San Francisco is Mecca for the ice cream fanatic with a flair for adventure, from the avocado flavor at Mitchell's in the Mission to the infamously smelly durian frozen treat at Polly Ann's in the Sunset.
As the legend goes, sweet funk crooner Bing Ji Ling (aka Quinn Luke) was born in the back of an ice cream truck, which explains his insane dedication to the dessert. He makes ice cream a tasty focal point of his live shows; voluptuous ladies actually pass the stuff out during his vibrant performances. And his Ice Cream Band (which has included players like No Doubt's Adrian Young and Tom Dumont) is often outfitted in Good Humor ice cream truck driver uniforms.
Though a true connoisseur, Bing (who has just dropped the digital album Fire & Ice Cream, a collection of lighthearted funk jams that even includes a cover of Huey Lewis and the News' “I Want a New Drug”) is anything but elitist when it comes to ice cream, as his favorite local spots reveal. The singer's top loyalty goes to the venerable parlor Joe's Ice Cream (5351 Geary), where he shot the cover to his debut album doodle loot doot doodle a doo. “They were super cool, letting [producer] merkley??? [sic] and I parade around and act the fool,” Bing says. “They also have a killer chili cheese dog.”
You probably won't find Bing Ji Ling coughing up the bucks for gelato at Ciao Bella, but you will find him sidling up to a corner store for a pint to go. He's still partial to his old local, Golden Eagle (896 Valencia). “I frequently would pop in for a Häagen-Dazs chocolate-covered coffee ice cream bar with toffee bits,” he reminisces. “Sam is my main man.”
But the best spot for ice cream, according to this sweet mack, is a fairly private affair: “The back seat of my 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V, with a lady friend of course, in the parking lot of Baker Beach. There's nothing like watching the sun go down from this vantage point.”