Here’s my dirty little secret: I go for ice cream after eating Asian, or, as happened last night, vegetarian. The most convenient spot always turns out to be the Bi-Rite Creamery soft serve window because there is never a line. I park on the corner illegally, turn on the hazard lights, and run to the window for a cone.
Frankly, I love soft serve, especially when it is made from Straus organic milk. So creamy and light, it tastes like freshly made ice cream because in essence, it is, extruded from a machine right before you eat it. The sine qua non of soft serve is vanilla. The subtle orchidaceous perfume underscores the dairy. Vanilla soft serve satisfies by itself or works as the base for a little hot fudge or caramel sundae with nuts.
However, the Bi-Rite soft serve window only makes two flavors a day and last night they were MALTED vanilla and chocolate. Soft serve chocolate strikes me as insipid, and malt absolutely ruins any ice cream, as far as I’m concerned. Out of desperation, I went for it anyway in the daily featured Aloha sundae ($5), with cooked, not fresh, berry compote and macadamia nuts. A disaster.
If Bi-Rite creamery wants to make MALTED vanilla as one of their nightly flavors, then the other should be plain vanilla. Undoctored vanilla must be available at any soft serve window all the time, especially when it is as lovely as the vanilla at Bi-Rite.
3692 18th Street (at Dolores), San Francisco
415 626-5600; www.biritecreamery.com