As an ice cream enthusiast, I like to visit at least one (if not more) local ice cream shops when I travel. In a new city I do some research about where to grub, but recommendations from locals are the best. Luckily my friends and gracious hosts in San Francisco, chimed in on my meal planning. Knowing I'm dessert obsessed, they insisted I try Smitten Ice Cream. I resisted the urge to google the shop and went on their recommendation alone. The last piece of advice they offered was to order the mint ice cream if they had it... like tasting a mint leaf straight off the plant.
My sister and I spent the next day wandering through The Haight neighborhood shopping and taking photos, making our way down to the Hayes Valley neighborhood to eat dinner and get some of this ice cream. After some greasy cheeseburgers, we walked around the corner to get in line at Smitten. The line is always long, but don't be discouraged; it doesn't take long. Thanks to patented liquid nitrogen machines, each flavor has its own machine to speed up production and keep customers occupied. As the ice cream bowls spin and spin with liquid nitrogen pouring over the sides, the entire line stares, mesmerized at the contraptions whipping up little cups of deliciousness. I missed my name being called twice. I ordered the mint, and Madeline the vanilla with pear/caramel sauce. The mint was so light and fresh, just like they said it would be. The vanilla was perfect, not too sweet, and so creamy. Warm weather not needed to enjoy-- I could eat this stuff in the freezing cold and feel great about it. I love their slogan: "New, Old-Fashioned Ice Cream"; that's the perfect way to describe it. It tastes like homemade ice cream on the porch of my grandparents' house that we spent hours making-- cranking and waiting. Smitten is the same delicious ice cream-- just less work and waiting.