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May 3, 2009 04:03 PM

Back from San Francisco - thanks to all you great Hounds - Reviews Soon.

Instead of writing individual reviews in myriad threads I'll put all my reviews from my recent trip in this thread as I write them. The interview went great and the eating was possibly even better - meals and snacks, planned and spontaneous - a great time despite the rainy weekend weather. All told I walked about 35 (plus morning treadmill jogs at the hotel) total miles over the course of 3.5 days and really got to see/explore the neighborhoods - it was great!

Day 1: La Folie for dinner.
Day 2: La Boulange de Cole for breakfast, Arizmendi for early lunch, Panaderia Bakery and Humphry Slocombe for snack, Manresa for dinner.
Day 3: Dotties for Breakfast, Kara's Cupcakes and Pizza Orgasmica for snack, Bistro Jeanty for appetizers/lunch, Ad Hoc for dinner.
Day 4: Canteen for Breakfast, ABC Cafe for an Egg Custard, Farmer's Market for Grazing, Brenda's French Soul Food for Lunch, The Dining Room at The Ritz for Dinner.

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  1. La Folie - full review w/ pics in context:

    Arriving in San Francisco for a second round of interviews I was fortunate to have a knowledge of the area that I lacked on my previous visit - specifically the fact that the city is incredibly walkable for the fit and healthy - and that many of the best restaurants are located within a mile or so of North Van Ness Ave. Still opting for a car so that I could travel to Los Gatos and Yountville I made my hotel selection and plane reservations for one - traveling solo this time there would be no "I don't like the menu" to be heard - left to my own devices it would be a foodie experience like no other.

    Coming off a busy in-patient month my schedule allowed me to fly out around noon on a Wednesday and with a quick layover that meant checking into the hotel and reservations at 7:30 at the venerable La Folie, approximately 3/4 mile from my hotel. Arriving on time I got checked in without issue, changed into shirt and tie, and made the walk up Van Ness where I nearly walked by the small restaurant - small places like this garner so much attention in central Ohio. Entering the doors I was immediately greeted by the dimly lit dining room and a warm hello from the hostess. A "we've been expecting you" later I was seated at a prime table in the middle of the dining room with a full view of the bar and other tables. Moments later I was greeted by my server and handed a richly colored menu with a tasting option on one side and 3-4-5 course options on the other. Talking with my server I was informed that dishes from the tasting menu could be mixed/matched with the main menu and that one could order options from any section of the menu as course 1 through 5 - flexibility, nice! Wowed by more than 2/3 of the menu I must admit my selections were difficult, but wanting to truly experience Chef Passot's full range I opted for one appetizer, one "salad", one fish, one meat, and one dessert.

    Shortly after my order was taken I was delivered my first (of many) piece of glorious French Bread with a creamy yet sweet and grassy butter - each roll was served warm and while more than one option would have been nice I would've probably eaten twice as much – and let’s just say that the portion sizes at La Folie don’t necessitate filling up on bread. While slowly indulging in the flaky bread the sommelier stopped by to say hello and was quickly followed by Chef Passot himself who welcomed myself and the neighboring table to his restaurant and promised us a memorable evening.

    Soon after the chef walked away I was brought the first of three amuses bouche - Salmon Lollipops with Creme Fraiche and Pickled Vegetables. Presented simply and whimsically the salmon was noted to be line-caught steelhead and was excellent in taste and texture while the chive accented crème fraiche lent an appropriate creaminess to the smooth fish. The pickled vegetables consisted of carrots and beets, both of which were heavily accented by a strong vinegar, yet textural and pleasant.

    The second amuse, Foie Mousse with Duck Gelee and apple tarragon vinegar was absolutely superb and a mere hint at what was to come. Creamy goose-liver whipped with truffled whipping cream was coated with a salty duck gel and offset flawlessly with the heady yet sweet accents of a creamy tarragon infused vinegar while micro-greens and grilled bread provided texture – wonderful and nearly appetizer size as opposed to amuse.

    As good as amuse two was, amuse three put it to shame and may qualify as the best amuse I’ve yet had in the Bay Area - Poached Hen Egg with Rum Cream, Potato Chip, and Brioche. Creamy and savory yet sweet and textural the egg was flawlessly prepared while the potato chip was buttery and impossibly thin. I must admit a personal satisfaction with being able to use the brioche to sop up the runny yolk – like the dipping eggs of my childhood “all grown up.”

    Already impressed by the trio of amuses and the service I was further wowed as my first dish emerged from the kitchen – Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon with Pineapple BBQ Squab, Kumquat Gastrique, Brioche, and Peanut Butter. Too describe the myriad tastes, textures, and nuances of the dish would be nearly impossible, but suffice it to say that the picture is worth a thousand words. The torchon, creamy and perfect – resting atop a crunchy peanut butter pate. The squab, sweet and succulent and nestled in a bed of fresh pineapple accented greens. The gastrique, nearly a warm compote and heavy with sweetness and citrus without being overpowering. The brioche, buttery and slightly sweetened. Mixed and matched the dish was nearly “playing with your food” as different combinations brought out different peaks and base-notes, all in all the best Foie preparation I’ve had outside of Yountville.

    Still basking in the memories of the foie approximately 20 minutes passed and I talked with the neighboring table for a bit before course two arrived – and arrive it did. An item from the night’s tasting menu, the Zuckerman Farm Asparagus and Duck Egg Tempura with Nueske Bacon, Wild Mushrooms, and Truffle Vinaigrette was without a doubt the most impressive egg dish I’ve had in San Francisco and quite possibly better than the famous truffle egg at The French Laundry or the mesmerizing Duck Egg I had at Charlie Trotter at New Years. Flawlessly poached, the buttered asparagus was simple and undeniably wonderful while the egg was…::cue Homer Simpson drooling sound:: First poached, then flashed in a tempura batter and served alongside an earthy concoction of crispy and salty bacon with smooth and buttery mushrooms – like Bacon and Eggs yet exponentially more complex and intricate. Crispy yet smooth, salty yet refined and earthy – probably the highlight of the meal and possibly the trip.

    Dish three, a must order given my experience at TFL with the requested “Peas and Carrots”, was Chef Passot’s Butter Poached Lobster on English Sweet Pea Ravioli with Carrot and Almond Salad and Carrot Ginger Broth. As you may have noted, there have been myriad comparisons to Keller’s landmark in this review and this dish warrants yet another. While not as refined or texturally complex as the sous vide option at The Laundry, the lobster itself was wonderful and balanced very well by the spicy ginger and carrot broth while the sweet pea ravioli was a single large entity that roused memories of Batali’s sweet pea flan. When a dish this good is the “lowlight” of the evening, you know you’re eating well.

    By dish four I was glad that I’d only had some celery and a protein shake on the plane because I was starting to feel a little full – at least until I took a bite and threw caution to the wind – with food this good I’d consider eating till I popped. A signature dish of La Folie, the Roti of Quail and Squab Stuffed with Mushrooms, Wrapped in Crispy Potato Strings, Natural Jus with Truffles and Quail Egg was as good as the reviews. Cooked to medium rare each of the birds maintained their signature taste well without the slightest hint of “gaminess” while the potato strings added both taste and texture and the combination of jus and vegetables worked well. Additionally attractive and tasty was the small quail egg served in a “potato basket” which the chef stated was intended to create a “Easter like” spring feel.

    Finishing up the savories and moving on to a much anticipated dessert I was once again visited by the chef who personally brought a palate cleanser to the table – a cleanser of parmesan crème gelato with hibiscus and pomegranate. Sweet and smooth cream, tangy and tart pomegranate, plus the scent/palate sensation of flowers – very nice.

    For dessert the decision was tough – quite frankly there wasn’t a bad choice on the menu. Finally settling on one I opted for the Strawberry Baked Alaska with Yuzu cake, Strawberry and Basil Icecream, Petite Millefeuille, and Basil Juice – a great choice, without a doubt. Having experienced Basil/Strawberry/Yuzu in ice-cream form once prior at Eleven Madison Park in New York (Former Campton Place chef Daniel Humm) I had an idea of what to expect, but the version served at La Folie simply upped the stakes in every regard. From the crunchy meringue shell to the airy and light strawberry and basil ice creams to the dense yuzu cake everything worked beautifully together and was additionally complimented by indelibly sweet strawberries accented with basil foam and a streak of strawberry gelee. A great ending to a great meal.

    Along with the modest bill (especially for the quality and portion of the food) I was finally served a plate of paired mignardises – Custard Canelles, Raspberry Gels, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Gnache, and bitter cherry Madelines all of which wowed the tastebuds – especially the Gnache and the Madelines.

    After the meal Chef Passot once again appeared tableside and presented me with a signed and personalized copy of the menu – and a personal tour of the kitchen. Talking quite liberally about his time in the business and how he feels a small kitchen of trusted workers is the “ideal” to running a great restaurant he additionally spoke of his upcoming trip to New York for the Beard Awards and how he’d recommend it as a “gastronomic trip of a lifefime.” He finally wished me good luck in getting the job and personally escorted me to the door.

    While not as “innovative” as others, I put the experience on par with any 5 star restaurant and found the cooking to be on par with that of even the famed French Laundry in many regards. Dollar for dollar I would say that the experience was an absolute bargain and that the servers at Michelin 2-starred Alex, Manresa and Aqua could stand to learn from Chef Passot’s approach and crew. Amongst the 5 best meals of my life when taking into account all aspects from food to setting to service to price. All told I cannot say enough about my experience at La Folie and I would never hesitate to recommend it to anyone as a GREAT meal at a fair price with superior service.

    10 Replies
    1. re: uhockey

      How big was the room, and how full? The personalized service and tour sounds excellent.

      1. re: bbulkow

        There were no open tables and most of the clientel were older - I was certainly the youngest in the room. I think the dining room seats ~40.

      2. re: uhockey

        Glad you enjoyed La Folie. I often wonder why it doesn't earn two stars from Michelin when Aqua does... *shrug*
        I've found La Folie's food to be consistent and of high quality. Portion sizes also seem to be a noticeably higher, which matters to some people (not me though).
        As for service, I find the service to be decidedly less formal, but no less polished than say the Ritz or Gary Danko. Subjectively not better or worse.

        1. re: Cary

          Portions reminded me of Le Cirque in Vegas - the only meal (prior to day 3 of this trip) in recent memory where I was "too full" to finish - but not quite as big.

          The service, IMO, was akin to The French Laundry - very polished without being stuffy and arrogant. Danko's service was similar, but there seemed to be no "primary" waiter/waitress there - no continuity as it were. The Ritz has incredible service.

        2. re: uhockey

          Nice report. It is good there are people who can really appreciate what these chefs do. I could be sitting next to you eating the same dishes and never get all of that out of it.

          La Folie
          2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

          1. re: rworange

            Thanks. :-) It didn't hurt that the chef was present in and out of the dining room throughout the meal at multiple tables.

            Their kitchen is about the size of my bedroom - it is amazing how close-quarters it all is when you compare it to the enormous kitchen at Trotter's or Alex. TFLs kitchen was darn small, too.

            1. re: uhockey

              OMG how do you eat so much food!!!! You must be a young 'un.

              1. re: LPCagain

                I run, daily - and I am probably the most regimented eater ever when I'm not on vacation. :-)

          2. re: uhockey

            Glad you enjoyed La Folie. I had dinner there twice, many years ago, and really enjoyed it. On the last occasion, my wife and I opted for the Chef's menu (at $105 each, I think). You would expect that we would both be served the same thing for each course, but that was not the case; my wife's dish was different from mine. It was really wonderful as we were able to taste twice as many things, and they were all great (the details escape me now, many years down the road).

            And yes, Passot is a very gracious host.

            1. re: souschef

              Truly a great meal, i'll likely return.

          3. La Boulange de Cole - full review w/ pics in context:

            Looking at my interview schedule I was a little bit sad – 8:00am until 4:30pm with three hospitals involved and scheduled trams/busses between each…a day in San Francisco and I wouldn’t be able to indulge my gastronomic desires for breakfast or dinner…or would I? Like a good foodie I quickly consulted the hitlist – egullet, chowhound, yelp, gayot, zagats, and the online version of the local newspaper – and within moments my distress was resolved because a virtual smorgasbord of unique options just so happened to lie on all sides of my path. Getting up at a healthy 4:30am I made my way to the hotel gym for some weights and cardio, showered, shaved, and tossed on the Versace suit…and a pair of Nike’s because walking 3.1 miles to UCSF in dress-shoes did not sound too pleasant. The morning was beautiful and the walk through Hayes Valley was great – albeit mostly uphill – and by 7:00 I found myself at my first destination – La Boulange de Cole.
            Having had a relatively poor experience at Boulangerie on my previous trip I was somewhat hesistant to give the Boulange group another try, but at the same time the fact that this one had seats and good reviews made me take the risk – that and the fact that Pork Store didn’t look too appealing and Zazie didn’t open until 8. Walking up to La Boulange I was greeted by the familiar orange awning and a line of 2-3 people in front of me. Unlike my experience at Boulangerie I was also greeted with smiles and friendly service.

            Checking out the samples on the counter while browsing the selections I was quite impressed by the density of the chocolate brownie and the wonderfully refined sweetness of the cassis and crème tarte. I was also impressed by the petite French Toast, but was told this would take ~20 minutes to prepare. After a short debate my decision was made and my order placed - $7.75 cents and 3 minutes later I was seated at my table with my options.

            Choice one, after a superb almond croissant on my Boulangerie visit, was a Ham and Gruyere croissant that the server volunteered to warm up for me (something they told me they couldn’t do with my croque at Boulangerie.) While not quite as sublime as the version at Tartine, I will admit I was quite content with the buttery texture of the soft pastry and the substantial portion of salty ham within. Particularly attractive was the smoothness of the Gruyere which complemented the dish well without overwhelming or becoming lost in the butter or salt. A great savory.

            Choice two was one of the excellent demi-baguettes. Not normally a fan of simply ordering “bread” I noticed that every single person preceding me ordered a baguette and once I saw the condiment selection I decided to try it for myself. Served piping hot from the oven the wonderfully crusty baguette had a refined and soft interior with hints of butter and perhaps even vanilla. When paired with Nutella, Strawberry and Apricot Preserves, two forms of salt, and Lavender Honey the bread was certainly a great choice and something I’d order again.

            My final selection was at the advice of my server and certainly the best item I’ve yet tasted at either Boulange. Simply titled “fresh pear and cranberry tart” I was served a large slice of the buttery pastry with wonderfully sweet pears and tart/bitter cranberries that almost seemed to melt together and form a flavor that was neither pear nor cranberry but moreso like a Prickly Pear – whether this effect was intended or not I cannot be sure, but I would definitely order this again and actually wrote to the Boulange after my return to ask for the recipe – a request to which a friendly lady responded to within 24 hours and stated they would try to get the recipe for that dish (apparently not frequently on the menu at any of the Boluange restaurants) and send it my way.

            All told I much preferred every aspect of my experience at La Boulange de Cole as compared to Boulangerie and would definitely make La Boulange a frequent quick-breakfast if I end up living in the San Francisco area.

            1 Reply
            1. re: uhockey

              I thought of you when I made a recent visit to the Pine Street location for a hot cross bun.. It's been quite a while since I've been there and there were a few new items especially the mini baguette sandwiches, almost finger baguettes. They also had zoo figures like tiny aligatiors and other animals. Those were the things I'm remembering but there were a number of new to me items.

              I do hope you give their quiche lorraines one of these days. They also have a number of new quiches, but I've yet to have one as good as their lorraine. It's the cubes of ham that make this so good to me.

              La Boulange
              1000 Cole St, San Francisco, CA

            2. Arizmendi Bakery - full review w/ pics in context:

              The interview day was half over at 11:15 and the tram to the VA was scheduled to leave at 12:05 – plenty of time to run the three blocks (this time in dress shoes) to Arizmendi Bakery - having missed The Cheeseboard on my trip to Berkeley and reading about the small worker-owned co-op with their amazing pizzas, morning pastries, and artisan breads I knew that the experience would be worth the walk. Walking past the small building I had to chuckle at the neighborhood and at first I actually walked past Arizmendi despite its rather obvious sign. Entering the doors I was instantly greeted by the smells of yeast, sugar, and garlic and wondered how I managed to walk past given the large crowd waiting inside.

              Browsing the myriad selections I must admit that everything looked good, but knowing my foodie agenda for the day was to be pretty gluttonous I promised to reserve myself to one savory and one sweet. Watching the numerous bakers toss pizza crusts in the back while others rolled out dough and brought out warm baked goods from the back to reload the quickly diminishing supply the first item that caught my eye was the fresh/piping hot Forcaccia with Roasted Garlic Sauce and Cheese. Charged on a “per pound” basis, the single slice cost $4.40 and weighed in at a hefty 11oz – an 11oz that I greedily inhaled on my walk back to the bus. Creamy Mozzarella, wonderfully ripe tomatoes, and whole cloves of whole roasted garlic – Amazing and filling…and thank goodness I had a pack of Orbit Sweet Mint with me since I had more interviews to go!

              For my sweet, the brioche knots and Wolverines originally caught my eye but my love of cornbread quickly won out when I saw the words cornbread and scone in the same sentence…along with the word cherry. Cherry Cornbread Scone – done deal! Sweet yet hearty, soft yet with that characteristic cornbread texture, a bright balance of the lightness of a scone with the density of a cornbread – all enhanced with wonderfully tart black cherries. Hands down the best “designer” cornbread I’ve ever tasted – and a better “dessert cornbread” than the pseudo-famous Cornbread dessert at Symon’s Lola.

              Friendly (and clever) servers poked fun at my photo taking, but not in an obnoxious way – one even offered to take a picture of me with my pizza (I should have accepted) and prices were a bargain for the quality. While I will admit that the cash only policy ended up costing me $30 the next day when I didn’t have cash to pay the “toll” to Napa (What an asinine rule that is – who carries cash??) I certainly can’t fault Arizmendi for that – I only wish I could’ve spent that $30 on some more of their baked goods!

              7 Replies
              1. re: uhockey

                If you do wind up living here or visit at Christmas, Arizmendi has the best fruitcake, the type with fruit like apricots, raisins, nots and figs and three types of liquor

                Arizmendi Bakery
                1331 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA

                1. re: uhockey

                  Don't know if the SF location has them, but the Emeryville branch of Arizmendi has fantastic ricciarelli.

                  1. re: uhockey

                    If you liked Arizmendi, the Cheeseboard has a cookbook. They're more earthy than designer. The wolverines, suburban bread, and lavender shortbread are my favorites, along with the strawberry scones.


                    1. re: Windy

                      Good call, Windy. Their suburban bread is pretty much my daily bread.

                      1. re: tupac17616

                        It makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I like the long one better than the round one, even though rationally I know they're exactly the same.

                      2. re: Windy

                        Nice! Thanks. I'll add this to the basket along with the Tartine book I've yet to buy from last trip.

                    2. Panaderia La Mexican Bakery full review w/ pics:

                      Portion three of my interview day entailed a bus-ride from the VA to San Francisco General – conveniently located in The Mission area of San Francisco – home of Dynamo Donuts. Having heard wonderful things of the bacon-laden option I finished my interview at 4:00, bid my farewells, and changed back into my jogging shoes. Rushing through the streets of The Mission past any number of unique Hispanic, Korean, and Chinese options I finally saw the sign for Dynamo – and the metal awning closing before my very eyes. Stopping the clerk I was informed that they’d been sold out of donuts since “about 2:00” and that he’d merely been selling coffee. He invited me to come back the next morning, but alas my schedule didn’t allow for such – there is always next time.

                      As I was walking away I was somewhat disappointed but plenty excited to proceed to my next stop (Humphry Slocombe) until I was stopped by a well-dressed couple who stated “Don’t worry, their donuts aren’t that good – if you want to try something awesome there is this little Mexican pastry shop up the street called Panaderia – go there and get whatever the clerk recommends as fresh baked.” Having already passed a Mexican Bakery and being admittedly impressed by the display I figured “Why not?” and continued along until I found the small shop exactly where they said it would be.

                      Walking in the door I was instantly struck by the wonderful smell of apples and cinnamon – and the fact that I couldn’t read a single word on the wall, menu, or pastry cases! Taking the advice of the couple I asked the clerk “What’s good?” only to get the response “What you like?” Stating I wasn’t sure didn’t seem to get me anywhere as I once again received “What you like?” as a response. Not wanting to drag this on for too long I responded “Something fresh, with fruit” and the man smiled and led me to the case where he stated “Get this, and this.” Asking what they were (and having it written down so I could remember) I was told a Mexican Wedding Cookie with Guava and an Empanada de Calabaza (pumpkin.) $2.20 cents later I emerged with my prizes and dug in.

                      First opting for the Empanada I must admit I was somewhat skeptical due to its plain appearance – a skepticism that resolved the moment I bit through the flaky crust and tasted the burst of pumpkin-pie-esque flavor. With hints of cinnamon and vanilla the dainty pastry worked excellently and was almost like a hostess fruit pie yet far more tasty. Not too sweet, not too heavy – I probably could’ve eaten 2-3 if I weren’t planning on ice cream and a subsequent dinner.

                      My second choice, the Mexican Wedding Cookie, was another wonderful surprise and reminded me of a better version of the Russian Tea Balls my aunt makes each year at Christmas – but with chunks of almond and walnut plus a wonderfully tart compote that tasted of strawberry and cherry at once. Eating as carefully as I could I still managed to end up with about a teaspoon of powdered sugar on my black suit (a fact noted by myself and chuckled at by the cashier at Humphry Slocombe – who additionally noted her love for Panaderia when I attempted to explain myself) but it was absolutely worth it – and the dry cleaning bill!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: uhockey

                        I agree with the couple. I don't think the maple bacon donut from Dynamo is anything special.
                        I've not been to this panaderia, but I'm a big fan of empanadas de calabaza, and Mexican wedding cookies (though I've never seen them as sandwich cookies like that) for that matter.
                        Sounds like a nice stop to make before or after Humphry Slocombe. Mmm... secret breakfast.

                        1. re: uhockey

                          So, is this a first visit to a panaderia?

                          If so, you lucked out on finding a good one. I'll have to give this one a try next time I'm in that area. Thanks for the tip.

                          Here's an aritcle about the family that owns it.

                          The bakery opens every day at 4:30 am ... for early birds ... or insomniacs.

                          Panaderia La Mexicana
                          2804 24th St, San Francisco, CA

                        2. Humprhy Slocombe - full review w/ pics in context:

                          After an unfortunate miss on Dynamo Donuts but a lucky find on La Panaderia I next made my way to Humphry Slocombe in the Mission – significantly praised by ChowHounds and Yelpers alike I felt it my duty to experience Slocombe and compare it to some of the offerings in Columbus Ohio, a place many call “the ice cream capital of the world.” Walking up to the small shop there were notably three young ladies standing outside enjoying small cones – and a small dog enjoying one as well. I asked what the dog liked and the one girl said “the olive oil – its good for his coat.” -- yes, she said that, I couldn’t make something so insipid up.

                          Walking into the small shop I was struck by the relatively drab appearance – no flourishes, just a bar, a white board, and 12 types of ice cream – excellent. A smiling staff of two offered me a taste (on cool metal spoons no less) and I gladly endulged – first on Balsamic caramel (best. Ice cream. Ever.), then Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee (not as good as Jeni’s Black Coffee, but good) , then Andante chevre-strawberry jam (Good, but Jeni’s fig and goat cheese is better,) and finally McEvoy olive oil (Better than Batali’s – I could feel my coat getting stronger immediately.


                          Having heard rumor of the Secret Breakfast from any number of sources I took a taste and immediately ordered a scoop in addition to a scoop of the balsamic caramel – no cone, just a cup – awesome. Sitting down at the long bar I dug in and slowly enjoyed the wonderful caramel peaks with the heavy nuance of a quality balsamic underneath. While Jeni’s back home makes a superb Salty Caramel, this simply raises the bar a couple notches. In addition to the flavor, what struck me most was the incredible creaminess of the ice cream – almost a velvety texture on the tongue that didn’t even seem ‘cold’ because it was so smooth.

                          My second flavor, the Secret Breakfast, was not only cleverly named – but incredibly well flavored. Consisting of candied cornflakes with bourbon-flavored ice cream it reminded me of the standard “butter pecan” except without pecans and with a substantial “kick.” While others have not mentioned it, I distinctly caught the flavor, texture, and appearance of raisin in the scoop which makes me wonder if this was indeed a candied raisin-bran as opposed to corn flakes. Once again, the ice cream was like velvet and absolutely superb.

                          While I wish some of the more exotic flavors (Foie Gras, Government Cheese, etc) had been available and that they’d taken Credit Cards (see, again, the retarded $fine$ for not having cash on the way to Napa) I must say what I tasted was excellent and in the realm of designer ice cream I’d rank them on-par or better than our famous Jeni’s at home – I’d come back for Balsamic Caramel in a heartbeat and next time aim to get the Blue Bottle and mix it with Valrhona fudgesicle. Great service and good for your pets, too!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: uhockey

                            Ah, the difference in living in California. Not only would I not have blinked about the olive oil statement, I probably would have gotten into a discussion of whether dairy was healthy for dogs and be sure to avoid chocolate because that is supposed to be bad for pups.

                            These days most designer ice cream makers in the area use metal spoons in order to be green. Unless you mean cool in terms of chilled ... that would be different ... or cool design for the spoons.

                            I can't remember if you tried Bi-Rite ice cream yet and how you felt HS compared. IMO, HS beats Bi-Rite, but I still like Bi-Rite a lot.

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

                            1. re: rworange

                              Metal tasting spoons are just going back to they way things used to be -- greener, plus I don't mind taking lots of tastes if I know the spoons aren't going to be thrown away.

                              Dogs love ice cream. Olive oil is indeed good for their coats, but dog owners will argue about whether dairy is -- for those who say no, they actually make "ice cream" especially for dogs! The chocolate thing is way overblown -- the toxic dose of chocolate per kilo of body mass for dogs is pretty high. Most of the dogs who've gotten ill (or died) from eating chocolate are small dogs that eat Baker's (100%) chocolate -- chocolate ice cream doesn't have enough chocolate to be a problem. My 40-lb dog ate a whole pound of See's and didn't even get sick to her stomach (although she was even more hyper than usual for a few hours).

                              I've got to get over to the Mission and do an ice cream taste test for myself!

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                What's the ice cream shop out in SF's Sunset that gives out free doggie cones? They had a zillion flavors and a wheel to spin if you couldn't make up your mind. Think they're still in business .........?

                              2. re: rworange

                                Ouch. A bit harsh on CA dog lovers... cash-only is pretty common at great SF places. This reminds me that I need to do a Bi-Rite v. Humphrey taste off quite soon! Will definitely shoot for the Secret Breakfast - sounds divine.

                              3. re: uhockey

                                I'm curious, as a Midwesterner and a foodie, what's you take on the schizophrenia about gourmet/creative/intensely flavored ice creams versus simpler, more traditional ice creams. I'm down with both. Each has their own appeal. So it rankles me when people who get all wiggy about HS also dump on my favorite, Mitchell's.

                                And is this the Jeni's you refer to? I love to file away these tips. Never know when I might be in the area...

                                Jeni's Ice Creams
                                1281 Grandview Ave, Columbus, OH

                                1. re: BernalKC

                                  That is indeed the Jeni I speak of. :-) Queen City Cayenne, Gravel Road, Black Coffe are favorites. My sister swears by the Kona Stout and my ex-girlfriend though Queen City Cayenne plus Thai Chilli was the greatest combination of foods ever.