Wednesday, July 27, 2011

LWF&D goes to Napa (and SF) and eats even more ice cream

One of the reasons I had chosen Incanto as my SF birthday dinner location was due to its proximity to Humphry Slocombe, one of the most famous ice cream shops in the area. Being the ice cream connoisseur that I am, I was determined to give their creative flavors a try, so after dinner at Incanto, we all hopped in our cars and drove the mile to the Mission district.

After parking, we walked a couple blocks to Humphry Slocombe and saw... the longest line I've ever seen. It snaked out of the small shop and down the block, moving slowly but just quickly enough to trick you into staying. If you didn't know what was going on, you'd think that the place was giving something away free... but it wasn't. All these crazy people were waiting outside in the chilly SF weather to pay for their ice cream.

Regardless, we stayed, and after a half hour or so, we made it into the store to investigate the flavors. Humphry Slocombe is known for its off-the-wall concoctions, from peanut butter curry to their famous "secret breakfast" (bourbon with cornflakes, which tasted just about as weird as it sounded). We each tasted as many flavors as we could handle, and props to the counter staff for being friendly and accommodating when facing an interminable line of people who wanted to taste everything before deciding.

My uncle went for the Gabba Gabba Hey sundae, with balsamic caramel ice cream (tasted like a slightly caramelized balsamic vinegar... very intriguing), brownie, amarena cherries, and whipped cream. Decadent and delicious.

Mountain of oozy deliciousness

I chose half McEvoy olive oil, half brown butter. Yes, I realize it's kind of weird to have a dessert based entirely on greasing agents, but still. The olive oil-- always one of my favorite ice cream or gelato flavors-- was floral and herbal to the extreme, creamy with almost a citrusy tang from the intense olive oil. But surprisingly, the brown butter was my favorite, with a nutty taste and a lovely caramelized note from a bit of brown sugar. Ridiculous. And, it should be noted, a huge amount of ice cream-- for a "small" order, this was an overwhelming quantity for any post-dinner eater.

So much ice cream it won't fit in the bowl

So, that's Humphry Slocombe for you. We ate standing up, crunched into the tiny store; we waited over a half hour for our post-dinner treat. Was it worth it? Sort of, I'd say. I'm definitely very glad I tried it, and the ice cream was truly delicious. But I couldn't imagine making that my local ice cream shop if I lived nearby, perhaps because when I want ice cream, I want it NOW. I'd never brave that long a line on a regular basis, but most people are more patient than I. If you're in the area, definitely decide for yourself...

Humphry Slocombe
2790 Harrison Street, San Francisco

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