Humphry Slocombe in SF – Ice Cream for Ironic Alcoholics

18 Dec

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Would a place famous for a bourbon and cornflakes flavor live up to the hipster hype?

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That would be Secret Breakfast, the famous flavor which launched Humphry Slocombe into the Bay Area pantheon. Jake Godby, the proprietor, has said that Secret Breakfast always runs a little runny because he uses so much bourbon in it.

The taste is there. It’s not overwhelming, but you can taste the woodsy, boozy flavor there behind the cornflakes.

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Godby’s goal was not to just be epicurean — he wanted to make a challenging ice cream shop, one that encouraged strong opinions of love and hate. So, while Secret Breakfast is a nearly universal favorite, salted licorice or salt and pepper have their haters. Especially among children.

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The mid-century soda fountain aesthetic is also part of the mish-mash interestingness. HS is at the corner of 24th and Harrison, in the corner of the Mission District which still clings to its working class Latino roots. There are still more taquerias and laundromats than hipster boutiques, although HS is one of the signs that change will inexorably overtake this neighborhood.

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Anyways, for a comparison, get a scoop here and then go to the other side of the Mission and get a scoop at Bi-Rite Creamery. My favorite is still Ici in Berkeley, but both of these Mission favorites are really great.

To bring it back to LA fooddouchery, the Bay Area is much more serious about ice cream than LA. Godby is a former pastry chef at Coi and Boulevard. Mary Canales of Ici was a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse. And it shows. The best ice cream in LA, Sweet Rose Creamery, is helmed by an ex-pastry chef from Tartine in SF, Shiho Yoshikawa. And while Sweet Rose is head and shoulders above here in LA, the competition in the Bay Area is fierce.

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