Nothing to See Here - Smitten Ice Cream, San Francisco - Delicious!

Apr. 23rd, 2011

05:16 pm - Smitten Ice Cream, San Francisco - Delicious!

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Today, we drove to San Francisco, met up with some folks from Grubly and tried Smitten ice cream from their brand new store (? stand? kiosk?) in Hayes Valley where they make ice cream to order using liquid nitrogen and pretty spiffy machinery of their own design.

From left to right: The Smitten store/logo from the side; the strawberry ice cream; the vanilla ice cream. The salted caramel ice cream was so good that I forgot to take a picture of it.

The strawberry was so-so according to my wife, who decided the reason it tasted a bit yoghurty/sour was because the strawberries used were not quite ripe enough for her tastes. Our 2-year-old daughter enjoyed it, however, and others really liked it so it may just be that my wife is especially sensitive to that flavour profile.

The simple vanilla[1], however, was really, REALLY good. Really quite wonderful. Sweet, light[2], creamy. YUM.

The salted caramel was too caramely for my wife's tastes (her opinion: It was not caramel-flavoured ice cream, it was caramel in ice cream form, and if she had wanted caramel it might have been good, but she wanted ice cream and didn't think it fit the bill). Her view, however, was in the notable minority. I thought it was awesome. I loved how richly caramely it was, and that there was a noticeable amount of salt without overdoing it.

I would love to try some of their other flavours. I hope they will at some point expand the number of flavours on offer each day, post what flavours they will be serving each day on-line, in advance, or open another one closer to home! Otherwise, it's a long way to travel from Fremont to see if they have flavours I'm interested in trying. If I am already in San Francisco for some reason, however, I can definitely see stopping by for a spot of ice cream.

My wife hopes they have some ice cream with mint (not peppermint; not spearmint; mint--standard mint) some day. [3] So, if anyone from Smitten is reading this ... please make ice cream with mint, not peppermint, and please let us know when you do! :-)

While I certainly cannot complain what with the free vanilla, their portion control was rather haphazard. My wife's strawberry was a giant scoop which was probably larger than intended, but my salted caramel just about peeked above the top of the cardboard cup. I saw a lot of rather varied scoop sizes. You certainly don't need to use a scale to make sure nobody gets an once more than they paid for but it might be nice to have just a little bit more regularity. Quantity is by no means the most important thing, so do not take this as a strong criticism. Only a mild observation on a area with some possible room for improvement.

Overall? Two enthusiastic thumbs up! Loved it. Wish it were closer to home.

From left to right: Smitten Ice Cream drew quite a crowd, only a few of them Grubsters on this very pleasant San Francisco afternoon; the menu!
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[1] ... of which we got a kids' size serving (3oz) free as there was one to spare that Robyn, the owner/founder did not want to go to waste.

[2] Not in the low-fat sense!

[3] She finds it frustrating how almost every ice cream (from lowly store-bought up to boutique shops with lines half way up the block) which purports to contain "mint" is in fact peppermint. This used not to be the case. I have to say I share her dislike of this trend. I like peppermint more than she does, but it should be labeled peppermint, not mis-labeled mint. Yes, it is one of the mint family, but "mint" on its own traditionally refers to one specific variety of mint (as used in creme de menthe).

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Current Location: Hayes Valley, San Francisco, CA
Current Mood: chipperchipper
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