Smitten Ice Cream, now open in the artsy Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, is a far cry from the ice cream parlors of yore. Housed in a modern, minimalist structure made from two recycled shipping containers, the operation is helmed by Robyn Sue Goldman, who spent two years developing an ice cream machine that runs on liquid nitrogen (its negative-322-degree temperature allows for the formation of exceptionally small ice crystals, giving the dessert a smoother texture). She named it Kelvin, and for two years the business lived in a souped-up Radio Flyer wagon that traveled the city, turning out artisanal ice cream—with absolutely no additives—made to order in 60 seconds. Now in a fixed location, Smitten has a rotating menu with traditional flavors like vanilla and strawberry alongside innovative combinations like poached pear crème fraîche, brown sugar butternut squash and dark chocolate with hot peppers. True to California's locavore ethos, the dairy is sourced from nearly Beretta Organic Farm, while the chocolate comes from TCHO on San Francisco's Pier 17. At 432 Octavia St.; 415-863-1518; smittenicecream.com.
Photo Courtesy of Joseph Perez-Green