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Smitten Ice Cream now open at Whole Foods Los Altos

  • hhc Dec 28, 2013 07:57 PM
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Smitten Ice Cream is now open at the Whole Foods Los Altos for South Bay folks.

Smitten Ice Cream inside Whole Foods Los Altos
4800 El Camino Real, Los Altos

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  1. So this is the real made-to-order smitten, not something "off brand", like the guys on Univ Ave making ice cream from Nitrogen (but not to order) ?

    5 Replies
    1. re: bbulkow

      I haven't been yet, but from SFGate they have 6 machines inside of just 4 at the SF location, have their own kitchen so they can expand menu, even brioche ice cream sandwiches.

      Should be getting an Oakland Rockridge location too - don't know when.

      link:
      http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

      1. re: bbulkow

        I just tried this out and loved it.

        This is the real deal, set up professionally using machines that largely automate the job. It's 1 machine per flavor. They have 5 standard flavors (vanilla, chocolate, mint chip, salted caramel, cinammon) and a sixth seasonal one (toffee).

        The result is noticeably superior in texture and taste to the Palo Alto shop because it's done to order. When eaten immediately, it's impeccably smooth like mousse but has a denseness like softened butter that can disappear after a few minutes, upon which it assumes a soft-serve-like texture.

        I had the Tcho chocolate flavor and could quibble about how it could be more chocolately or how it could be a tad less sweet, but the overall package is great, and I'll definitely be back for more.

        1. re: Jon914

          After quite a few visits, I've tried out all but the cinnamon flavor and earl gray.

          The Vanilla flavor's excellent, with Chocolate and Lemon not far behind that. Lemon is a little tart, but I like that.

          Mint was the oddest by far - too herbal and probably a turnoff for kids. Salted Carmel was a little too sweet for my palate - mom says it was actually better the first time, which is odd because I thought the base mixtures were made offsite and should be consistent.

          1. re: Jon914

            "I thought the base mixtures were made offsite"

            Only a couple flavors which require egg, as far as we know.

        2. re: bbulkow

          It's an outpost of the real thing.

          Whole Foods has done this kind of thing in other cities. It goes along with offering local small batch produced items.

        3. I saw the counter, no line on a saturday, but was in a rush. Sorry for the lack of report.

          This is the one fairly close to the Palo Alto border --- at the corner of Showers Dr.

          1. I've been to both locations, I can vouch for the new one. Machines, taste, quality etc. are the same (delicious) at both. They have many of the same flavors/toppings too, although I don't know if they rotate the flavors differently in the different locations.

            4 Replies
            1. re: rmjacobs

              We stopped by tonight after a nice pizza at Napoletana http://www.napoletanapizzeria.com/, which I'd go back for.

              I wouldn't, however, go back for more Smitten ice cream. Maybe because I've worked in informal ed for 10 years and have had the chance to make and eat a bit more more LN2 ice cream than most. I found it TOO creamy - maybe overbeaten? - almost a buttery mouthfeel, which was greasy and unpleasant after a few bites. My earl grey tea with milk choc was pretty nice in terms of flavour, maybe a little bit heavy on the bergamot, and the choc was really very nice,

              But my husband's salted caramel tasted more like burnt sugar, very bitter and smoky. I was also a bit put off by the chocolate crispies he had sprinkled over, they seemed a bit like smashed up chocolate crackles - an Australian kids' treat of chocolate, coconut shortening, and rice crisps. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolat...

              )

              We ate it right away, and the texture was nice, but I've also experienced the same kind of softness from a regular ice cream, right on the verge of melting. At $5 a serve, I was a bit appalled to see parents shelling out $20 for a family's ice cream treat. Surely kids don't know better than soft serve... :)

              1. re: araminty

                Where have you had a salted caramel that didn't taste smokey, or bitter, of burnt sugar? Seems that's the flavor to me.

                I will mention, that's the only flavor I've seen their staff discreetly steer people away from under their breath.

                " Surely kids don't know better than soft serve... :)"

                Disagree with this entirely. Parents today feed their kids all kinds of quality, gourmet, expensive foods. If they can afford it, I'd think seeing a locally sourced, organic product made into ice cream in front of their eyes is more fun, and healthier than getting your kids more Soft serve mix from a dispenser. The kids I know would adore it the same way they love the Exploratorium.

                By the way, Smitten offers a smaller small size, off the menu, for 3.50.

                1. re: sugartoof

                  Burnt sugar and true caramel, salted or not, are very different flavours. I think the Smitten flavour ought to have been labeled more accurately.

                  And there is no way that this product is healthier than soft serve. Sugar is sugar, and fat is fat. We ARE discussing ice cream, after all :)

                  And I'm sure you're aware of this, but organic food is not healthier than non-organic: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/s...

                  1. re: araminty

                    Places like Smitten, Mr. Misc., Slocombe, Bi-Rite, Three Twins are MUCH healthier than a cheaper factory processed soft serve filled with preservatives, and artificial flavorings which detract from the taste. It has nothing to do with being organically certified, and everything to do with the quality of ingredients. If you can't appreciate the difference, I assure you, there are parents, and Bay Area children that certainly do.

                    I'm still curious, where have you liked the Salted Caramel better?

            2. Tried it out last night - got the earl gray with milk chocolate chips. Having now tried Smitten at both their Hayes Valley and Los Altos locations, I'm pretty sure I prefer Cryo in Burlingame and Scoop in Palo Alto. The earl gray ice cream was okay in flavor, but the texture was off in a bad way - as if the cream had separated from the tea or something, giving it a greasy, grainy mouthfeel. Sort of like when you eat super old chocolate.