You have a pressing matter at hand: You’re in lovely San Francisco for the 2015 convention of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and summer is coming to an end, which means you need to get in your final dose of ice cream in before it’s too late. (Just kidding. It’s never too late.)
Ice cream is tasty, sweet and comforting. But finding the best ice cream can be a struggle, especially in a place like downtown San Francisco. So here’s a list of five shops, in no particular order, that you should try to visit.
Jalapeño cornbread sounds amazing, but as an ice cream flavor? Your instincts might hesitate, but tell your heart to say yes. It’s absolutely flavorful, and jalapeño cornbread ice cream is surprisingly sweet. Jake Godby and Sean Vahey started the shop in 2008, and it’s been a success (and a roller coaster of flavors) since then.
Try: Bacon, Harvey Milk and Honey, Brown Butter, Secret Breakfast, Jesus Juice Sorbet
Bi-Rite employees pride themselves in using locally grown (or raised) food to make their ice cream. The ice cream is made in small batches using organic milk, cream and eggs from the Straus Family Creamery. In addition to soft serves, you can also find baked goods here. Because it’s difficult to pick just one flavor, they have an option called Seasonal Trio, where they offer a scoop each of the season’s three flavors.
Try: Honey Lavender with Sonoma Honey, Basil, Balsamic Strawberry, Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl, Salted Caramel
Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
If you ever find yourself in the Dogpatch district, you must try this ice cream. Ian Flores and Annabelle Topacio run the shop and offer not only organic ice cream but also homemade cookies, caramels and brittles.
Try: Butterscotch Butterfingers, Olive Oil, Bourbon and Caramel, Peanut Butter, Mint Chocolate
If you’re just looking for good old-fashioned ice cream and you don’t want to deal with funky flavors, Mitchell’s is your spot. This is one of the oldest ice cream shops in San Francisco dating back more than 60 years. But although classics such as vanilla and chocolate are available, the creamery offers unique flavors, too.
Try: Ube, Chocolate, Horchata, Avocado, Lychee
You’re about to be smitten with Smitten creamery. Here, it’s not just about the ice cream. It’s about the process of making the ice cream using liquid nitrogen. One moment, you’re ordering your ice cream. The next minute, there’s fog, smoke, or better yet, magic (science!) happening in front of you. And just like that, you have flavored ice cream ready to eat. Each cup is made to order. They also offer vegan popsicles.
Try: Crème Fraîche with Pear Caramel, Classic Vanilla, Fresh Mint Chip, TCHO 60.5% Chocolate, Cookie Dough with Pretzels and Chocolate Chips