Ornamented with electrically vibrant candied fruits, plump brown raisins, and crunchy golden almonds, Mitchell's spumoni ice cream (available from November to January) looks like the artificial pink Christmas tree that graced our college dorm lounge. It tastes like Christmas too, like the one fruitcake each year that you actually really like. Throw out your preconceived notion of spumoni, the frostbitten, sticky-sweet afterthought to a meal at some old-school temple of red sauce, this is Mitchell's we're talking about. Though the base flavor is listed as "Italian," we taste a balanced blend of cherry liqueur and a little rum, accented with mellow hits of chocolate and the mix-and-match textures of fruits and nuts. Assistant manager and ice cream maker Marlon Payumo confirmed the chocolate part, but like a parent trying to keep the myth of Santa Claus alive for an all-too-knowing tween, wouldn't tell us more, revealing only with a wink and a smile that he uses something called "spumoni extract." Whatever Payumo's secret is, he makes our favorite Christmas ice cream. Get it soon, since after January it's back to buko.
Mitchell's Ice Cream: 688 San Jose (at 29th St.), 648-2300.