If you are a regular reader of our blog (yes, I'm speaking to all 7 of you), then my recent obsession with making ice cream should be no secret to you. This obsession has encouraged me to experiment with interesting and unlikely flavor combinations and one of the most encouraging sources of inspiration is the flavor list at a tiny ice cream shop 350 miles north of us that I'd never been to. Of course, I'm speaking of Humphry Slocombe - a haven for ice cream lovers in San Francisco's Mission District.
We were first introduced to the oddball flavors of Humphry Slocombe when a pint of 'Secret Breakfast' rode shotgun down I-5 to Los Angeles alongside @thedapperdiner. The rich contents paired corn flakes and vanilla with a boozy shot of bourbon. I was pleased to be reminded of it when I walked into their 24th street store and saw the Warhol-spoofing Campbell Soup paintings (below, left) boasting names of Jake Godby's more interesting flavors. Let's pray that Fetal Kitten (like the two-headed farm animal below, right) is only a joke, though given Godby's penchant for making unlikely ingredients palatable, I'd be curious to see what he could do with a prenatal animal and some Strauss Family Creamery milk. Judge away.
Shortly after opening shop, Humphry Slocombe's line was already snaking out the door. That didn't stop us from sampling the range of daily offerings. A few of the flavors we tried that didn't make the final cut included Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Black Sesame and Pepper-Mint. If you're lucky, a few of Godby's wilder flavors will be on tap. How does Foie Gras, Strawberry Candied Jalapeno or Boccalone Prosciutto sound?
The lesser fan of sweets, Angela decided to stick with the sorbets. Her cup started out with a scoop of the "Jesus Juice" which mixes red wine and coke. I've been known to mock wine spritzers - which for all intents and purposes this is - but this was darn good. Good enough to make me ease off the spritzer crowd? So long as it's frozen in sorbet form and eaten with a spoon. Beneath the Jesus Juice was a scoop of Thai Chili Lime Sorbet, which provided less of a heat-punch than expected and was less sweet than its red cup companion, but still tasty.
I stuck with the heavier ice creams and first up was the Salt & Pepper. While salt is no stranger to ice cream flavors - not to mention, an ingredient I heartily embrace in my own ice creams - pepper is not. Friends who tried it had an adverse reaction to the mix. But I was happy to be the weirdo who actually enjoyed it, and with each taste the flavors made more and more sense. Beneath that was a scoop of the Peanut Butter Curry. The combination was perhaps a favorite of our group. With the savory taste of peanut butter giving way to a subtle aftertaste of the curry, this one could dangerously be consumed by the pintful if one was not careful.
I'm already looking forward to sampling more of Humphry Slocombe's flavors on my next trip north. Of course, we're not void of interesting flavor options in Los Angeles. Scoops and Scoops Westside serve up similarly ambitious - if not slightly-less-sweet - ice creams.
In the meantime, my next homemade flavor will be a direct Humphry Slocombe inspiration. To make my own version of their Candy Cap Ice Cream, I picked up some of the local candy cap mushrooms from Far West Fungi and plan to steep them in cream to get their signature maple syrup-y flavor into ice cream form. You can check back to see how the ice cream turns out and also to hear what we thought of the Humphry Slocombe Candy Cap Popsicles we tried at Far West's Ferry Building outpost.