Will someone do us poor Palo Altans a favor, please, and launch what I see as the city's most-needed startup -- a truly serious ice-cream store?
It's both embarrassing and annoying to those of us who stray occasionally to the North and East that, while other Bay Area cities are blessed by the attentions of an exciting new generation of ice cream entrepreneurs, all we get is yogurt, yogurt, and ever more yogurt.
Yes, Fraiche is great. I also really like Culture, but as places to get excited about, these joints are junior league.
Last week I was in Berkeley, home to several outstanding nouveaux creameries. Take Ici, founded by the former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, where I tried the Persimmon Brandied Current and the Spiced Apple Cider Sherbert but came down in favor of the Creme Fraiche Hazelnut Praline.
Just down the road is Tara's Organic, where the joke is that every other flavor is basil. Even if that were actually true (which it almost was last time I visited the excellent Sketch on Berkeley's 4th Street), that would be a whole lot more interesting than the flavors our local yogurt emporia (Pumpkin Spice at Halloween, who'd have thought?!) are able to come up with.
I'm not even asking for crazy flavors -- I can believe the Valley's not yet ready for Humphrey Slocombe's Mission district Boccalone proscuitto, balsamic caramel or hibiscus beet ice creams.
But just something as old fashioned and unimprovably awesome as the unrivaled Fairfax Scoop would do. This place has been doing the small batch, organic ingredient, classic-but-still-interesting flavor combination thing since 2001 and I think people are generally right when they say (as a great many who go there do) that it's simply the best ice cream store in the world.
I'm not asking for anything new. We can do better than Fraiche and Culture and even, bless them, Rick's Rather Rich, that's all.
So VC's, get a lease on University, find a pastry chef, throw money at said chef. I tell you, it'll be bigger than Google (at least to me and my kids).