My husband and I decided to break from our usual Friday routine (take-out sushi and a movie on our couch) and had a real date night out in the Mission district last week. After a great dinner at Flour+Water and a show (one of my husband’s co-workers was playing in a piano recital), we capped off the night with a stop at local scoop shop, Garden Creamery.
This place is hopping on a Friday night. The crowd is an eclectic mix of hip parents with their babies, tech geeks, gritty Mission locals, and slightly tipsy 20-somethings taking a break from Friday night at the bar. Open until 11pm, this is a perfect stop for the post-bar crowd, and I would guess it gets a bit rowdy later in the evening. Even at about 9pm, the line trails out the door, and by the time we leave it has tripled in size and snakes around the corner and up the block.
Once you get inside and get a glimpse of the ice cream selection you will see the flavors are as wild an assortment as the crowd. It is a shocking technicolor display of bizarre concoctions with names like Jalepano & Lime, Sudaxhi Cilantro, and Matcha Gold.
I sample several, including the Black Sesame (strong!), Strawberry Ume (a bit sour thanks to the salted plumbs), and the Mango Sticky Rice (super fruity). I settle on the two most fall-season appropriate (and potentially safest) choices: Roasted Pumpkin and Trick or Treat.
The Roasted Pumpkin was true to its name, with a strong pumpkin flavor and hints of light spice. It is super creamy. The Trick or Treat is vanilla ice cream studded with a random assortment of Halloween candy, including peanut butter cups, peanut M&Ms, and a caramel filled candy of some kind. The vanilla is also nice and creamy. The candy-to-ice cream ratio is just right; not too much, not too little. The two flavors stacked together in a homemade waffle cone makes for a great fall-inspired treat.
Everything is made in house in small batches and with ingredients sourced from local suppliers and farmers markets. Overall, the flavors are bold and the ice cream is consistently rich, creamy and well-balanced. A true diamond in the rough, this shop is definitely worth a repeat visit!
Total score: 4.6 scoops