Sunday, September 6, 2009

An American Original

After ascending the top of Angel Island, a hearty lunch and margaritas at Guaymas in Tiburon and a pretty ferry ride back to San Francisco, my friends and I craved dessert. Jason wanted Cara's Cupcakes but it just closed so we opted for ice cream. Unfortunately, the long line of tourists, overly-sweet smell of chocolate along with a pricey $8.25 hot fudge sundae at Ghiradelli Square prompted us to give up our killer parking spot and we headed to Swensen's Ice Cream Parlour - by far the better move.

This is the first and original location that Earle Swensen opened at the corner of Union & Hyde (a few blocks from my apartment) in 1948. Now there are over 300 Swensen's ice cream outlets worldwide churning premium ice cream "as good as (Earle's) father used to make." Sarah emerged with a hot fudge sundae and I came out with mocha fudge in a waffle cone, both for under $10.

The menu at Swensen's is traditional. It even sounds retro - Rocky Road, Cookies and Cream, Almond Praline Delight, Mocha Fudge compared to Humphrey Slocombe and Bi-Rite Creamery, who concoct innovative flavours of green tea black sesame seed, kumquat poppy and pistachio bacon. Sometimes in today's age of artisanal and gourmet, old-fashioned is a nice return.