Most of you know by now that ice cream is my favorite food group. Well, tied with peanut butter, of course. I literally crave it all year round and on most birthdays choose ice cream cake or ice cream pie over any other dessert. Okay, in addition to other desserts.
The thing is, being a volume eater, I choose frozen yogurt or slow churned versions most days of the year. You know I only believe in eating calories that are absolutely worth it, so I have a hard time setting aside over 300 calories for a tiny half cup portion of typical premium ice cream. But show me an ice cream that is as flavorful, creamy and unbelievably delicious as that at Bi-Rite and any thoughts of calories are completely out the window. I don’t know the nutrition information for their ice cream but frankly, I really don’t care. Their ice cream is for complete unadulterated pleasure.
When we booked our trip to Napa, we didn’t make any plans until last minute. The exception, however, was that we knew we would be stopping for ice cream at my favorite place in the world (okay, maybe one of my top 10 favorite places). Even my husband who isn’t as ice cream obsessed as I am thought that was mandatory.
You see, we had visited Bi-Rite three years before on a trip to San Francisco when all of our friends who had lived there said it was a must-try. When I was back in San Francisco in the fall for the Foodbuzz festival, Joanne and I walked six or so miles from brunch to have ice cream for lunch (normal?). The amazing thing is that after hyping up Bi-Rite in my head and to everyone else over the last three years, the ice cream STILL exceeded my expectations.
Maybe it is that they start with real ingredients (ahem, roasted banana ice cream that TASTES like bananas, not some artificial banana flavor). Maybe it is that they use local dairy. Or maybe it is that they stick huge chunks of snickerdoodles into their ice cream (that is the ricanelas). All I know is, I’ve tasted many flavors (they let you sample as many as you want!) and every.single.one. was delicious.
On this visit, I had Malted Vanilla with Peanut Brittle and Milk Chocolate Pieces, Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl, and Ricanelas. We may or may not have detoured there on our way to the Oakland airport (I told you I love that place)… and on that visit I got Coffee Toffee, Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl (I had to get it again) and Roasted Banana.
Matt’s picks were Balsamic Strawberry, Salted Caramel and Cookies n Cream topped with hot fudge… smart man!
Eating ice cream this good is the only way I’ll pose for a photo after an early morning flight to San Fran. Hello airplane look.
Did I mention the to-go containers? I had to use every ounce of my will power not to take those with me for the plane ride. They even have ice cream cakes that sound like heaven. Now if you can figure out a way to get one of those to me on the east coast for my birthday in a couple of weeks, I will shower you with cookies forever. I don’t make false promises.