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Best ice cream 2011

We'll surely get some warm weather one of these days.

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  1. Usual suspects: Humphry Slocombe, Bi-Rite, Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous, Scream Sorbet ...

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    Bi-Rite Market
    3639 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Scream Sorbet
    5030 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

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

    Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
    699 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Fenton's has to be number 1 all of the Bay Area.
      Tucker's is second place.
      Bi-Rite is third.
      Mitchell's is Fourth.

      1. re: theomordha

        Fenton's? Really? For an outing with the kids, certainly the atmosphere is hard to beat, but purely on the basis of the quality of the ice cream? It's Baskin-Robbins territory at best.

        (And just to be clear, I LIKE going to Fenton's - it's not far from home, and it's always a good time (after you find parking, that is...). It's just not top-notch product when put head-to-head against many other options.)

        1. re: theomordha

          Fenton's ice cream is better than Baskin-Robbins' but in general the place is staunchly mediocre or worse.

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          my addiction is the almond joy flavor from Loards ice cream. I get it direct from the factory in San Leandro. I can go through 1/2 gallon in a couple days.
          I think they are better than many so call artisian ice creams that I have tried.

        3. Robert I know you don't like Mitchell's, but I've always enjoyed them when I'm in the mood for something more traditional.

          I've also always found Bombay Creamery (just re-opened) to be underrated.

          Regardless, I think your usual suspects pretty much capture the best there is.

          Oh, and Ici.

          2 Replies
          1. re: vulber

            I hadn't heard Bombay reopened. Same location?

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

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              New location - under the freeway now, not exactly a high foot traffic area.

          2. I'm pretty East Bay-centered, but I can't get over how delicious Lush Gelato is. I am always happy at Ici, and for non-dairy Scream Sorbet is truly amazing. But nothing compares to Lush.

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            Lush Gelato
            4184 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

            Scream Sorbet
            5030 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

            5 Replies
            1. re: milklady

              Personally Scream's non-dairy aspect is of no interest except to the extent it makes it more flavorful. I can't imagine how pistachio ice cream could have as much pistachio flavor as their stuff, which is maybe 90% pistachios.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Scream's nut flavors are amazing, and so much better than any nut-based ice cream or gelato I've ever had. They come up with interesting flavor combos, too, as does Lush, which I agree w/milklady is terrific. I don't care fore Ici at all, and think it's horribly overrated and uninteresting. The herb and spice flavors at Tara's can be quite good, though the spice flavors can be overly powerful, just as the fruit flavors can be too subtly flavored. Three Twins is pretty good.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Better than the pistachio at Rome's little Gelateria Frigidarium?
                  That would be high praise indeed.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Scream Sorbet's pistachio hits the uncanny valley of flavor: it tastes so much like pistachio that it's a freakishly odd experience. I've sampled dozens of flavors from Scream Sorbet, and the pistachio is the only one that has this effect.

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                    Scream Sorbet
                    5030 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                    1. re: ssfire

                      Some of the fruit flavors are like that for me. One of the citrus flavors this winter (satsuma mandarin, I think) and the apricot last year. It's not surprising considering how they're made, though.

                2. I agree with milklady - Lush is still the best. Though of course gelato is a slightly different beast. I think it's also the most well-priced of all the artisan options.

                  For less high-end, I'm also a fan of the ice waters and frozen custard at Flavor Brigade.

                  I recently tried Humphrey Slocombe for the first time and wasn't impressed. Tried the secret breakfast and the Vietnamese coffee - both flavors tasted fine, but not only did I find the texture overly icy, the ice cream left a really unpleasant fatty aftertaste/sensation on the tongue - like my tongue was coated in cold grease. I've experienced this once or twice before but only with homemade ice cream I made myself - not sure what causes this, but it's quite off-putting.

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                  Flavor Brigade
                  3540 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602

                  1. C'est Ici. Ice cream sandwich made with coconut ice cream and coconut cookies. Cuckoo for coconut!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: chocolatetartguy

                      Maybe this should be an off-shoot of Robert's thread (and I also just griped about Ici being boring, so this gives me a tiny bit of pause), but anywhere else have coconut ice-cream? I'd love to do a taste-off.

                      1. re: bgbc

                        Mitchel's doesn't offer a straight-up coconut. But their macapuno is a personal favorite. Buko and coconut pineapple are also on the menu, but I never can get past the macapuno.

                        1. re: BernalKC

                          mitchell's does have a straight-up coconut; i always buy some when i want to make thai-style fried banana; and i believe that many southeast asian restaurants around SF also use the same ice cream to serve with the dessert

                          1. re: vulber

                            You sure you're not thinking of buko? There's no straight coconut on the list on their Web site, just buko, macapuno, coconut-pineapple, and coconut-ginger sorbet.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              hmmm.....you could be right; come to think of it, it has been a while since i've bought that ice cream; there's a good chance i might have asked someone there what the closest equivalent is

                          2. re: BernalKC

                            Totally forgot about them! I got put off/snobbed out by the corn syrup factor, but remember really enjoying the macupuno.

                          3. re: bgbc

                            Scream Sorbet's coconut is great. I had an amazing roasted coconut ice cream at Gather a few weeks ago.

                            Mitchell's buko tastes like regular coconut to me, though it's technically young coconut. I love their macapuno (sport coconut) flavor, but not the waxy mouthfeel.

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                            Scream Sorbet
                            5030 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                            1. re: bgbc

                              Can't vouch for the coconut ice cream by itself, but in concert with their coconut cookies it was one of the better treats I've had there.

                              I've especially liked the cilantro ice milk, the liquor-inspired flavors like Guinness Stout and the Italian spumoni. I don't shop at Whole Foods, but do they have like flavors there? I go to Ici on average once a week and there are almost always new flavors.

                              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                Well, the Oakland (Harrison Street) Whole Foods seems to sell ice-cream by a lot of small vendors -- but to be honest I haven't closely examined labels for a while.

                            2. re: chocolatetartguy

                              Tucker's has macapuno, as does Loard's (which has so far not been mentioned in this thread -- I wandered into on the other day and they had several exotic flavors, like ube).

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                              Tucker's Ice Cream
                              1349 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501