Smitten Ice Cream, San Francisco

Smitten Ice Cream, San Francisco

Another great ice cream place in San Francisco is Smitten Ice Cream. What's different about this place is that they make your ice cream to order. On the spot. In 60 seconds. How? With the Kelvin Ice Cream Maker!

Owner Robyn Sue Goldman spent 2 years developing her patented ice cream maker named Kelvin. In an effort to make the smoothest ice cream possible, Robyn uses liquid nitrogen to make her ice cream. Liquid nitrogen produces smaller ice crystals which in turns produces smoother ice cream. In 2009, she tested Kelvin out by taking it out on the streets of San Francisco on a Radio Flyer Wagon, and the rest is history.

Kelvin Ice Cream Maker

It was clear that Kelvin was a success! So Robyn birthed a few more Kelvin's and opened up a little shop in Hayes Valley. Smitten Ice Cream offers 4 ice cream flavors daily, with add-ons for an extra charge.

Smitten Ice Cream, San Francisco

I had the salted caramel ice cream with almond brittle, and my friend J had the vanilla with pistachio brittle and Meyer lemon caramel. The ice cream was definitely a lot smoother than other ice creams I've tried, which almost gave the impression that it is lighter than regular ice cream. While it tasted like ice cream, the consistency was more like frozen yogurt.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

432 Octavia Street
San Francisco, California, USA
Telephone: 415-863-1518

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream, San Francisco

Humphry Slocombe, San Francisco

When you read about the best ice cream places in America, Humphry Slocombe is sure to be on the list.

What makes their ice cream so good is the way they do the whole shebang well. Fresh organic dairy and ingredients. Unique ice cream flavors that rotate daily. Inviting and quirky atmosphere. Friendly Staff. And the ability to try any flavor you want without having to feel bad!

Humphry Slocombe, San Francisco

They offer 10-12 flavors a day, and I had fun trying them all. The ones served the day I went included secret breakfast, brown butta, oolong tea, carrot mango sorbet, and jesus juice sorbet (and yes, it had real alcohol!)

My two favorite flavors were the Vietnamese Blue Bottle a McEvoy Olive Oil. The olive oil was especially good...a little salty freshened up with some citrus zest.

Blue Bottle Coffee and Olive Oil Ice Cream

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
2790 A Harrison Street
San Francisco, California, USA
Telephone: 415-550-6971

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Black Bean and Tomato Soup

Black Bean Soup

At home, CK and I are trying to eat more organic foods and less meat these days. I eat out a lot when I'm travelling so when I'm home, I try to eat really healthy to balance the fat, grease and salt I put into my body when I'm away.

Ok, so I don't eat super healthy right when I get home. Because I'm so used to eating out when I'm on the road, I have to ween myself off of the excessive eating and drinking. I have what I call my 'weening period'. Doesn't matter what day of the week I come home, I get to eat what I want, as much as I want (like driving to a late night bakery after stuffing my face at a dinner party, and ordering every type of croissant available for dessert, and then eating it in the car because I can't wait for the 5 minute drive home - yep, I'm sexy and I know it!) for the rest of the week, AND THEN I start my healthy eating and regular exercise.

This delicious black bean soup is my recent healthy concoction packed with protein, nutrients...and gas! Just blame it on the dog if you're eating this with other people.

Most of the ingredients in my recipe were organic, but I didn't list it as such. It's your choice

This recipe yields 6-8 servings.

Black Bean and Tomato Soup
- 4 (19 fl. oz, 540mL) cans of black bean
- 1 ( 28 fl. oz, 794mL) can of diced tomatoes
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tsp of paprika
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 1 tsp of chili powder
- 1 generous cup of cilantro, roughly chopped

1. In a pan, saute the onions and garlic until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Turn the heat off and set aside.

2. In a food processor, process 2 cans of black beans, the diced tomatoes and some of the sauteed onions and garlic (about 1/4 cup) until smooth.

3. Add the celery and carrots to the remaining garlic and onions to the pan, and continue to saute until the carrots and celery is tender (about 5-8 minutes). Transfer the vegetables into a large pot, along with the processed bean mixture, stock, remaining black beans, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Tecoffee (Tea + Coffee) Anyone?


In 1946 the Evening Standard released an article advising the best way to make and consume a cup of tea. Written by no other than George Orwell himself, the short essay encompassed eleven rules into making the perfect cup of tea with the writer himself stating that, ‘everyone... I regard as golden.’

Of course, out of the eleven fascinating rules in which Orwell wrote, most of them are now redundant to the modern world. Brewing tea within a china teapot for example, is now quite a foreign method to which none of us in the 21st century make much, if any use of. What Mr. Orwell would therefore make of the recipe which you are about to read, could quite possibly force shivers down the spine of the great writer himself.

Spawning from the heartland of Barnsley, far within the depths of South Yorkshire, a new tea drinking trend has started. Forced through the lips at amicable temperatures and brewed in the same style of modern day tea, tecoffee is a surprisingly good yet somewhat bizarre beverage. Combining the elegance of tea and the power of coffee, a cup of tecoffee is certain to give your tongue a twist.

I have to admit, I was skeptical when I first heard about this. Tea and coffee just didn't mix in my mind. Despite what I initially felt, I tried it, and I liked it. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think. Here is a recipe, in the 11-step style of Orwell, on how to make tecoffee.

1. In a kettle, boil water using conventional methods. If of course, you do wish to use a teapot and defy my earlier exclamation, that is fine.

2. Prepare yourself a cup. Orwell himself advised that tea should be made in the smallest of quantities in order to refine the taste; though with the modern advancement of tea drinking technologies, it is fine to presume that a large cup will do just as well.

3. Once the kettle boils, leave it for a minute so that it cools, as a burnt teabag is an unhappy tea bag. Once it has cooled, place a teabag (I like Ceylon or Orange Pekoe best) within the cup and pour in hot water.

4. Stir, squeeze and stimulate the tea around the cup so that the maximum amount of dilution takes place. Once that you feel you have the desired strength of a normal cup of tea, throw the tea bag out.

5. Find from the fridge a bottle or carton of milk and stir into the tea. Use as little or as much as you like.

6. Now, this is where the distinction between tea and tecoffee becomes apparent. Place within the cup of tea a teaspoon of coffee (I used fairtrade coffee by Coffechino). Blended and smooth coffee is best as bitter coffee does not mix well with tea.

7. Stir an ample amount of sugar within the cup as defined by your taste. Although Orwell strictly advised the omission of sugar, he was well aware that he was within a minority.

8. Leave the cup to cool for a number of minutes (approximately 3-5 minutes).

9. Once this cooling has taken place, and you wish you make your drink fancy, cover the summit of the cup with a thick head of whipped cream.

10. If you want to make your drink fancier, place a straw in the cup, suck and enjoy.

11. Break any of these rules to avoid doing something outlandish.

Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco

Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco

Housed in what looks like a Chinese restaurant called Lung Shan is actually a restaurant called Mission Chinese Food. Once upon a time, Lung Shan and Mission Chinese, two different restaurants, shared the space offering two different menus with two different kitchen set ups under one roof. Today, Mission Chinese Food has pretty much taken over.

Mission Chinese Food is a Chinese restaurant that serves Chinese dishes with a unique Americanized twist. The Chef, Danny Bowien, is a Korean born American raised by non-Korean parents who ironically actually never cooked Chinese food a day in his life until the restaurant opened in 2010. All of the dishes on the menu are the chef's own interpretation of traditional Chinese dishes that have now become all the craze in San Francisco.

In reading reviews of this place, anything bad written about this place was mainly due to the fact that people expected traditional Chinese dishes, which is far from what you're going to get here. Despite the name of the dishes, ditch your preconceived notions of what these dishes are supposed to taste like and just embrace the creativity put into the food.

The atmosphere of the restaurant adds to the whole experience. It is a little hole in the wall that is walk-in only. You fill out your name on a piece of paper taped outside of the restaurant and you are forced to wait outside until your name is called. When you walk in, the resturant is dim and the ceiling is strewn with tacky Chinese decor such as fluorescent streamers, paper lanterns and dragon.

Our meal started with  a bowl of Szechuan Pickles - salted pickled napa cabbage with carrot, roasted peanut, fresh coriander and chili oil. A Chinese version of Kim Chi.

Pickled Napa Cabbage
Szechuan Pickles

Next was the cold savory egg custard served with sea urchin, scallop, winter melon, and citron. I was excited for this dish because I love anything with eggs but I have to say I didn't enjoy it. No matter how much I try, I just can't take in a lot of sea urchin. It's too overpowering for me. Sea urchin is what makes this dish unique but this dish was definitely a miss for me.

Cold Egg Custard with Sea Urchin
Savory Egg Custard with Sea Urchan and Scallop

Next was the thrice cooked bacon. A dish of fatty tender bacon pieces with starchy rice cake slices, bitter melon, tofu skin, scallion, black bean, and chili oil. I have no idea if this is even a Chinese dish but it was delicious! Flavorful, tender, fatty, starchy, spicy, sweet, salty and crunchy all in one dish. It's true what they say, everything does taste better with bacon!

Thrice Cooked Bacon
Thrice Cooked Bacon

The broccoli beef cheek was really something different! They spruced up the oyster sauce with real poached oysters and the beef cheeks added a nice twist. It was also nice to get some veggies into our system after the heavy thrice cooked bacon dish. This was definitely our favorite dish!

Gai Lan and Beef Cheeks
Broccoli Beef Cheek

Massive chunks of tender beef cheeks and lots of oysters were hidden under the gai lan.

Beef Cheeks
Beef Cheeks

I wanted to see what their ma po tofu was like because this is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. Their rendition included ground kurobuta pork shoulder, Szechuan peppercorn and chili oil. No shortage of flavor in this dish but there was just too much sauce for my likings. The sauce, tofu and pork balance was just way off. It was more like a thick soup.

Ma Po Tofu
Ma Po Tofu

Our last dish was the Taiwanese clams. There are a few dishes that are only offered if you dine at the restaurant and this was one of them. It was a large plate of steamed clams with Thai basil, garlic,
black bean and Chinese sausage. This was a mild dish and would have been a very nice dish to start our meal with. By the time we got to the clams, our taste buds had been blown away with the chili oil and peppercorns, leaving very little room in our palate for these clams.

Taiwanese Clams
Taiwanese Clams

The huge craze for Mission Chinese is with reason. The dishes were definitely creative and flavorful. As long as you don't expect traditional Chinese, you'll really enjoy this place.

Mission Chinese Food
2234 Mission Street
San Francisco, California USA
Telephone: 415-863-2800

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