Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Not Smitten by Smitten Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice cream
I’m a sucker for ice cream, and even more so when it’s liquid nitrogen ice cream. Why you ask? Because every time I’ve had ice cream made by liquid nitrogen, I find it much creamier than regular ice cream. So when I heard there was a place in San Francisco where all they did was liquid nitrogen ice cream, I knew it had to track it down.

Smitten Ice Cream
Smitten Ice Cream is located in Hayes Valley in a renovated shipping container. It’s not a very big space, with an outdoor patio where a small number of customers can sit and enjoy their dessert. There’s also a decent sized park across the way that you can take your ice cream to and enjoy the sunshine. Along the main area, they have several industrial looking stand mixers, all shielded from curious hands by plastic shields.

Liquid Nitrogen Dispenser
You can choose from a variety of flavours, sauces and toppings with the price dependent on what you add to your ice cream and each serving is made to order by the “Brristas" in your choice of a cup or a cone. It appeared that they had some standard ice cream flavours that were always available like vanilla and TCHO chocolate, while other flavours like salted caramel and brown sugar or cinnamon gingerbread were rotated seasonally.

Liquid Nitrogen and Ice Cream Churning
I decided to start with their salted caramel topped with TCHO chocolate sauce and almond brittle. The salted caramel ice cream was rich, with a dominant caramel flavour, almost overly sweet for my liking and I wished that there was a bit more salt. The TCHO chocolate sauce on top was good, and upon learning that TCHO was a local chocolate company, I made a note to check them out when I had time. The almond brittle had tons of crunch and was not too chewy, but once again, was far too sweet for me.

Vanilla Ice Cream
The service was a bit slow since they make every single order separately and it appeared that they were having some technical issues with the stand mixers as well. Although I went back one more time after my first visit, I wasn’t impressed with the speed of service, the high price, and I found most flavours to be too sweet for my liking. Smitten Ice cream is worth a visit if you like your ice cream on the sweeter side and don’t mind paying a premium for the novelty of it being made with liquid nitrogen and the wait, as it seemed like it was always busy there. But I personally don’t think that I would make a return visit.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Smitten Ice Cream
432 Octavia St #1a
San Francisco, CA  94102
Twitter: @SmittenIceCream
Smitten Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

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