For a fleeting moment, standing on the corner of Lexington and 20th streets, I’m overcome with the thought that perhaps warm, rain-free San Francisco days aren’t found only in my dreams.
The sun is shining in that magnetic Mission way, and I’m about to eat two scoops of ice cream from Garden Creamery, a newly opened ice cream and sorbet shop that joins the artisanal ranks of Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, Bi-Rite, and Humphry Slocombe. While Garden Creamery is not yet two months old, it’s far from the new kid on the ice block.
Oahu native Erin Lang started the company in 2010 with a vegan line of products, adding organic ice cream shortly thereafter. She and her partner, Donny Capozzi, sold everything out of a small trailer until they upgraded to a food truck in 2012. (Off the Grid attendees will likely remember their vibrant, watermelon-hued truck parked at Thursday night’s Twilight.)
After a two-year process — one year to find the space and another to complete construction — they opened the doors on Jan. 8. While their truck’s much-loved classics — cookies and cream, fresh mint chip — remain, a brick-and-mortar has allowed Lang to experiment with what she considers more exciting island flavors such as guabanero (a sweet-and-spicy mix of guava and habanero pepper), banana lilikoi, and black sesame.
Of the 21 rotating flavors available daily, Lang makes her ice creams with Straus organic dairy and ingredients from the farmer’s market, and her sorbet and vegan ice creams are coconut-based and sweetened with agave nectar. The shop also offers brownie sundaes, semifreddo pops — and, from 2 to 4 p.m. every Saturday, sweet seekers can have their scoops served in a chimney cone, a yeasted Hungarian cake that is proofed three times, wrapped around a cylinder, and baked. The hollow, slightly chewy result is a caramelized variation on the traditional cone. Because of the labor involved and the shop’s slim staff, these untraditional ice cream vessels are in very limited supply.
Lane confessed that opening in a (very) wet winter was not the easiest thing to do, but the steady stream of people has quickly proved that ice cream this good never goes out of season.
Garden Creamery, 3566 20th St., no phone, gardencreamery.com.