First of all, what a great name for an ice-cream joint – Smitten (Ice Cream) – we have been back a few times already and are planning our cross town drives around stopping at Smitten. (Does it remain a food adventure if you keep going back?) Second of all, it is isn’t really an ice-cream joint. The shop located on 432 Octavia Street (@ Linden) is built out of a 40 foot recycled shipping container, cut into half. A great spot to take the kids over their summer break (if it ever gets warm) as it is right next to the open garden space in the heart of Hayes Valley.
The other incredible and unique thing about Smitten is that each scoop is made one at a time, right before your eyes! Talk about fresh churned. The patented ice-cream maker/mixer “uses liquid nitrogen to quickly and consistently churn the smoothest ice cream. Why liquid nitrogen? Because it is super cold (-320 degrees F), and a lower ice cream-freezing temperature, results in smaller ice crystals…. And smaller ice crystals mean a creamier texture for the finished ice cream. Our mixer was specially designed to make the smallest ice crystals possible, which results in a mouth-wateringly smooth and delicious ice cream for you!” And believe me, you will taste the difference and each kid will be enthralled watching ice-cream being made while wondering if that is his or her scoop.
The flavors are few but amazing. Think vanilla, TCHO dark chocolate, strawberry rhubarb, rhubarb crisp and brown sugar with cinnamon shortbread cookie crumbles (yum!) The flavors change frequently based on season and availability but the vanilla and chocolate are usually on the menu.
Hayes Valley just keeps getting cooler and keeps giving us reasons to venture back.