Hounding in the Mission: Dynamo, Slocombe, Farr's Chicharrones
It's a good thing I don't live in the Mission. With "junk" food this delicious, I don't think I'd survive a year.
Dynamo Donuts: I know this place has garnered some controversy, but I loved it. Clearly, production problems are a thing of the past because as of 2pm on a Tuesday they had plenty in stock off 8 varieties. I tried the Maple Bacon, Chocolate Spice, Lemon Pistachio, and Meyer Lemon Huckleberry. Really nice texture on the cake: soft interior, slight crisp on the exterior, light and satisfying. All four flavors were fantastic, but the standouts were the Meyer Lemon Huckleberry which was really moist and had a clean flavor of spring fruit, and the Maple Bacon which lived up to its reputation as Best Donut Ever. Perfect balance of salty and sweet and I loved the crunchy texture that the bacon bits added. I didn't flinch at the $3 price tag, with a product this good they can charge whatever they want. (And for the record, I brought these home to share with the Mrs; I didn't eat four donuts in one sitting before eating ice cream).
Humphry Slocombe: I was disappointed when I heard that Slocombe doesn't make their own base or their own cones, but I remained optimistic. Overall, I liked the product. Secret Breakfast exceeded my expectations. I'm not normally a fan of alcohol in desserts, but the bourbon was subtle and effectively balanced the sweetness of the ice cream. It paired very well with the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee (a suggestion from the girl who was working the counter).
Texture wise, the ice cream is thick so you can bite into it and it has a bit of a chew. High butterfat content. Though satisfying from a nostalgia perspective, I still prefer Sketch's ice cream which is much softer, lighter, and has cleaner flavors. Sketch has a blueberry ice cream right now which is just phenomenal: the essence of perfect spring berries. Ultimately, this is a personal taste issue. That said, I would certainly rank Slocombe above Bi-Rite and Ici, both of which are making a similar product flavor and texture wise (and both of which are highly overrated IMO).
Chicharrones: I couldn't leave SF without hunting down some of Ryan Farr's famous Chicharrones. I found them at the Elixer Saloon on 16th St. My god, these are dangerous! It's like biting into a cloud - poof - it evaporates and then your left with this really pleasant fatty-porky coating in your mouth, and an afterburn of chili in your throat. Frighteningly easy to just sit down and eat the entire bag in one sitting. A truly wonderful product.
It was great to try all of these amazing foods that I've been drooling over for the past year. I love the Bay Area.
Dynamo Donuts and Coffee
2760 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
2790 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110
I really like Sketch, too for the purity of their flavors. I agree that it is lacking in the rich mouthfeel that Bi-rite and Ici have, but I kind of like it that way. I had a combo of their frozen yogurt with their mint ice cream on one of those insanely hot days that I am still thinking about.
My only quibble is now that they have switched to their new soft serve machines, they won't let you combine flavors that aren't in the same machine. Why?
A non in-house cone that isn't stale is better than a less than crisp Ici cone. I agree that HC ice cream is super thick and that you can bite it, and then chew it, but I wouldn't call it chewy per se. "Chewy" I save for Mitchell's where there is some goo to it. I really love HC. I think their vanilla is wonderful, and the strawberry candied jalapeno.
Definitely try to hit some of their other flavors, MtM, I think you will be rewarded.
I thought the consensus on the Bacon donut was that it was the best sounding donut concept that was the biggest letdown. Maybe they've improved the recipe?
The bride and I made a jaunt up to the Farmer's Market yesterday specifically for the chicarrones, which are absolutely mind blowing. I have always been a fan of pork products but this stuff is unbelievable. Really a shame that Fatted Calf can't sell these at the Berkeley Saturday market, as the powers that be don't find it kosher. :insert chuckle:
Proceeded to Yats and we split the Drippin's roast beef sammich, crazy good, and the crawfish etouffee, which had a darker color than usual but the same marvelous flavor. Talked with Jan, the owner, and he told me that he has a "professional" chef that is going to help him tweak some of his recipes come in this week. The po-boys, however, will remain the same, as the chef said he couldn't improve those. Smart man, that Jan.
Proceeded to Humphry Slocumbe for dessert, had tried the BB Vietnamese coffee ice cream a few weeks ago and found it highly palatable. Per Beth at City Beer I HAD to try the Secret Breakfast, which is now quite simply one of my favorite ice cream flavors of all time. Had to get a cup to eat it with the cone because the bourbon is hard to keep frozen. The cup was a helpful suggestion from the counter girl. The bride got the chocolate sorbet, which is very un-sorbetlike. Creamy with a great chocolate flavor.
Can't wait to try the maple bacon donut at Dynamo as my favorite waffle has always been bacon waffles, which can be difficult to get with crispy bacon. After all, I am a texture guy.
Morton, you are dead on with your observation about the Mission junk food paradise. I was so depressed about it that I had to go City Beer afterwards and pick up several Pliny the Elders to bring home to drown my sorrows.
Back home to Fremont, where a new fried Twinkie (& fried everything else) joint has just opened in the Valero station @ Mowry and Fremont Blvd.
My what complicated lives we lead in this wonderful Bay Area.
We get all the great healthy stuff and all the deadly stuff too.
bought a bag of the Chicharrones last night at ritual coffee on Valencia. they are very yummy, with almost a sweet finish, and a tiny bit of heat. very light and nice porky flavor. i won't be overindulging, however, at $3.50 for a little bag. well, not often, anyway.