I Scream, You Scream: sampling the best ice cream in the Bay Area

by Semira Arora (’25) | April 8, 2022

Art by Marisea Fisher (’24)

There is nothing better than a bowl of cold, silky, and delicious ice cream on a hot summer day. With the weather warming up, I thought now would be the perfect time to find my favorite ice cream store for the summer. I decided to test three different ice cream chains which I felt were unique: Salt & Straw, Smitten, and Icicles. I evaluated them based on flavor, texture, originality, ambiance, and price; it is safe to say that I found my favorite ice cream. 

I first tried out Smitten Ice Cream in Santana Row, which was $5.75 for a small cup. Smitten is special because it uses nitrogen for the smoothest frozen ice cream. To experience the creativity of the flavors, I tried one of Smitten’s seasonal flavors: banana. I was expecting very mediocre ice cream, but to my surprise, the taste was very refreshing for the sweetness of a banana. While I was expecting a stronger artificial flavor, Smitten surprised me with a naturally sweetened dessert with a silky texture. 

I then tried ice cream from Icicles, located in Downtown Mountain View. This ice cream was the most expensive; I had a one-size only cup, costing $11.95. Icicles’s uniqueness stems from how they make fresh rolled ice cream in front of you, inspired by the owner’s visit to Thailand. Icicles uses a cooling ice pan to roll cream into a dessert roll. I selected the Strawberry Fantasy flavor out of the twenty options: fresh strawberries mixed with graham crackers in a custard base. The flavor was delicious, and initially the texture was as well. The individual layers of the rolls were thin and pleasing to eat, until the ice cream began to melt. Shortly, my ice cream became globby, and the texture was extremely disappointing. However, the atmosphere of the store was generally appealing with its chalkboard menu, and it was fun to see the ice cream being made in front of me. 

Lastly, I ate ice cream from Salt & Straw in Downtown Palo Alto. I had a single scoop costing $5.75. Salt & Straw specializes in creating unique ice cream flavors every month alongside a fixed menu of flavors. I tasted the honey lavender flavor, which was a beautiful pastel purple color. The ice cream was unlike anything I’ve tasted before. The distinctive combination of the honey and lavender created a flavor that had the perfect amount of sweetness and freshness. The texture was very creamy; however it was not as smooth as the ice cream from Smitten. The ambiance of the store was charming, with merchandise displayed on the sides and posters of different ice cream flavors, and bonus ice cream puns! 

After sampling out many different ice cream places, I think I am most likely to return to Salt & Straw due to its ready-made original flavors, texture of its ice cream and its welcoming ambience at a relatively decent price considering the size of a single scoop. 

Categories: Food

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