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Food & Drink

Best Ice Cream 

Joe's Ice Cream

Ice cream — like burritos, pizza, and burgers — has its partisans. Some like it sweet, some like it creamy, and some like it not at all (freaks). In the sweet camp you'll find supporters of the Mission District's venerable Mitchell's, which we like well enough when we're at that end of town. But we're more firmly ensconced in the creamy camp, and for that there's no better place than Joe's Ice Cream in the Richmond District. The somewhat grungy stools-and-counter-style diner has a great back story — the owners, Mutsuhiko and Aki Murashige, bought it in 1979 and still stand behind the counter — but the front-page news is the cold stuff. In addition to banana splits, shakes, Joe's Its (homemade versions of the Its-It ice cream sandwich), chocolate-dipped bananas, frozen yogurt, sandwiches, and burgers, the Murashiges make ice cream right there in the shop in an array of flavors to make your mouth water. Beyond the traditional choices and the local favorites (pumpkin, rainbow sherbet, peanut butter chocolate), there are several mavericks, among them blueberry cheesecake (tangy), Thai iced tea (surprisingly smooth), and the shining star, green tea, a vivid and velvety concoction that makes the perfect follow-up to dim sum or sushi. Get a quart hand-packed for $8 or a half-gallon for $12 — and don't forget that Joe's takes only cash.

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