Of Gourmet Ice Cream, Nuts and Sandwiches
Ici Ice Cream Opens Second Berkeley Location
Bay Area fans of Ici Ice Cream — and there are legions — are rejoicing that this artisan shop has just opened a second location in Berkeley.
That means twice the opportunities to get your fix of Honey-Vanilla-Black-Tea, Chocolate-Chocolate Almond Toffee, Pink Peppermint, Honey Lavender-Pistachio, and other fabulous flavors of ice cream and sorbets.
Mary Canales, who spent nine years as the pastry chef of Chez Panisse, founded her original shop 11 years ago on College Avenue in the Elmwood neighborhood. The second shop opened last week in downtown Berkeley.
Since the beginning, Ici has churned organic and sustainable ingredients in its ice creams. They’re made in small batches to ensure freshness.
Everything will continue to be made at the College Avenue location, then transported to the downtown shop. Both places sell scoops, pints, cakes and confections, including seasonal cakes, ice cream bombes, ice cream sandwiches, bon-bons and candies.
It’s a perfect place to stop after a dinner of paella at Oakland’s Duende, owned by Mary’s husband, Paul Canales. Hey, just sayin’.
New Heirloom Reserve Nuts
Just in time for your holiday baking needs, Diamond of California has released a new line of Heirloom Reserve walnuts, pecans and Marcona almonds.
The century-old producer of nuts is highlighting varietals that have been passed down for generations.
I had a chance to try samples of each. What’s really noticeable is the natural sweetness of the nuts. The pecans, which are smaller than usual, has a finish that really makes you think of maple syrup. The Marconas are soft and delicate tasting. The quite crisp walnuts start off ever so tannic, then give way to pure butteriness.
The heirlooms come in 7-ounce bags that sell for $3.99 for the walnuts, 5.99 for the pecans, and $5.99 for the Marcona almonds. They are available at local grocery stores and on Amazon.
Mendocino Farms Opens Its First Bay Area Outpost
Husband and wife owners, Mario del Pero (who grew up north of Sacramento) and Ellen Chen (who grew up in the East Bay) now have 17 locations with more on the way. In fact, watch for Mendocino Farms to open up in San Jose, San Francisco and San Mateo in 2018.
The family-friendly cafe offers a range of thoughtful sandwiches, including “Steak BLT on Pretzel Bun” ($12.45) with applewood bacon, roasted tomatoes, and herb aioli; “Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi” ($11.45) with house-made pickled daikon and carrots; and “The Rescued Vegetable Burger” ($11.95) with a patty made with veggie pulp leftover from pressed juice.
There are also salads such as “The Modern Caesar 2.0” ($10.25) made with kale and butter lettuce in addition to the traditional romaine, as well as avocado, grape tomatoes and house-made “krunchies” (fried quinoa, millet, heirloom red rice and nutritional yeast).