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High-Tech Ice Cream in San Francisco (Smitten!)

When I was a kid back in the 80's, I blew a week's allowance on the "high-tech" ice cream of the day: freeze-dried ice-cream (just like the astronaut's eat!) at our local science center. Turns out, freeze-dried ice cream is something you really only need to try once, unless you're trapped in space and don't have a lot of options.  But real, fresh, creamy ice cream...

This weeked I was pleased to discover that Smitten in San Francisco is taking a new high-tech approach to their artisinal ice cream. As seen in the picture, they freeze each scoop of creamy delicious ice cream "fresh" using dry ice!  You can see the dry-ice "fog" coming off the machine.

Now, this isn't a totally new idea - I've been to a couple geek parties where dry-ice ice cream was made on-the-spot for fun. But entrepreneur Robyn Sue's the first one I know to perfect this technology and try it commercially.

And it's really really good.  It's creamier than other ice creams, as there's no risk of nasty ice-crystals that form if ice cream is exposed to hot air too many times.  But it's not quite as dense as other artisinal handmade ice creams like Molly Moon's in Seattle. Because they only have 3 of these newly-designed machines, they limit your choice to just 3 flavors,  but the flavors were incredible (I've never tasted mint ice cream that tasted so much like fresh spearmint) and they've got a fun range of 50-cent toppings.

Smitten is in Hayes Valley right around the corner from the San Francisco Opera, the Symphony and the SF Jazz Center, so you can take a peek at what a dry-ice instant ice-cream maker looks like in person before the show: walk up Hayes to Octavia, turn left and it's on the other-side of the weird filigree statue (for more formal directions, try Google maps!).

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