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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In Praise of Local Ice Cream Sandwiches

Posted By on Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge Namu's ice cream sandwich contains a lashing of Korean chili paste in the chocolate. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Namu's ice cream sandwich contains a lashing of Korean chili paste in the chocolate.
If you haven't noticed, it's been pretty darned hot outside this week, and glorious ice cream sandwich season is definitely here. We've been scarfing down many flavor-forward versions of this confectionery classic over the past few weeks, even when it was actually quite foggy outside, to delicious results. And now, we present our most vital findings.

We've learned that Namu has invented the perfect breakfast/brunch ice cream sandwich, because who doesn't need an incredibly decadent ice cream sandwich first thing on a Sunday? Theirs contains a lashing of gojuchang (Korean red chili paste) in a thick chocolate sauce, with a choice of available gelato (ours had vanilla and chocolate because we couldn't decide) that's wedged in between two hardcore soft chocolate chip cookies. It can't reasonably be picked up and eaten, but we're not mad at this sandwich in a bowl.

click to enlarge Haute ice cream sandwiches at Morimoto Napa. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Haute ice cream sandwiches at Morimoto Napa.
We've also discovered that the ice cream sandwich transcends culinary barriers, a treat you're presently as likely to see on a fine restaurant's dessert menu as in the freezer case at your corner store. Morimoto Napa currently offers a heavenly trio of mini-sandwiches plated like rare nigiri: Peanut butter ice cream with brown sugar cookies, dark chocolate with dark chocolate sesame cookies, and white chocolate ice cream with kaffir lime cookies.

In the Ferry Building, Miette has gotten into the game with a trio of temptations: Graham cracker cookies with crème fraiche ice cream, chocolate wafers with peanut butter ice cream, and chocolate wafers with chocolate malt ice cream. We've independently verified that they make a great ending to your farmers market excursions.

Of course, no conversation about local ice cream sandwiches would be complete without mentioning the uniquely San Franciscan It's-It in stores everywhere or the tributing Joe's-It at Joe's Ice Cream; call a day ahead at Joe's to order a custom flavor other than vanilla, such as Thai tea. Marianne's Ice Cream of Santa Cruz also pays fine homage to the original with much-needed flavors like strawberry; in San Francisco, they're carried at Falletti Fine Foods.

We'd say hurry before the good weather turns, but the truth is that ice cream sandwiches can handle the temperature changes gracefully, thus allowing the eater to linger slowly. Have any great local ice cream sandwich finds to share with us? We'd appreciate the tips.

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Tamara Palmer

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