The Ice Cream Bar


Here are some scenes from my new favorite spot on Cole street: The Ice Cream Bar and Soda Fountain.
I was really excited to see this place finally open its doors. From what I’ve learned, it took the owner Juliet Pries about two years to gather and process all the necessary permits to transform a former grocery store into the ice cream shop.
But, it was well worth it!!! I was immediately smitten with art deco styled interior, retro dressed staff , tasty homemade ice cream and absolutely fascinated with their made to order sodas, crushes and lactarts. Our soda jerks shared all kinds of interesting information about history of soda fountains and ingredients they use to achieve specific textures or flavors. Some of my favorites include: the Classic Cherry Phosphate, Breakfast
Soda and old-fashioned malted butterscotch milkshake called “Too Good To Be True”.
I was so enthralled by the whole experience, that it inspired me to do some research on “mysterious” ingredients like acid phosphate, lactic acid, history of seltzer water and flavored sodas.
You can read all about it at the Art of Drink by Darcy O’Neil, and remember to stop by The Ice Cream Bar.

City Wanderings: Bi-rite Creamery

ever since my good friend Sarah wrote an article for the SF Bay Guardian about explosion of small, homemade ice cream shops in San Francisco, I vowed to myself to visit every one of them, to find out which one was best, the most decadent. The list of six different shops, with detailed descriptions of their most popular flavors was supposed to ease this “difficult” task. Mexican Chocolate from Mitchell’s, Saffron Ginger from Xanath, or Goat Cheese  from Holy Gelato – all sounded enticing, but I had my heart set on Bi- Rite’s Salted Caramel, which has been one of my long time favorite flavors. Plus, I really wanted to see what the whole hype was about, and why there always seem to be so many people waiting patiently in line, just to get their ice cream.
As it turned out, the Salted Caramel  lived up to its tasty reputation and paired really well with some other amazing flavors they had to offer. I  especially liked  it combined with white chocolate-blackberry swirl  and ricanelas, which is (oh, my!) cinnamon with snickerdoodles. So, when few weeks ago M. and I found ourselves eating Bi-Rite’s ice cream in the rain, under the palm tree, we knew we were in trouble. We had become “those” people! Addicted to creamy, sweet, salty goodness.
For months Bi-Rite Creamery kept me from moving down on Sarah’s list, but promise is a promise, so Humphry Slocombe, you better stock up on your Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee flavor, because you’re next!

their soft serve window offers different flavor each day.

not in a mood for ice cream? try their freshly baked cookies and fancy sodas.

for more info on Bi-Rite Creamery head over to their website.
you can read Sarah’s article here.

Fall Smoothies, And Where Should We Go?

M and I are in the middle of planing our little fall getaway. We’re trying to decide whether we should just go north: Inverness, Bolinas, Point Reyes in search of delicious oysters and gorgeous views, or go down south, looking for warmer weather, and finally organize our fall picnic, we’ve been talking so much about. We usually hate planning, we just hop into the car and get on the road, but this time our getaway will be very short, so any ideas???

In the mean time, we’ve been also playing around with smoothies, a lot. Since our CSA boxes have been overflowing with apples, pears, carrots and oranges, more than we could ever eat, we decided to give our healthy summer sippers a little seasonal update.
So here are our three favorite recipes: carrot-apple for our nagging sweet tooth, spicy pear-orange for heat and energy, and heart healthy pomegranate-orange smoothie.

 

 

Carrot-apple smoothie is my healthy sugar fix. I usually use 2 small purple carrots, 1 apple, plum and freshly squeezed orange juice or cantaloupe, if available. Blend everything with plenty of ice until smooth. And, if I still want some extra fiber I also add flax seed.

 

 

Spicy pear-orange smoothie is my pick-me-up concoction. I mix pear with freshly squeezed orange juice and spice things up with a Thai pepper. I usually just use half of it, as it has a really strong “kick” to it. Blend everything with ice and enjoy it’s fiery flavor.

And just in case you missed it, here is the fall smoothie #1, pomegranate-orange:

 

enjoy!

Coffee Cognac Cooler

I know, this is not exactly a fall recipe, but if you live in the City, you know, we’re nowhere near spiced pumpkin muffins, hot apple ciders or heartwarming soups, yet. While most of you are putting cute fall sweaters on, we’re finally getting our chance to wear sandals, summer dresses and enjoy the heat. So, when few days ago, I found myself slurping melted ice cream out of my coffee cup for breakfast, I suddenly remembered there was a coffee cooler recipe, I’d been wanting to try all summer, just couldn’t find a perfect evening to match it. This is very elegant and decadent dessert drink, with lots of great flavors and textures. Very easy to make and so impressive, a perfect “sweet ending”.

ingredients recipe by Stuart Walton from “The Ultimate Book of Cocktails
8oz strong dark-roast coffee, chilled
3oz cognac
2oz coffee liquer
2oz heavy cream
2 scoops coffee flavored ice cream

directions
Blend all the ingredients except the ice cream, with plenty of ice. Divide between two tall glasses and top it off with scoop of ice cream. Garnish with chocolate shaving and serve with a spoon.

enjoy!

Welcome Autumn

Fall is finally here, and I couldn’t be happier. I know it means, that winter is just around the corner, but if you live or ever been to San Francisco, you will know, it’s the time, when we get to enjoy our summer. We still get all the bounty of the harvest season and long awaited, gorgeous, warm weather. Life is beautiful and it makes me want to drag all of my friends to a fall picnic, eat lots of apples, pears and pomegranates. Indulge on sweetness of dates,figs and persimmons. Photograph even more, listen to Kate Bush. Take long strolls around the city and stop by any cafe, that has patio seating.
So, what are you doing this first fall weekend? Are you going to celebrate the season? Are you cooking anything special, making your fall-to-do list???

There is lots of yoga on my list, and as a reward some delicious smoothies.
I’m leaving you for the weekend with this pomegranate-orange smoothie recipe, it’s so easy to make and it couldn’t be more nutritious. Did you know that pomegranates are packed with fiber, vitamin C and lots of antioxidants? They are so good for your heart. Their season is just starting now, so head over to the farmers’ market this Saturday.

To prepare Pomegranate-Orange smoothie you will need:
*seeds of 4 pomegranates, free of any yellow pith, it has really bitter taste, click here for instructions
*freshly squeezed juice of one orange
*blender
Process pomegranate seeds with orange juice and some ice in the blender until smooth. Divide between two glasses and enjoy!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Banana Pecan Engagement Muffins

I’m sure your hear stories of someone getting engaged over muffins every day.
And you patiently sit there and listen to her describing: how it was typical San Francisco’s cold and foggy morning, and how she missed her trip to the farmers’ market, and how she needed some comforting, so she put two pairs of socks and thick sweats on, and how she decided to make their favorite breakfast: banana-pecan muffins, and how he was making coffee, and how she was mixing and toasting and mashing, and how he was suspiciously weird and nervous that morning, and how she was reaching for a baking powder and grabbed some tiny box instead…
and you can only imagine what happened next…pecans got toasted to a carbon black, the dough got over-mixed and muffins turned out dense and over-baked, but… delicious, best she’d ever had!
And you still sit there with a big smile on your face wondering…if there are any muffins left???
So, I’ll spare you all the sappy details and just share this delicious recipe instead.

Banana Pecan Muffins
adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini blog

1 C sugar
1 egg
1/2 C unsalted butter
2 large ripe bananas
1/4 C milk
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1Tbsp vanilla extract
1 C pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 360F, and grease muffin pan or line them with baking cups.

In a large mixing-bowl or in a food processor, cream together the sugar, the egg, vanilla extract and butter. In a small bowl, mash together bananas with milk. In another separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three parts, alternating with banana-milk mixture in two parts, stirring with spatula until just combined (don’t overmix or your muffins will be a little dense). Stir in the pecans.

Pour the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins are nicely golden-brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer onto a rack.

They taste delicious with whipped butter, lemon curd or honey.

Herbed Goat Cheese Tart With Roasted Beets

How was your weekend? Were you fighting off the heat wave, enjoying almost-here-summer days, picnicking or hiking??? I did some of these things plus trip to the farmers market and some good cooking. I had this herbed goat cheese tart on my mind for quite some time now, was just waiting for a perfect summer weather as an excuse to make it…..just in case a  picnic dish was needed. It’s made with marinated roasted beets, whole wheat pastry flour, fresh herbs, goat and ricotta cheese, delicious. Perfect for a picnic at the park or day at the beach.

marinated roasted beets

  • 2 golden beets
  • 2 small red beets
  • 1 small Albina Vereduna, white variety (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2Tbs sherry vinegar
  • sea salt, fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme

for the pastry

  • 1cup whole wheat pastry flour and
  • 1 1/2 all- purpose flour or if you prefer use 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

for the filling

  • 10 ounces soft mild goat cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano

for garnish
fresh chopped herbs, baby arugula
fresh ground pepper, sea salt

directions

To roast the beets wrap them in aluminum foil, place on the baking sheet and bake for about 30-40 min in 425F oven, wait until cool enough to handle and use paper towels to slip the skins off. Slice thinly  and place red and golden beets in two separate bowls. Mix olive oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme salt and pepper, pour over each bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In the mean time mix all of the ingredients for the pastry dough until smooth, flatten into a disc, wrap and refrigerate until ready to use ( at least 30 min).
In the food processor blend all the ingredients for the filling, until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/8-inch-thick rectangular shape( if you’re using this kind of pan) . Roll the dough around the rolling pin, and lift it over a tart pan with a removable bottom( I used 10.5×7.5). Line the pan with the dough, pressing it into the corners.You’ll most likely use only 2/3 of prepared dough. Prick dough all over with a fork. Transfer to  refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Bake for 10-15 min on the middle rack. Remove from oven, add the feeling and bake on the middle rack for another 30 min. Remove from oven, arrange the beets on top, garnish with chopped thyme, oregano and baby arugula, drizzle with some oil and vinegar mixture saved from marinating beets. Tastes great with mixed greens salad and sauvignon blanc wine.