Monday, March 09, 2009

Scoop on Dining: Ice Cream for Adults at Humphry Slocombe

For the last few months, I’ve been getting emails or tips from friends and readers asking: “Have you tried that new ice cream place in the Mission?” No, I haven’t, but yes, I’ve heard many times about the arrival of Humphry Slocombe.

This unique ice cream store opened in the dead of winter (in late December 2008), with hand-made ice cream created by owner Jake Godby, a former pastry chef at Coi. I was intrigued by the idea of another premium ice cream maker (I’m a big fan of Ici, also opened by a former pastry chef), but I’m a wimp when it comes to eating ice cream. I can only eat it on warm days, so the winter wasn’t necessarily my prime ice cream-tasting period.

So when the recent rains came to a stop and a sunny weekend was predicted, I made plans to finally check out Humphry Slocombe this past Saturday.

The store is on the outskirts of the Mission District off 24th Street. When I arrived in the afternoon, there were luckily no lines. Chef Godby has experimented with all sorts of interesting flavors and several of them are written on the chalkboard along the side wall. But on most days, the frozen counter only has room for maybe a dozen flavors.

I ordered the classic combination. (It says a lot that a store opened less than four months already has a reputation for a classic combo.) That combination is the Secret Breakfast and the Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee. I paid $3.25 for my two scoops and sat in one of the retro red spinning stools along the counter.

The Vietnamese coffee was on top so I ate that first. First, the texture of Humphry Slocombe’s ice cream is amazingly thick and rich with very little air. This really made the ice cream taste more substantial than others. Its freshness is always appreciated because you know how I hate icy bits in my ice creams and frozen yogurts. The coffee flavor was subtle but distinctive, so I really enjoyed it.

Here’s a photo of my cup after I’ve eaten most of the coffee ice cream and started eating the Secret Breakfast. And let me say that when I hit my first bite, it was more like a Surprise Breakfast because every spoonful was so incredibly tasty and fun. See, the “secret” (probably one of the worst kept in town) is the bourbon that gives this flavor an adult slant and the bits of cereal that gives it a unique texture. I even bit into a big chunk of something that was almost like a piece of cookie or candy. I wasn’t sure what it was because I swallowed it too fast, but it was like finding a prize in your cereal box.

This experience has really tempted me to come back again and try some of the other unusual flavors like Valrhona fudgesicle or pistachio-bacon. It’s a bit out there for me to visit from Oakland (where I’m actually closer to Ici), but Humphry Slocombe is worth the travel. It’s a real ice cream eating adventure.

Humphry Slocombe, 2790 Harrison St., San Francisco. Opened Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. PH: 415.550.6971.


Passionate Eater said...

I have been meaning to hit up Humphrey Slocombe too. And the sad thing is that I live in San Francisco, so I really have no excuse!

Anonymous said...

ahhhh did you say bacon? I hope that is on the menu for more than a week! Sounds like a good spot.

Anonymous said...

So must try this place (you said bacon!). My hubby and I are spending a few days in the city for our anniversary in April. I'm putting this place on our list (along with many others that you have many places to try!)

Anonymous said...

Ice cream parlors should stand out by providing unique delicious flavors.

Workshop Cooker said...

Ice Cream would definitely be on my Last Supper menu. Although I would love to see them take on some wine ice creams. Zinfandel makes a very tasty ice cream. Try that at home next time you have a bottle of zin to kill.

nick said...

Love the photos. What camera did you use?

Single Guy Ben said...

Nick, I use two different cameras for my post, a digital SLR Canon rebel and a pocket Fuji camera. For this post, I used the pocket Fuji camera because it's easier to carry on the go and more discreet. Although right now it's in the shop because I dropped it!