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Get Smitten With Smitten Ice Cream in Los Altos

Fresh Mint Chip made in seconds at Smitten Ice Cream.


If you haven’t yet heard, another delicious taste of San Francisco has made its way down to the Peninsula.

That would be Smitten Ice Cream, which opened its first location outside of San Francisco in late December 2013 in the Whole Foods in Los Altos.

Four years ago founder Robyn Sue Fisher gave up a life as a biotech consultant with a Stanford MBA no less to push a Radio Flyer wagon around the streets of San Francisco, pedaling her unique ice cream.

What makes it so unusual? It’s created to order right in front of your eyes in a patented machine using liquid nitrogen. The inert gas freezes the cream mixture in a flash at a super low temperature, resulting in smaller ice crystals, and therefore a smoother ice cream.

Smitten Ice Cream became such a sensation that Fisher opened an actual storefront, crafted out of an old shipping container, in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. Now, there are plans to expand even more with a Rockridge location in the works.

I finally made it to the Los Altos locale, which can be accessed from inside Whole Foods or by a separate entrance just off the parking lot. Five flavors are offered daily, plus one seasonal one. Each flavor gets made in its own dedicated machine, too.

I paid $4.75 at the counter for a small size of the Fresh Mint Chip, then watched the machine do its magic. Billows of fog spill out of the spinning canister from the liquid nitrogen, creating a scene right out of a mad scientist’s laboratory.

The ice cream is churned in seconds, then scooped into a cup.

Order at the counter, then watch your ice cream being made.

Each flavor gets its own dedicated machine.

The show.

The first thing you notice about the Fresh Mint Chip is how fresh tasting it truly is. The mint is tingling on the palate because the flavor comes from real fresh mint leaves steeped into the ice cream base. If you’ve ever enjoyed fresh mint steeped in a tisane, that’s the taste of this ice cream. You almost feel as if you’d see your breath if you exhaled after enjoying a spoonful.

The resulting ice cream.

The next thing you notice is the texture. It is super creamy, and just the right consistency. It’s not rock-hard stiff. It’s not soft-serve melty, either. It’s just perfectly spoonable.

The next time you have to shop for groceries, why not treat yourself to some ice cream, too? After all, you’re worth it.

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