7 ice cream spots you’ll want to hit before the end of summer

By Marcia Gagliardi

San Francisco may be swaddled in a blanket of fog (thanks, Karl!) and only reach a summery high of 64 if we’re lucky, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying ice cream and frozen treats in 25 mph winds. No sir, San Franciscans understand that a Frosty Freeze and fleece are a fine mix. But when the warm weather finally shows up in September and it’s truly time for an ice cream cone or frozen treat, we’ve got you covered like a cashmere sweater.

Head to this newcomer for your fix of Taiwanese shaved snow—that light and powdery treat that’s like a cross between ice cream and shaved ice. You can enjoy shaved-to-order ribbons of snow in flavors like black sesame, horchata, Mexican chocolate, strawberry or Vietnamese iced coffee, all made with filtered water and organic dairy by Straus Family Creamery combined with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Give it the finishing touch with toppings like mochi, seasonal fruit, honey from the Sonoma/Napa region and traditional sweet milk glaze.
Where to get it: At Off the Grid’s Presidio Picnic on Sundays. They’re also opening a shop at 260 Divisadero soon.

Frozen Kuhsterd
Mmmm, frozen custard. You can keep it simple if you want, but this local maker isn’t just about hooking you up with some fine flavors. Want to go big? Think doughnut sandwich—that is, a Dynamo Donut sandwiching a scoop of Four Barrel Coffee custard topped with burnt caramel sauce. There’s also the new s’mores bar, from their new FK Frozen Custard Bar concept, which is like a pudding pop made with their frozen custard, dipped in dark or milk chocolate, with half a Graham cracker tiled in, and a stripe of torched marshmallow fluff. Duuuuude.
Where to get it: At their Off the Grid stand on Fridays at Fort Mason; you can always track down their schedule on their website, too.

Chile Pies Baking Co.
Pie shake? Yes. Chile Pies makes all kinds of seasonal pies, and they’ll let you take your pick to get a slice blended into a milkshake. What? Crazy. It’s pure evil. Will it be their country peach pie with Three Twins snickerdoodle ice cream, or their chocolate–peanut butter pie mixed with vanilla, or maybe cherry-chocolate chunk? Then there’s lemon pie and coconut ice cream. Whatever you go for, come hungry—these shakes are not petite.
Where to get it: 601 Baker St., San Francisco, CA 94117

Little Giant Ice Cream
Park yourself on one of the brightly colored stools in the alley flanking this recently opened downtown shop and take a moment to savor a scoop of Dirty South ice cream (which you hopefully got in a house-made waffle cone) spiked with a whiskey-caramel swirl and the crunch of candied pecans. Daring types who are down with savory ice cream can check out the asparagus flavor (decidedly not for everyone). If you lean green but prefer sweet, look instead to the matcha made with coconut and almond milk ice (bonus—it’s vegan!).
Where to get it: 214 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Twirl and Dip
What started as a popular soft-serve ice cream truck–still serving in Golden Gate Park six days a week–has now expanded to a brick-and-mortar shop in Potrero. Score one of their fab sundaes called the Honeycomb Dream: vanilla bean soft-serve with chocolate sauce, coffee syrup, honeycomb candy, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and a Luxardo cherry (no candy-red canned Maraschino cherry here). Or there’s toffee crunch. Or keep it clean with the mint soft-serve in a waffle cone, and get that bad boy dipped in chocolate. And we’re not talking about that waxy stuff—this is made with TCHO chocolate, with an optional sprinkle of Maldon sea salt, which you should totally do.
Where to get it: 1717 17th St., San Francisco, CA 94103

Anyone homesick for Hawaii—or Disneyland, or both—has probably scoped out this Outer Mission spot. You can find the Disneyland classic here, a Dole Whip (basically pineapple soft-serve), and go Hawaiian by topping it with li hing mui powder (a salty plum powder), coconut shavings, or fresh pineapple. Or you can get a Dole Whip float, with guava juice, ice cream, pineapple, coconut, and mochi. You can also find shaved ice here—with Dole whip inside. If can, can! It’s a total extravaganza.
Where to get it: 296 Ocean Ave., San Francisco, CA

When visiting this Tenderloin shop, get ready to be presented with a menu of options. Fortunately there are no wrong answers, and clever names a’plenty. One place to start is the favorite Jacker Crack, with popcorn-infused ice cream with swirls of dulce de leche and crushed peanut brittle—yeah, it lives up to its name, hit it. Or say “howdy” to Pennsyl-Tucky (Derby Pie), with pieces of walnut–chocolate chip pie swirled into Bourbon ice cream. Alrighty then. Of course, Shakedown has some pretty elaborate milkshakes too, including their own little version for Orange Julius fans. Ah, memories.
Where to get it: 835 Geary St. San Francisco, CA 94109

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