Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jul 27, 2010 05:50 PM

Flavor Brigade: Philly Italian Water Ices and Frozen Custard in Oakland

I just read about this place on SFWeekly Blog. They've been open since January, I don't remember reading any reports on CH.

"The shop offers Philadelphia-style Italian water ice, frozen custard, and ice cream. Water ice is different from snow cones or shaved ice ― it isn't simply syrup poured over ice, but a frozen confection made with fruit purees or concentrated syrups. The small size goes for $1.99, with a daily 99-cent featured flavor."

"In Philadelphia, you see water ice at every pizza place," he says. (Trend alert: In South Berkeley, the owner of Sweet Adeline Bakeshop and one of the partners in Oakland's Dona Tomas are teaming up for a pizza-and-frozen-custard place called Addie's Pizza Pie.) "

Flavor Brigade: 3540 Fruitvale (at MacArthur), Oakland.

Blog post:

Dona Tomas
5004 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609

Sweet Adeline
3350 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Eeek! Really? Thanks for the tip!

    1. The ice cream is good -- they make it from Straus products. I tried their coffee flavor and really enjoyed it. My husband had their root beer float. Both were about $2.50 a piece. I need to go back and try their custard. Thanks for the reminder.

      1. Oh my gosh, frozen custard and Italian ice has been this close to me and I've missed out for seven months?! Thanks for the tip - I'm making a special trip out there tomorrow!

        1 Reply
        1. hhc, thank you so much for posting about this! Due to some sort of uncanny psychic something or other, I was recently waxing nostalgic about Italian Ice with my husband. Then I saw your post and did a mental cartwheel. Flavor Brigade is in a neighborhood that I am in quite regularly, yet it's on a block that I never go through. I never would have discovered this on my own.

          Two of us went today to check it out. My husband had a small cup of strawberry ice cream. As was mentioned by hummy, this is made with Strauss milk. It was exceptional. Nice chunks of real strawberries mixed into a really creamy ice cream base. The small was less than $3, yet was a very generous serving. I'm glad I was able to steal a taste of this. I would sincerely put that flavor up against the best of Bi-Rite-which I love, though I expect that saying something like that is akin to "fighting words".

          I had to have the Italian Ice, and went with a medium cup of mango and lemon. The mango was billed as being made with fresh mango, and it was just dreamy. The Italian Ices of my childhood were definitely not made with real fruit (we bought cups from the ice cream man and unless you count water as a "natural" ingredient, I would guess that there wasn't much in that cup that existed in a similar form in nature). The lemon gave me the nostalgia rush I was looking for, yet was better than what I remember. Right texture, not too sweet but not too tart, it really hit all my flavor buttons. The medium nearly filled an 8 oz cup, for $3.49.

          At this price point and quality, I'm really going to be rooting for this place.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jillyju


            Thanks so much for your report. While I love trying other flavors, for me water ice is about lemon. Glad to hear the lemon is even better than Philly.

            Hope to hear about the frozen custard soon.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Eek! I did not intend to imply that I'm from Philly. I grew up in the Boston area. What I was missing was something called "Italian Ice" and this stuff really delivered. I am not any kind of expert on the great foods of Philly.

          2. Link

            Flavor Brigade
            3540 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602

            1 Reply
            1. re: jillyju

              Thanks for adding the link.

              I pointed a friend with a native palate there today and he reports back that the "wudder ice" is great. Also, "The guy grew up in Philly, hunts in the Poconos and went to college in Towson, MD. It's like we're brothers, only different."