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Monday, June 15, 2015

Shakedown Treat: The TL Gets Some Fancy Ice Cream

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge Basil mint chip - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Basil mint chip

Even if there’s nothing shaking on Shakedown Street, there’s something spinning at ShakeDown Ice Cream, now bringing creative frozen desserts in the Bi-Rite/Humphry Slocombe idiom to the Tenderloin.

There are a lot of flavors here, although only ten in the display freezer at any given moment, which is two fewer than many artisanal places. Some are simple (toasted coconut, French roast coffee), but there’s no end to how elaborate they become (jasmine nectarine, and “Squatch Tracks,” a Ben-and-Jerry’s-ish mix of vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls and mini-chocolate-covered peanut butter candies).

Because of extraction process used to suck the jazz out of the beans, that coffee ice cream is nearly the color of standard vanilla. So just to add grace notes, and possibly to avoid the visual dullness of having a freezer that’s full of beiges and browns, there is a “pink vanilla,” made with a dash of beet juice for color, and the mint stracciatella has ribbons of melted chocolate.

click to enlarge PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
Since this is the world that Secret Breakfast built, there’s a borderline-obligatory “Cinnamon Toast Brunch,” too. Elsewhere in one-step-from-a-trademark-violation territory, there’s a deliciously salty “Jacker Crack,” a popcorn-infused ice cream with dulce de leche swirls and crushed peanut brittle. (The name is also an ode to the TL’s lively street scene; take that as you will.) And ShakeDown just went ahead and put an Orange Julius shake on their menu, because that company is probably defunct by now, anyway, so who's going to stop them? FWIW, there are several shakes and sundaes, along with sorbets.

But the best cultural reference was to Orange is the New Black: Pennsyl-tucky. It’s a derby pie variation made with bourbon ice cream and a walnut chocolate chip pie swirl. I got it topped with basil mint chip (far more mint than basil in there), a pretty solid bet for $4.50 and you don’t have to deal with a demented meth head who talks to Jesus in the prison laundry.

If you want go ape with the flavor of the week, the Chef Curry Sundae ($9) almost gets entirely out of hand. With Thai tea ice cream, turmeric marshmallow fluff, gold-dusted chocolate sprinkles, toasted coconut, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce, you know this is no Foster’s Freeze. We have a lot of summer left, including the real summer that comes after our frigid months, so the judging has only begun, but at first glance it appears ShakeDown is easily in the company of its established peers.

ShakeDown Ice Cream, 835 Geary, 415-374-7523.
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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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