Of Gourmet Ice Cream, Nuts and Sandwiches

A tower of ice cream sandwiches at Ici Ice Cream. (photo by Tory Putnam)

A tower of ice cream sandwiches at Ici Ice Cream. (photo by Tory Putnam)

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.

A special treat just for this time of year: Ici's Bouche de Noel. (photo by Tory Putnam)

A special treat just for this time of year: Ici’s Bouche de Noel. (photo by Tory Putnam)

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.

I used the new Diamond Heirloom Marcona Almonds in a salad of green beans, orange segments and fennel. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

I used the new Diamond Heirloom Marcona Almonds in a salad of green beans, orange segments and fennel. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

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.

They come in resealable bags. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

They come in resealable bags. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

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

Southern California’s gourmet fast-casual sandwich joint, Mendocino Farms, has opened its first Bay Area location — in the Pruneyard in Campbell.

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 "Rescued Veggie Burger'' at Mendocino Farms. (photo courtesy the restaurant)

The “Rescued Veggie Burger” at Mendocino Farms. (photo courtesy the restaurant)

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.

The mascot -- at the Campbell location. (photo courtesy of Mendocino Farms)

The mascot — at the Campbell location. (photo courtesy of Mendocino Farms)

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).

 

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One comment

  • Lot of fun stuff happening in your neck of the woods! That Bouche de Noel is gorgeous — and I can eat ice cream every week of the year (love the stuff). And I always enjoy nuts for snacking or cooking/baking. Fun ideas — thanks.

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