If all the ice-cream shops were lined up in one place and I had my choice, I would go to the following creameries, first being best.
This is a no-frills, take a number, wait among the hoards spilling out onto the street, ice-cream shop. As an SF institution, it has, no doubt, been in existence longer than all the other places I’m going to list. Its longevity and popularity are a testament to Mitchell’s mastery of ice-cream. The scoops explode with no-nonsense flavor. The vast assortment of flavors also makes this place special. Props on carrying flavors that you otherwise wouldn’t find except in a Filipino store (i.e., Halo Halo, Ube, and Langka). Best ice-cream in town. Dare to differ and I will do some head-slapping.
We all love Bi-Rite’s Salted Caramel. I’ve tried some of the other flavors, but always go back to their best flavor. I think what’s great about this ice-cream is that it’s super creamy, like silk in your mouth.
#3 Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
I’m very suspicious of these new shops that have been popping up like weeds in our city, but have to say that this one I didn’t mind. I’ll say this for Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous and Humphrey Slocombe below, I am really not into their random, rotating flavors. I find it odd because once you find a flavor you like, it may not be there the next time you go.
#4 Humphrey Slocombe
People seem to be enamored with Humphrey Slocombe’s Secret Breakfast flavor, but I’d still take a plain vanilla at Mitchell’s over any other flavor mentioned in this post. While Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous’s flavors are odd, Humphrey Slocombe’s are even stranger: Thai Chili Lime, Limoncello. I feel like it’s trying too hard to be cool. Super creamy texture, but I feel like the uncool kid in a cool creamery. Not digging the flavors.
This is the “pop-up” in Hayes Valley. The reason I have “pop-up” in quotes is because I don’t know whether the place really is a pop-up or permanent. What makes Smitten unique is their technique. Something having to do with Liquid Nitrogen. They claim to have less crystallization for a better tasting product. Sadly, that product was melting in my cup within 90 seconds and I witnessed people with cones licking profusely to keep the ice-cream from reaching their hands. Big NO and a YUCK on Smitten.