I made it back to May Chan & Robotaki in the East Village, and even though I should probably write about how much I enjoyed their miso ramen and pajeon (Korean pancakes), I’m still a little bitter about the whole being-turned-away-on-their-pre-opening-night thing. Plus, it’s hot out and it’s so much more fun to write about ice cream. San Francisco knows how to do ice cream right. First stop, Bi-Rite Creamery. Be warned — the lines at this place at night are INSANE. We’re talking lines-around-the-block insane. Just go mid-day, mid-week and you’ll be fine.
I don’t think you can go wrong here. Lots of exciting choices and sophisticated variations. But if you’re really lucky…
… a foodie friend will have tipped you off about Sam’s Sundae. Order it. Trust me, don’t even think about not getting this. The description is “chocolate ice cream, organic bergamot olive oil, maldon sea salt, and whipped cream.” My description is “the best grown-up ice cream sundae ever.” I’m not saying your 5-year-old is gonna love it. I’m saying if you want to try something really special, this is it. Pure, perfect flavors that work together beautifully.
That olive oil thing isn’t just a gimmick. I took this shot after scooping in, and you can see the oil around the edges of the bottom. I don’t know why it works so perfectly with the chocolate, salt and whipped cream, but it does. I wonder if I can find some bergamot olive oil to try this at home. By the way, don’t forget to stop by the Bi-Rite Market down the street for amazing breads, cheeses, wine, and more.
I have to give a shout-out to Bombay Ice Cream nearby on Valencia, even if they were sold out of the saffron ice cream I love for the entire week! I went with a mango-rose milk shake instead. And as others may tell you, it’s really just the special Indian flavors that you should try at Bombay. They make regular ice cream flavors too, but you can get those anywhere.
On to Mitchell’s, also not too far from Bi-Rite. Actually, if you’re from out of town and walking there, along the way you might feel like, “where the heck am I going?” but don’t give up.
Again, consider yourself fortunate if you get tipped off about the buko (baby coconut) flavor. What a treat, so simple and perfect. Yes, it’s worth a trip to Mitchell’s just to try this once.
Jen opted for the halo halo flavor, which is based on a Filipino treat by the same name. That’s Jen happily enjoying her ice cream before a small melting incident…
I can’t talk about the Mission District without mentioning one of my all-time favorite spots, Aquarius Records. Compared to Amoeba, this place is tiny, but if you’re looking for CDs from really interesting bands you’ve probably never heard of before, this is the spot. The best part are their hand-written descriptions for many of the CDs. I could spend all day there reading them.