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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hometown Creamery Goes to Great Lengths for Its Ice Cream

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

There is no question that the Castro has too many cafes, or that Russian Hill has too much beige, but San Francisco can probably never have too much ice cream. With a couple of exceptions, artisanal dairy desserts have clung to the precincts each of Twin Peaks, but the Inner Sunset’s ever-denser foodie corridor now has its own: the fraternally run Hometown Creamery, on Ninth Avenue at Irving.

click to enlarge PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

That’s “fraternally” as in “brothers,” not as in, you know, TKE. And while they’ve largely stuck to the hipster ice cream script — vanilla can’t ever be ordinary vanilla; it has to be [Tropical Island Nation X] Vanilla — there are a lot of imaginative touches, like ice cream sandwiches for $6.50 and a number of loose-leaf teas. One the day I visited, Hometown had classics like mint chip and tiramisu alongside more original flavors such as strawberry balsamic, honey lemon rosemary, and sandia alegria — a watermelon-raspberry Italian ice. And, in a bout of civic-minded recycling, cone crumble toppings (which would otherwise go to waste) are free.

The prices are right, too. A “smidge” goes for only $2.95, and while the sizes run through single, double, and triple, there’s also a flight for $11.95. (SFoodie takes the hardline position that all flights are inherently good.) The wooden rafters supporting Hometown’s ceiling betray the space’s past as a sushi restaurant called Hotei, but in between the beams, they’ve installed artsy tributes to a bunch of neighborhoods. (Hence, “Hometown.”)

Everything Hometown produces is made on-site. That sounds pretty banal, but it means they make their own ice cream base. As someone who made ice cream before, let me state categorically that this is impressive. (To be perfectly honest, I wonder if they’ll be able to do that forever.) Virtually everyone — from Bi-Rite to Humphry Slocombe to Smitten — uses Straus Dairy for the base because it’s organic, it’s local, and it saves a lot of time. I doubt most people will be able to tell the difference, but we'll always give two thumbs up to any labor of love.

Hometown Creamery
, 1290 Ninth Ave., 415-682-4977.

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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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