Once upon a time, I used to make ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, whose much-anticipated second location is up and running in the Ferry Building, replacing an unremarkable gelato place and opening itself up to a whole slew of stupefied customers who just wanted regular chocolate without all that weirdness.
It was a very challenging job, especially as the summer of 2010 was a period of enormous growth, during which time the New York Times magazine profiled chef-owner Jake Godby and the queue routinely ran for 45 minutes on warm weekend afternoons. We were always operating at 110 percent of capacity, and the constant anxiety over watching twelve flavors dwindle down to ten and then eight while tomorrow's ice cream was still setting in the blast freezer gave me nightmares and a gross, persistent rash on my wrist. It was my only serious foray into a commercial kitchen, and I think I made Secret Breakfast 200 times in six months.
So I sympathize with the travails of getting this one open, and I'm glad the "Lickstarter" campaign was successful. H.S. is as good as ever, and Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt (which is easy to get wrong) remains my all-time favorite. I paired it with a newish one, Salted Caramel Cocoa Nib, and while hardly a stroke of genius on my part, they are delicious together. (A note for the adventurous: the McEvoy Olive Oil ice cream is made with a lot of citrus zest, and plays nicely with a lot of other flavors, if you're willing to take a risk).
Overall, the Ferry Building kiosk is pretty cute, although it lacks seats. Even though the original had been open for over five years before number two opened, an urge to carpet America from coast-to-coast is palpable: the cookbook's been out for a couple years, an explanatory blurb throws some light on the cryptic and un-Google-able name, and the taxidermied two-headed calf has been transmuted into a graphic. The branding is obviously working, as partnerships with Project Open Hand and Cirque du Soleil to create unique flavors have now snagged the likes of Virgin America.
Just to avoid sounding like I'm giving my former employers a tongue bath, I'll admit that I always hated Jesus Juice, the saccharine and unholy mixture of Coke and red wine inspired by a popular beverage in Spain and also Michael Jackson's alleged recipe for luring children to bed. (It is a clever name, though). One thing I'd love to see more of is After School Special, a fantastic mix of vanilla ice cream, chocolate-covered potato chips and a caramel swirl. It was originally promised exclusively to Spork, but that restaurant shuttered in 2012. Bring it back into the regular rotation, Jake and Sean!
Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream, in the Ferry Building, 550-6971