Bi Rite Creamery & Bakeshop is a sweet spinoff from the nearby market.
The one-block stretch of 18th Street between Dolores and Guerrero probably features more culinary firepower than my entire L.A. neighborhood. Tartine Bakery anchors the eastern end. Delfina, Delfina Pizzeria and Bi-Rite grocery occupy the middle. Our reason for visiting the block: Bi-Rite Creamery, which was a 2006 offshoot of Sam Mogannam’s grocery. They source milk, cream and eggs from Straus Family Creamery near Pt. Reyes, meaning their core ingredients can’t get much better.
The 20-bin display case featured enticing flavors like chocolate coconut, roasted banana and balsamic strawberry.
My cup cradled scoops of brown butter pecan and oatmeal stout ice creams. Bi-Rite sourced Stout of Circumstance from nearby Magnolia brewpub to create the addictive roasted malt flavor.
Crème fraîche is a good test for ice cream, since the focus is on the cream. Bi-Rite’s version was nice and tangy, but it wasn’t as impressive as the adjacent honey lavender scoop, which was floral and intensely flavored. In general, Bi-Rite’s flavors were vivid and distinct.
Bi-Rite Creamery’s signature flavor is salted caramel, for good reason. The creamy combination is just classic. They also produce a good coffee toffee ice cream, using beans from nearby Ritual Coffee Roasters, San Francisco’s best coffeehouse. Unfortunately, there was no indication of which Ritual coffee Bi-Rite used. Ritual, like a lot of the top coffee roasters, source a steady rotation of seasonal single-origin beans. It would be fun to know which bean came into play.
We also scored a dark chocolate cookie straight from the oven, studded with bacon and only 75 cents. The hot, rich cookie was awesome with ice cream.
Bi-Rite produced my favorite San Francisco ice cream (so far). Of course, at the time of our visit, I still hadn’t been to Humphry Slocombe, which has more experimental flavors, so I wasn’t ready to crown Bi-Rite just yet.
July 26, 2009 at 11:06 PM
Make sure you get over to the East Bay for Ici as well! I would also recommend Sketch, but their doors are closing in a few days (if not already) as they move to online/catering orders only. So sad.
July 26, 2009 at 11:39 PM
I’ve heard good things about Ici and Humphry Slocombe. Those will be my next two ice cream stops in the Bay Area.