Ice Cream Here

P1070994 Monday morning I took BART over to Berkeley for lunch with Ethan (right), a Wilcox High School graduate (but a few years after me) who has been reading and commenting on this blog for some time. 

It is interesting to hear the perspectives of someone from the same school but at a later date.  And interesting to find out that some of the same teachers – Mrs. Owens, the AP English teacher, for example – were still there.  Some things never change.

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Based on Samantha’s recommendation, we sought out an ice cream shop in the Elmwood district on College Avenue called Ici (French for “here”).  Opened by Mary Canales, graduate of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse restaurant, all of the ice cream is made daily on the premises with the highest quality, freshest local ingredients.

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The interior has a lovely European charm, clean and bright, with the current ten or so flavors listed in neat script on the walls.  There are a variety of confections and cookies to accompany your ice cream.

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Above: Sneaked peek into the back of the store where a pile of fresh melons will be turned into something wonderful.

The advantage of having multiple people is that you can try a greater variety of flavors:

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Above: Molasses gingersnap ice cream, black cherry ice cream and peach habanero sorbet. 

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Above: Santa Rosa plum, white sesame praline and peach leaf ice milk

Here are my thoughts on the different flavors:

P1070995 Molasses gingersnap ice cream: Rich flavor and nice contrast.  Ginger flavor was very pronounced.  Pleasant but maybe a little too heavy.

Black cherry ice cream: Very fresh cherries capture the flavor of summer along with refreshing vanilla.  Very nice. 

Peach habanero sorbet: The peach flavor was nicely balanced, not too assertive, with an interesting and unexpected chili bite that snuck in as the ice cream melted in your mouth.

Santa Rosa plum: Just like biting in to a fresh, ripe plum.  The bright color was as vibrant as the juicy flavor of the ice cream.

White sesame praline: Such a clean, satisfying flavor with a southern sweetness and a crunch that contrasted nicely with the ice cream.

All things considered, it was worth the effort to take the bus across Berkeley and try this really good ice cream.  It was also a pleasure to meet another reader of the blog.

And thanks again to Samantha for her recommendation.