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Smitten Ice Cream

The tastiest laboratory in San Francisco!

Smitten Ice Cream
432 Octavia Street
San Francisco, CA
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Would you stand in a 20 to 30 minute line down a city block for a couple scoops of ice cream?

You would if you knew how good Smitten Ice Cream is.

There's no shortage of sweet destinations in San Francisco, but those in the know make a pilgrimage to this unique stand where ice cream is made to order.  I'm not referring to the kind of place that scoops from tubs to create your sundae; I'm talking about a place where ice cream starts as liquid and is served to you, solid, in SECONDS.

The genius behind this concept is Robyn Sue Goldman, a culinary wizard who has made liquid nitrogen sexier than ever through her very own Kelvin technique. The ice cream stand features a station for each flavor featured that day, and at the heart of each station is a stainless steel mixer receiving raw ingredients and the star of the show, liquid nitrogen.

Although my mouth started to water at the thought of a cool treat starring cocoa from local chocolate maker, Tcho, I decided on the Blood Orange with Pistachio Shortbread to fulfill my New Year’s resolution of trying the wackiest thing on the menu (March isn’t too late to start, right)?

Once you choose you particular flavor, step over to the appropriate station and watch as dairy comingles with flavorings and mix-ins, crafting a one-of-a-kind treat.  Then the magic happens.  Liquid nitrogen is added, and POOF!  The mixer starts looking like a bubbling witch’s cauldron, causing both kids and adults to stare in amazement before everything settles down and the scooping begins.

I couldn’t have made a better choice, as the subtle orange flavor was highlighted with bits of crunchy, nut-infused cookie.  Because liquid nitrogen freezes the mixture instantaneously, crystals aren’t given the time to form and it results in an extraordinarily velvety ice cream that coated my tongue and boosted my taste buds into high gear.  Add a thick, sweet waffle cone and I had myself a nice little afternoon treat.

Sugar and science?  Definitely worth the wait.

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