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Jul 22, 2009 08:12 PM

Humphry Slocombe vs. Bi-Rite Creamery... Help me decide

Going to be in SF this weekend and it looks like Humphry Slocombe and Bi-Rite Creamery are the best choices for Ice Cream in the city. I will probably only have time to visit one of the two this trip, so for those of you that have been to BOTH places, what is your vote and why?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. honestly, it's about the flavors and the vibe.

    I love humphry slocombe because you can sit down inside and outside and i really like their secret breakfast flavor.
    BiRite has great salted caramel and their fruit flavors are really good (strawberry balsamic is a particular fave).
    If I were going to only have 1 I'd probably go to BiRite because there WILL be a flavor you'll like. Humphry Slocombe is a little more hit or miss.

    1. Do you like weird flavors? Really weird flavors? I think HS would be the answer.

      5 Replies
      1. re: bbulkow

        Yes, I like unique flavors, that's one of the things that attracted me to both.. seems like such a difficult decision!

        1. re: Carbear99

          I didn't say unique, I said weird --- and I meant it.

          There's no comparison in oddity of flavors: HS hands down.

          When I was there I had tastes of salt and pepper and curry peanut butter. I ended up with corn, secret breakfast, and olive oil. You'll see on HS's list things like fois gras.

          BiRite has nothing of that strangeness - Honey Lavendar and salted caramel are normal in comparison.

          If you want your concept of ice cream flavor challenged, HS is the place for you. It really is an original.

          1. re: bbulkow

            I'm not into the weird flavors, but I agree that you should go to Humphrey Slocombe over Bi-Rite. I order their Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee ice cream when everything else is not so appealing and it ranks among some of the best ice cream I have had in a long time. It's somewhat gelato-like and reminds me of the espresso gelato I used to get many many years ago at a cafe on 24th near Mission. The coconut sherbet is also really good.

            1. re: bbulkow

              One slight warning: it can be hard to know for certain whether one likes a 'wierd' flavor, until one buys an entire serving...just tasting doesn't necessarily answer the question. (for me). One my one visit to HS, I tried a taste of the salt and pepper, among other flavors, and absolutely LOVED it, so got it in my serving. Unfortunately, while the first three or four bites were great, it wore my palate out quickly, and I couldn't finish the serving.

              1. re: susancinsf

                I loved both the tasting as well as the entire serving of salt & pepper, but then again I can probably lick a salt block happily :) Personally I liked HS more than Bi-Rite -- both are good but HS is so much more unique.

        2. I'd go to Humphry Slocumbe. Bi-Rite has excellent ice cream (malted vanilla with peanut brittle comes to mind), but I love the unconventionality of HS. As with anything that pushes the envelope, some attempts work, and some don't. I very much enjoyed the near-legendary Secret Breakfast and was amazed by the prosciutto, which had spot-on prosciutto flavor, but I found the olive oil disappointing, more lemony than olive-y. Other flavors, like salt-and-pepper, make me wonder, "Do I like that or not?" But I think that having one's taste's challenged is a good thing, and on the whole, HS has a sufficiently high proportion of hits versus misses to make it a worthy destination.

          1. i vote for HS - HANDS down - just make sure you go early for best selection as they sell out early. I like to get a scoop or two or a Hot Mess Sundae and stroll up to Philz and get an amazing cup of coffee after my wonderful ice cream adventure. . .

            1. They're very different styles of ice cream. The issue is more one of texture than flavor.

              Bi-Rite is very high in butterfat. It's creamier and doesn't melt as fast. Their best flavors like honey lavender take advantage of this. To me it tastes like cream--not my preference, but I know many people who like this style.

              Humphrey Slocumbe is more hit and miss, and it's definitely out there. But when it hits (Fudgesicle! or olive oil with amarena cherries) it's pretty wondrous. They're much less consistent than Bi-Rite, and this won't win the texture wars, unless you're a sorbet lover. But I love going back, just to see what's new, and say I had prosciutto ice cream.