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Humphry Slocombe

June 15, 2016

Originally, after our lunch at 4505 Burgers & BBQ, it was our intention to walk down the street to Bi-Rite Market and stop at their creamery to get some ice cream. On our last trip to San Francisco, we had paid a visit to Bi-Rite Creamery and I was in love. So, I wanted some of that goodness again. However, being the day after Christmas, when we arrived at the market, there was a note at the ice cream counter that it wouldn’t be opening until later in the afternoon. Bummer! We didn’t have time to wait for it to open, so we had to move along. Luckily, I had a back up plan for ice cream! You’ve always got to plan ahead in case your ideas are foiled. There was an ice cream place inside the Ferry Building that I had read about being quite good and popular, so my husband and I decided to head down to the waterfront since we had intended to visiting the Ferry Building anyways during our trip. Might as well make the trip out there for some ice cream.


Humphry Slocombe was founded by 2 friends who decided to name their ice cream shop after 2 characters from a British sitcom from the 1970s that they are both fans of.  After opening their first stop in December of 2008, their ice cream empire has grown, and now their pre-packed pints can be found at Whole Foods Markets throughout Northern California.


When we arrived at the Ferry Building, it was apparent that my husband and I weren’t the only ones craving a little something sweet for dessert.  The popularity of Humphry Slocombe meant that there was a bit of a line to get our hands on some ice cream.  Since Humphry Slocombe makes all of our their own ice cream, sorbets and toppings in small batches, their flavors can change on a daily basis depending on the season for what’s available as well as what’s popular.  So, you never know what you’re going to get until you get to the store and read their board to tell you what flavors are in store on any given day.


And one thing that Humphry Slocombe is known for is some of their more unusual and creative flavors.  For instance, according to them, their signature ice cream flavor and most popular flavor is one they call Secret Breakfast.  It’s bourbon ice cream with cornflakes.  Bourbon and corn flakes, who would have ever thought?  On the day we visited, other flavors that were available included Tahitian V*n!ll@ which they say is intense and fragrant and uses a ridiculous amount of Tahitian Vanilla with a touch of malt.  There was also Malted Milk Chocolate which they claim is like a milk shake on a cone with a combination of 72% dark and 38% milk chocolate with a punch of malt.  What another ice cream flavor with alcohol?  Try the Guinness Gingerbread, which was fitting since this was the day after Christmas.  Made with reduced Guinness stout ice cream and gingerbread cookies folded in, this one was quite popular.  I was surprised that my husband didn’t order the Candied Ginger which was sweet ginger ice cream combined with spicy candied ginger.  How about Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple with peanut butter ice cream which has warm fudge swirled through the entire batch.  Here’s a hilarious one, the Spotted Dick with brown butter ice cream mixed with toasted brioche croutons and currants folded in.  Or there was the Maple Walnut with rich maple ice cream, plenty of walnuts and then even more maple added in.


My husband and I both decided to get our own two scoop cup of ice cream.  For me, my choices were the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee (bottom) and the POG sorbet (top).  Blue Bottle is a popular coffee roaster in the city which actually has a stand right across the hallway from Humphry Slocombe at the Ferry Building.  The popular coffee beans are used to make Vietnamese coffee with chicory root and condensed milk.  This particular ice cream flavor has been on the menu since the day Humphry Slocombe opened with their shop in the Mission District.  The POG sorbet is an homage to a very popular and tasty Hawaiian soft drink where POG stands for passion fruit, orange and guava, the tropical fruits found on the islands.  This ice cream is billed as vacation in a cup.  The POG sorbet absolutely tasted like POG right out of a can.  It was fizzy and sweet and had all of the flavors of POG that remind me of Hawaii.  While this was probably tastier as a drink rather than a sorbet, it’s probably one of the more creative sorbet/ice cream flavors I’ve ever seen.  For me, the Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee ice cream was the true winner from my choices.  I’m a huge fan of coffee ice cream and I love Vietnamese coffee, and this ice cream had all of the wonderful and strong flavors of Vietnamese coffee.  There was sweetness from the condensed milk and great creaminess in the ice cream. But the flavor of the coffee was rich and wonderful and honestly, the best Vietnamese coffee ice cream I’ve ever hard.  I understand why this flavor has been on the menu since day one, and for me, this would be a signature flavor for Humphry Slocombe.


My husband two scoops of ice cream were the Adzuki Dr. Pepper and the Christmas Story.  Adzuki is a red bean commonly found in East Asian and the Himalayas.  The adzuki beans were swirled into the ice cream with Dr. Pepper caramel.  My husband enjoyed the red beans in his ice cream as they added subtle texture and flavor, but he expected much more out of the Dr. Pepper caramel.  He said he could taste the fizziness or carbonation from the Dr. Pepper, but he didn’t really get any of the Dr. Pepper flavor at all, which he was disappointed about.  In his mind, the ice cream shouldn’t be billed with Dr. Pepper in the name if the Dr. Pepper is indistinguishable in taste and flavor within the ice cream itself.  So, while the ice cream was delicious, it just didn’t live up to the billing for which he ordered it for.  Since it was Christmas time, my husband decided to get a scoop of the Christmas Story, even though he didn’t quite know what was in the ice cream.  Christmas story was made with house-made peppermint bark & sugar cookies in V*n!ll@ ice cream and was created to celebrate the opening of the musical A Christmas Story in San Francisco. My husband enjoyed the Christmas Story ice cream, at least better than the Adzuki Dr. Pepper.  The sugar cookies were soft and gave the ice cream a feel of being a cookie dough ice cream and the peppermint flavor of the peppermint bark added the minty touch that my husband enjoyed.  So of the two ice cream flavors, the Christmas Story was, by far, his preferred flavor.

While Humphry Slocombe wasn’t our original choice for ice cream for dessert that afternoon, it was still pretty good.  The flavors offered were different and unusual enough to be intriguing.  Though, as proven by my husband, some of the flavors didn’t quite live up to their billing.  But, in the end, ice cream is ice cream, and generally, its hard to find bad ice cream.  I think we both walked away being satisfied with what we ordered, but also agreeing that our original ice cream choice was a preferred selection to Humphry Slocombe.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 30, 2017 9:51 am

    Fun to read about this again after we went there! Greg had the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee and he LOVED it. I had the Secret Breakfast and the Harvey Milk, which was Graham crackers in Honey with Vanilla and I honestly could not decide which I liked more. They were super good! I didn’t really like Greg’s that much, though, to tell the truth, and I was really glad I’d ordered what I had and not what he had!! It was fun to go there and I would go back.

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