As we near the end of San Francisco's beloved Indian summer, we find our cravings for margaritas, 7-11's wild cherry Slurpees (we don't care what you say; they are delicious), and frozen desserts starting to wane. But before the warm days abandon us completely, there is one final stop to make: 100% Sweet Café for a refreshing mound of its Taiwanese shaved ice.
Also known as snow ice or xue hua bing, this increasingly popular dessert is a creamy, classed-up version of your favorite childhood snow cone. At the Outer Richmond cafe among its fantastical, neon-bright décor that resembles the cover of a Lisa Frank folder, you will find endless pages of sweet and savory options.
But flip past the iron pots and the "magic curry," past the spaghetti carbonara and the waffles, and select one of six flavors of shaved ice. For just $5.50, your heaping cup comes with three toppings (31 options that run the gamut from mangoes and watermelon to red beans and brownies) and a sauce of your choosing. We highly recommend the taro root with fresh mangoes and lychees (we later regretted not going for a third topping) and sweetened condensed milk.
Looking out the window at the dark skies settling over Clement Street, we bid adieu to summer in the city. But as we dip our spoon once more into the Styrofoam cup of purple ice, we know that we will soon be back to their weirdly-bright café. Shaved ice this good is always in season.
100% Sweet Café, 2512 Clement Street; Mon-Thu, Sun 3 p.m.-midnight, Fri-Sat 3 p.m.-1 a.m.