Categories
dessert reviews

Ici

Ici specializes in artisanal ice cream, made fresh daily in small batches, and it’s been described as some of the best ice cream in the Bay Area. It was smoldering here in the Bay Area last week (90+ degrees in SF???), so we stopped by Ici on our way to Bakesale Betty. Yes…dessert before lunch.


[pictobrowser type=”flickr” userID=”arndog” albumID=”72157607174062727″]

We got six scoops between the three of us and got to sample a wide range of flavors. I don’t think all the flavors necessarily worked, but you have to appreciate the care and the commitment that goes into every batch of ice cream.

  • Chipotle Chocolate Chip – good, but the heat from the chipotle threw me off. I wished it was chipotle, chocolate chocolate chip. I think a chocolate ice cream would have gone perfectly with the heat of the chipotle.
  • Malted Vanilla – good…mild vanilla flavor.
  • Lemon – loved it…sour at first but I like how it mellowed out.
  • Fresh Peppermint – good minty flavor…not overbearing.
  • Saffron/Orange Blossom – I thought it tasted like Indian food (I know that sounds odd) and my wife was trying to figure out what orange blossom actually tastes like. She liked it though.
  • Peach/Habanero Sorbet – i didn’t think this one worked at all.

I also tried the basil ice cream as a taster and thought it was interesting, but I don’t know if I’d want a whole scoop of it.

Flavors change daily and I’d like to go back and try some more of their ice cream, but I hesitate to join the chorus of folks anointing it the “Best in the Bay,” especially when I didn’t think any of the flavors we tried topped Bi-Rite Creamery’s salted caramel (and I’m not even a caramel fan) or the Milk and Cookies or Orange Sherbet from San Rafael’s Three Twins.

However, it is nice to know that there are so many artisanal ice cream shops are out there making small batches of fresh, natural ice cream, and having more options just makes trying to figure out who’s best more fun and challenging.

INFORMATION
Ici
2948 College Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705 map
510.665.6054
Web site

Categories
musings Northern California reviews

Gluttony at Slow Food Nation ’08

Slow Food Nation '08I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to any of Slow Food Nation this weekend because I had family in town, but I managed to convince my wife and sister-in-law to trek down to the Civic Center on Saturday afternoon to check things out.

Our original mission was to get some ice cream from either Bi-Rite Creamery or the Ici Ice Cream booths since we had already eaten lunch before coming into San Francisco. We couldn’t find Ici’s booth, which bummed us out because we’ve heard so many good things about it, and by the time we got to Bi-Rite’s booth, all they had left were some pluot popsicles. The popsicles were good but weren’t exactly what we were looking for.

What we did find was Three Twins Ice Cream, an organic ice cream company based out of San Rafael, CA. It was late in the afternoon and a lot of the flavors we wanted to try were already sold out. Plus, scoops were $4 and pints were $6, so we ended up buying a pint of their Milk and Cookies and a scoop of orange sherbet.


Three Twins Ice Cream

The orange sherbet wasn’t very sweet, which was great, and it had a light airy texture to it. I loved it. The Milk and Cookies was one of the best versions of cookies and cream I’ve ever had. The three of us were plowing through this so fast that we had to stop ourselves and throw it out before we were too full to try any other food. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures because we were too busy enjoying it to bother. :-)

Three Twins was located in the farmer’s market section of Marketplace, so we ventured over to the other side of the plaza to the Slow on the Go section to visit the food vendors. We tried some really tlacoyos (stuffed masa cakes) from Primavera (left), a nice grilled sausage and peppers sandwich from Fatted Calf. Now we were really full.


Tlacoyos from Primavera (left) and a sausage and pepper sandwich from Fatted Calf.

I’m not a composter, but the Black Gold bricks were pretty cool.

Black Gold Compost

Categories
dessert fried chicken fried rice Peruvian reviews Southern California

Mario’s and MILK

We just spent another long weekend in SoCal, where we amazingly escaped the oppressive 100+ heat of the Bay Area for much more manageable high 80s/low 90s temperatures (and 70s overnight). My wife had to work Thursday and Friday, so we didn’t get to visit a couple places that were on our list, but we did get to revisit some old favorites.

On Thursday, we went back to Mario’s Peruvian and Seafood Restaurant in Hollywood and fell in love with the place again. I tried the Arroz Chaufa, a simple Peruvian fried rice with beef, green onions, and scrambled eggs that didn’t look like much on the plate, but when you eat it, the flavors really jump out at you. It’s probably because the dish also included MSG, which I’ve got no issues with since it makes everything taste better. Thank you, Ajinomoto, for your umami-enhancing seasoning.


Arroz Chaufa

After Mario’s, I was set on going to Pinkberry for dessert, but I seemed to be the only one. My friend Alfie suggested that we go to MILK. Alfie lives nearby, and she’s become such a regular that MILK chef/owner Bret Thompson greets her whenever she drops by. We got to meet him when we were there, and he’s a really cool, laid-back guy.

I wasn’t able to order for myself since I was trying to find parking (probably MILK’s only drawback), but my wife made some great choices. She picked up a Grasshopper, an amazing ice cream sandwich featuring mint chip ice cream between two huge mint-flavored macarons and dipped in chocolate.


Grasshopper

She also got the Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Bar, a vanilla ice cream bar on a stick that’s dipped and coated in chocolate and Oreos.

Cookies and Cream Bar

It’s hard not to come down to LA and spend all of our limited eating time at either Mario’s or MILK, but both places are so good that they demand repeat visits. But this was just day one of our trip, and we were still planning a trip back to The Oinkster.
 

Categories
bacon dessert recipes

With Warm Weather on the Horizon…

I’m definitely trying David Lebovitz’s recipe for Candied Bacon Ice Cream. Here’s a little tease…I only hope mine comes out looking this good.


BACON   ice cream

Then again, why wait for warm weather? Maybe I’ll make some this week! :-)

Categories
dessert reviews Southern California

MILK

MILK is one of those places in L.A. where the specialty of the house is something decadent, like ice cream, but Angelenos will go in there and order a salad. In fact, since we were there around the tail end of lunch, there were plenty of folks in there eating salads.

We went to MILK for the ice cream and were not disappointed. My wife’s Blondie sundae was great even though I’m more into brownies myself. MILK’s vanilla ice cream is excellent, probably because the butter fat content is really high, and the candied pecans and whipped cream were really nice.

I ordered the Creamsicle – a scoop of blood orange sorbet with a scoop vanilla ice cream and topped with almond brittle. The brittle was crispy but soft enough that you won’t have to worry about chipping a tooth. I loved the tartness of the blood orange sorbet paired with the vanilla, but it really didn’t taste like a Creamsicle. It was still excellent, but I think a regular orange sorbet/sherbet would have captured that classic Creamsicle flavor a lot better (if that’s what they were going for).



To go with our ice cream concoctions, we split the Media Noche, a delicious Cuban-style sandwich of roast pork, ham, manchego cheese, pickles and a roasted garlic mayo. The accompanying salad was forgettable but since we had our ice cream, it didn’t really matter. Check out the cooler as you enter for a good selection of sodas, including Mexican Coke and some old-school bottles of Dr. Pepper.

We couldn’t leave MILK without trying their famous bon bons, so I got two each of coffee toffee, chocolate mint crunch and Berrynilla. The berrynilla was okay, but both the toffee and mint crunch were incredible.

I know there’s sandwiches and salads on the menu at MILK, but do yourself a favor…make sure you order some ice cream! We managed to find street parking pretty easily, but it would be a shame if you told someone you got a parking ticket because you drove all the way to MILK for a salad, wouldn’t it?

INFORMATION
MILK
7290 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046 map
323.939.6455
Web site