry lands on its feet.

        1. re: walker

          i'll just say that i was told my order would normally be $3.25, at least once they're up and running. or maybe $3.50. i made my decision accordingly.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Let me jump in with a question about Mitchell's and then others can add in comparison to this or Bi-Rite. We went for the first time after going to Phat Philly's. I thought the dominant texture of Mitchell's was chewiness, whereas I feel Bi-Rite is creamier. This is based on a limited number of flavors tried (I've had two flavors at Bi-Rite) and only two samples and one cone at Mitchell's (kahlua mocha cream). The Mitchell's was decent but I got a tiny pocket of ice in mine (maybe this isn't the most popular flavor and it was a little older). So it would definitely be interesting to see where these guys fall on the chewy/creamy continuum.

        Where I stand on the Bay Area Ice Creams (none bad)

        Bi-Rite> Real Ice Cream (Indian traditional flavors)>Mitchell's>Sketch>Ici

        Real Ice Cream's traditional flavors I like quite a bit, but my wife always gets butterscotch ripple or something like that and it seems almost gummy (Mitchell's was less chewy with their version of this flavor).

        1. re: P. Punko

          Bombay Ice Cream, also in the Mission District, scoops many of Real Ice Cream's flavors as well as others, so if someone wants to make a side-by-side comparison, it's not that hard. And if you want to throw gelato's hat in the ring, La Copa Loca is a neighbor too.

          La Copa Loca
          3150 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          Bombay Ice Cream
          245 South Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94110

      2. I had the Vietnamese coffee and the balsamic caramel. Both were notable for their flavor intensity and creaminess. The selections are more off the wall than Bi-Rite. They're still working out some kinks but the owner and the manager were on site and quite personable.

          1. After all the reports we gave it a shot as well.
            We had a 2 scoop cup of secret breakfast (bourbon and cornflakes!) and straus yogurt as well as a 2 scoop of thai lime chile and coconut.
            Great combos but my favorite had to be the secret breakfast.
            They were also giving out cookie with your scoops today and the pricing was still pay what you want. Today's cookie was chocolate chip. yummy.

            I really loved the place. The two guys there were both so friendly and personable. The flavors were great and it's nice not to fight through the lines at bi-rite (we'll see how long that lasts). IMO it's a great alternative with slightly easier parking...

            1. Today I headed over to Humphrey Slocombe to give the ice creams a whirl. There were 11 flavors in the case, and I tasted ten of them (missed the cream cheese chip). The plan is to have ten to 12 flavors each day. They’re spun in small batches, about 2.5 gallons. I thought it was gutsy to not have vanilla available as a flavor choice. Milk comes from Clover and cream is Straus.

              Thai chili lime sorbet – nicely proportioned with just a little bit of burn, lime zest fragrance and slight bitterness in the finish balances well to the sweetness

              Coconut sherbet – light, clean finish, a little too sweet for me

              Olive oil – will be made with McEvoy in the future, but didn’t disclose source today, olive-y fruitiness lost under the butterfat

              Valrhona fudgesicle – glossy and extremely dark, almost black color, depth of flavor to match the appearance, slightly spicy aftertaste, velvety mouthfeel and chewy texture

              Maple walnut – very pure and natural tasting maple flavor, not pushed too far, finely chopped walnuts

              Guinness gingerbread – fuller and broader flavor of dark stout, gingerbread chunks needed more oomph

              Straus yogurt – fresh and healthy tasting but quite simple, not what I was in the mood for

              Balsamic caramel – salty caramel with an intense lashing of zingy balsamic vinegar in a long lingering finish, softest texture, almost pulpy

              Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee – very smooth coffee tone with a bite of chicory in the aftertaste, rounded and rich from the sweetened condense milk

              Secret breakfast – crunchy chunks of candied corn flakes embedded in bourbon-flavored ice cream, muted sweetness, loved the zing of alcoholic whiskey heat in the finish

              Here's lunch - balsamic caramel, secret breakfast, and vietnamese coffee.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                well kudos for tasting ten of the eleven options! reading this report i thought back to my visit and i was a little surprised at the time that there wasn't a straightforward vanilla. i hope they offer one soon, as that is such a standard, and a good litmus test against other flavors.

                how do you feel this place holds up against the local competition?

                1. re: augustiner

                  HS is a strong competitor in this game, but it can't be easy trying to launch an ice cream store in the middle of winter, particularly as cold as this last week has been.

                  After trying four flavors, i asked the scooper whether I'd worn out my welcome yet, since his enthusiasm for offering me more seemed to have disappeared. But he said, no, that I was welcome to try them all.

                  I didn't ask about additives, but the texture of the ice creams seems closer to homemade to me. I didn't inquire about butterfat content either. The Secret Breakfast was the coldest and was on the verge of a bit of iciness, but it also left a butterfat deposit on the top of the palate. I like the clean finish of the ice creams, not the gummy finish of Mitchell's. They seem less confected and dense than Bi-Rite's. And, as you mentioned, the flavors seem more out there.

                2. re: Melanie Wong

                  After tasting a bunch of options, I ended up with a Secret Breakfast and Valrhona combination. The Valrhona is an excellent chocolate ice cream -- bittersweet, but not chalky.

                  I'm a huge fan of Bi-rite's salted caramel, and I simply couldn't stomach the balsamic caramel... That balsamic is too vinegar-y, tangy. Just totally overpowered the flavor.

                  1. re: peterme

                    Heheh, that's what I liked about the balsamic caramel! But good to give folks fair warning that this stuff has zip. It's also saltier and sweeter than most salted caramels to balance out that vinegar burst. To me, it seemed to be not as cold as the other ice creams, so the flavor comes through more strongly too. It's definitely an accent, and I was glad I had two other flavors to play off it in my cup.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Yeah I liked the vinegaryness, too. Made me feel less embarrassed about how I've been stirring cheap balsamic into my vanilla ice cream to make vinegar soft serve for years.

                      The Thai chili lime was great, little spicy kick as described by Melanie. I paired it with the Strauss Yogurt, which I thought was nicely tangy.

                      Also tried the malted dulce de leche. Dug it. No swirls of caramel, but the malt flavor comes through.

                      Secret breakfast was awesome. Very bourbony...and crunchy with the corn flakes. They said that one will likely stay on as a regular.

                      Cute little place with old soda fountain red twirling stools in the window. I hope to make this a regular stop. Owner guy was really nice, too!

                      1. re: Breego

                        Ha! What do you think would go well with the balsamic caramel?

                        Now I need to have the malted dulce de leche, that sounds great.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          That's a hard one. Maybe fresh summer strawberries?

                      2. re: Melanie Wong

                        That sounds really nice actually. I'm a sucker for exotic novelty flavors, and it's a bummer when they basically taste like standard flavors with a little subtle ode to whatever it's name after. Bi Rite's a good example. I always wished they went farther with it.