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Monday, May 6, 2013

Josh's Birthday Tour O' Ice Cream

Last week my nephew arrived in town for a visit. I love when Josh comes to stay with us. We have a lot of fun.

Josh had and photographed the Strawberry Sorbet and I had the Creme Fraiche Rhubarb

We took him to Moss Landing for a day and stopped off in Santa Cruz on the way home so hubby could have his 3:00 PM Mocha while Josh and I enjoyed ice cream from The Penny Ice Creamery at The Picnic Basket.


A few days later he said he was still craving ice cream so I figured we could take him somewhere the next day. Well, just a few minutes later Facebook told me that the next day was his Birthday! Wanting to give him a memorable Birthday we made a day of it going on a 5 stop ice-cream adventure that I dubbed "Josh's Birthday Tour O' Ice Cream." It began in San Francisco, included a photo op on Treasure Island, a stop in Berkley, and ended in Oakland.


Stop #1 Humphry Slocombe

Balsamic Caramel & Ancho Chocolate

I loved the Balsamic Caramel ice cream. It was one of my favorites that day. Josh liked his Ancho Chocolate until the latent burn from the ancho chili turned up the heat as a searing after-flavor. With other creations like Secret Breakfast (a bourban and corn flakes combo in a vanilla ice cream), and Jesus Juice (a red wine and Coca Cola sorbet), Humphry Slocombe was definitely the most edgy shop we visited that day.


Stop #2 Mitchell's Ice Cream

Grasshopper Pie

Mitchell's offers traditional flavors like the chocolate mint Grasshopper Pie we both ordered, and more off the beaten track flavors like Avocado and Horchata. This was Josh's second-most favorite scoop of the day.


Stop #3 had to be Bi-Rite Creamery

Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodles) and Cheesecake with Rhubarb Swirl

The Ricanelas was Josh's favorite flavor of the day. He was quite surprised that he enjoyed it so much.

I'd been to Bi-Rite once before and thought the Balsamic Strawberry was just OK. After having the scoop of Cheesecake with Rhubarb Swirl I finally understood why people love Bi-Rite so much! It was fantastic. The ice cream base was incredibly rich and the rhubarb cheesecake combo complemented each other perfectly. It was my favorite scoop of the day.


We tried to visit Smitten, where they make each batch fresh using liquid nitrogen, but the parking proved to be impossible so we finally gave up and headed east.


Because we were crossing the Bay Bridge we took Josh to Treasure Island so he could get a picture or two from across The Bay.


Stop #4 Sketch Ice Cream

Chocolate Sorbet & Vanilla Bean with Olive Oil and Sea Salt

The chocolate was bitter sweet. So much so that Josh wasn't a fan. But the creamy Vanilla Bean with the bright flavor of olive oil, combined with crunchy bits of sea salt was an absolute winner. For me it tied for second place that day with Humphry Slocomb's Balsamic Caramel.


Stop #5 Fentons Creamery

Our grand finale was a stop at Fentons an ice cream parlor that opened in Oakland in 1894!



 Already famous, a cameo in Pixar's movie "Up" gave them more exposure introducing them to new ice cream lovers and a resurgence in visits from past visitors that hadn't been by in recent years.

Dutch Chocolate Chip & the Day's Special, a Chocolate Oreo Cookie combo

We both enjoyed classic chocolate based flavors. I ordered the Dutch Chocolate Chip on the left and Josh tried the Day's Special on the right.

The flavors you'll find at Fentons are of the traditional variety for folks who don't care for the creative and shocking flavors that Humphry Slocombe has to offer. But they're all good, it's all a matter of taste. From classic to kind-of-crazy, in the Bay Area there seems to be a flavor out there for everyone.

In case something looked irresistible to you here's the list of places we visited that day:

Humphry Slocombe - website
2790 A Harrison St
San Francisco, CA
415-550-6971

Mitchell's Ice Cream - website
688 San Jose Ave @ 29th Street
San Francisco, CA
415-648-2300

Bi-Rite Creamery - website
3692 18th St.
San Francisco, CA
415-626-5600

Sketch Ice Cream - website
2080 4th Street @ Addison
Berkeley, CA
510-984-0294

Fentons Creamery and Restaurant - website
4226 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA
510-658-7000

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