Like Merlin casting a magic spell, cream and natural flavors are put into a whipping container and chilled with liquid nitrogen. In a couple of minutes your order is ready! What a great way to differentiate your business. The ice cream is good.
Central Freeway - now demolished
Smitten Ice Cream is located at Octavia and Linden in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. This site was the location of an elevated freeway that was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Removal of this huge barrier has transformed this neighborhood. These vacant lots are posed for long term development. In the interim several "temporary" structures have been placed there to house businesses.
Smitten Ice Cream
Smitten Ice Cream is one of the interim businesses located here. I have walked by several times before bringing Chris to try it out. I didn't realize the ice cream was prepared to order until Chris ordered one.
Moving from one block to the next can make a great change in neighborhoods in San Francisco. In some instances, just crossing the street can make a difference. The south-west corner of Geary and Larkin is just plain nasty! Cross the street to the north and you start leaving the bad parts of the Tenderloin. Not posh mind you, but better.
Thai House Express is located on the north-west corner of Geary and Larkin. It is our favorite Thai restaurant in the City. The staff is friendly and there is an open kitchen. Of all the cuisines, Thai seems to be the spiciest and they ask how spicy you would like the food. Medium seems to be hot enough for me. If you like fried bananas with coconut ice cream, they have it here.
At one time supermarket ice cream was the only common source for ice cream. Now specialty ice cream boutiques abound and San Francisco has many good ones - Mitchells and Bi-Rite being two of my local favorites. Click here for the article.
The best, sadly (for us) is made by Berthillon in Paris. Their main store on an island in the center of Paris at 31 rue St. Louis-en-l'Ile near Notre Dame Cathedral, seems to always have a line. Once on the island, just follow the crowd and you will find it. This is definitely worth the wait.
If you don't want to stand in line, many cafes also serve Berthillon ice cream. The photo above was taken at Le Petit Cler on Rue Cler, another great street of markets and cafes. If you're enticed to go to Paris to try it, check out David Lebovitz's blog, My Paris. Great guide of places to eat and go.
Chris found a place in Berkeley that rivals Berthillon. Horray! It's called ICI and I had the panforte ice cream. It was one of the best ice creams I've ever tasted. The June 24, 2011 San Francisco Chronicle had an article on the best ice cream to be found in the Bay Area. Mitchells came out on top. Bi-Rite and ICI are also listed. See the article here.
Tuileries Garden - Paris
August 15, 2008 - I told my daughter, I wanted to be the first man to take her to Paris. Well I did it and not a moment too soon as she was 16 years old. Strolling the Tuileries Gardens on a warm August day, we came upon this ice cream stand. Walking around to the shade to sit and enjoy the ice cream, I saw this shot. I don't remember how good the ice cream was, but I remember the moment. I liked the framed views and the repeating rectangles.