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The Bay Area’s Best Ice Cream Shops…Rated!

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It’s spring, a time of renewal and warmer weather. That means ice cream.

This isn’t just summer’s game anymore. There are too many flavor combinations to try and too few fucks I have to give about silly things like calories or diabetes or what time of night it is. When I want ice cream, I want it now.

But with the plethora of milky cold deliciousness available, who’s got the most accurate guide?

If 10 is literal ambrosia from Mt. Olympus and 1 is a pile of dog feces in a cone spray painted white, this is where our beloved ice cream shops stand.

Courtesy of Mr. Green Tea

Courtesy of Mr. Green Tea

Humphry Slocombe
Multiple Locations
Rating: 7

Listen, it used to be great. It’s still even good. But between the long lines, the commercialization, and odd partnerships with Uber, the secret breakfast flavor just isn’t so secret anymore.

Mitchell’s Ice Cream
688 San Jose Avenue, San Francisco
Rating: 8

A classic is a classic. If you believe in tradition and solid flavors, Mitchell’s is forever. The pistachios in their eponymous flavor are actually from California, by the way.

Smitten Ice Cream
Multiple locations
Rating: 6

It could be worse, for sure. The mint, in particular, is pretty tasty. And it’s fun to watch, sure. But at a certain point, is that all there is?

Smitten Hayes Valley courtesy of Smitten Ice Cream

Smitten Hayes Valley courtesy of Smitten Ice Cream

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
699 22nd St, San Francisco
Rating: 9

Have you ever had a white rabbit candy? Go get one of those if not, then go here and get the ice cream version. I don’t know what to tell you, this place is amazing. It’s so worth going to.

CREAM
Multiple locations
Rating: 3

You guys are kidding me, right? This is not good ice cream. Yes, I know it’s cute with its cookies and bullshit. But you might as well just pick up a convenience store ice cream sandwich at half the cost.

Curbside Creamery
482 49th St, Oakland
Rating: 8

Now this is a good ice cream sandwich. The earl grey ice cream between lavender shortbread sandwich is particularly great. Some of the flavors and textures are a little hit and miss but this is a great staple in Temescal.

Curbside Creamery courtesy of Fryhole

Curbside Creamery courtesy of Fryhole

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St, San Francisco
Rating: 7

Is it worth standing in line for an hour to get the much-lauded salted caramel? Meh. Is it worth skipping the line to pick up a pre-made, multi-layered ice cream pie? Yes. Definitely, yes.

Three Twins
Multiple Locations
Rating: 6

Fight me: the only flavor worth giving a shit about is the lemon cookie.

Little Giant
Multiple Locations
Rating: 8

Alcohol-flavored anything is pretty much a safe bet. Also, don’t you just feel good when you’re inside this place? The Oakland location at least, almost nothing makes me feel good in FiDi.

Little Giant Oakland courtesy of Hoodline

Little Giant Oakland courtesy of Hoodline

 

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream
Multiple Locations
Rating: 7

I want to hate it on principle alone. But oh man, that bay leaf flavored ice cream is great. Also, sesame waffle cones? Genius. Not every flavor is well-balanced and sometimes the concept is better than the execution, but dammit…they’re trying.

Ghiradelli
Multiple Locations
Rating: 2

I have to rate this lower so you don’t die of a heart attack on the streets. Also, tourists.

Ici Ice Cream
2948 College Ave., Berkeley
Rating: 6

It’s real cute in there. It’s not mind-blowing by any means and sometimes not as creamy or silky as it could be, but it’s a solid favorite for families.

Ici courtesy of Best of Berkeley

Ici courtesy of Best of Berkeley

Fraiche
Multiple Locations
Rating: 5

Frozen yogurt counts! Though this one is very hit or miss and is mostly good because of the luxe-as-hell toppings. Valhrona chocolate? Yes. Entire scoops of pie? Yes.

Xanath
951 Valencia St, San Francisco
Rating: 4

Does this place confuse anyone else? I mean, it’s fine. The flavors taste about what you’d expect them to taste like: a little processed, sometimes too sweet. It gets the job done, though.

Foodhall
3100 16th St, San Francisco
Rating: 9.5

Did we need another gourmet market? We’re here to talk about frozen treats. There is “Italian frozen yogurt” in this market. It is beyond good. A little tart, super rich, and very, very, very good. It’s deeply problematic. It only comes in one flavor and there are limited toppings. I have literally not gone into the Mission once for the last 3 months without having some.

 

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Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

At age 2, I was getting run over by a bike in an alley in China. At age 8, I was avoiding man-o-wars on Tybee Island. At age 14, I was overdrinking sweet tea while running through the woods barefoot. At age 20, I was learning Art History and how to drop it low. At age 25, I was making fun of drum circles at Dolores. At every age, I am charming the fuck out of you. Just wait, it'll happen.