Sunday, October 28, 2007

Do Right with Bi-Rite

I’ve been in San Francisco long enough now to have sampled some of the city’s finest food offerings. There are many to choose from, but the one worthy of my first SF entry is hands-down the amazing ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. Their cold concoctions evoke delicious childhood memories of monkey bars, birthday parties and light-up sneakers. . . Well, maybe not the sneakers.

Bi-Rite has been around for over 50 years. The small, locally-owned joint makes batches of artisanal ice cream in unusual but scrumptious flavors. They've nailed the basics - the ice cream is light, airy and not too sweet. In fact, the flavors are the creamery's biggest highlight! The combinations are not predictable, but they sing on your tongue and usually pair two seemingly mis-matched ingredients which complement each other well. The creamery offers up to 49 such flavors – I tried to sample them all and failed, but here’re some of the highlights: salted caramel, balsamic vinegar and strawberry, honey and lavender. The Mint Chip is great too.

Bi-Rite’s salted caramel deserves a special shout out. The salty-sweet combination is incredible. It’s like caramel popcorn without the annoying bits that get stuck in between your teeth!

A double scoop will set you back $4. The portion sizes are just right, and come with cute wooden spoons to boot. If you’re feeling like a real cacophony of flavor, go for one of their many sundaes. The banana split comes with caramelized bananas! Otherwise, for the lactose intolerant (or diet-abiding people who foolishly venture past), the creamery has popsicles in refreshing flavors like pineapple mint.

Bi-Rite is a quintessentially SF place – quirky, exceptional . . . and a bit of green mixed in. After you order your cold or baked goodies, you can walk just across the street and enjoy them in beautiful Dolores park! (If you have time, be sure to check out Bi-Rite Market just down the street for unique, hard-to-find gourmet food items)

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