For no reason other than constantly being swarmed by options of amazingly entertaining things to do within San Francisco limits, I don’t make it to the East Bay as often as I could.
I’ve always had a good time in Oakland and Berkeley, it’s 20 minutes from my apartment by BART, always warmer and there’s no better way to enjoy the view of San Francisco than by looking back at it. It just doesn’t happen that often.
Oakland still carries a negative connotation (with merit in some side streets), but Rockridge is Oakland’s most upscale neighborhood, and some parts of College Ave. rival downtown Palo Alto’s refined feel.
The streets are lined with exposed brick, carefully curated vintage shops, hand-crafted bakeries, artisinal restaurants, breweries, bookstores and… sweet treats!
I was chatting it up with vintage jewelry curator and 25-year Bay Area (18 East Bay) local Lisa Kramer at a local travel industry event recently, and when she got super excited sharing how fantastic all the ice cream around Rockridge is, I knew it was a perfect excuse to head east.
If you follow along on Snapchat (crntlyexploring), you’ve already seen a preview of our “tour de Ice Cream”, but here it is in fullforce, 5 Spots for Sweet Treats off Rockridge BART:
Smitten Ice Cream \\ 1
At $5 for a small scoop, Smitten is the most expensive ice cream on the list but it also the creamiest. These guys are using a flash-freezing technique with liquid nitrogen to hand make each order. The process makes the tiniest ice crystals possible, resulting in a ridiculously luscious ice cream.
All ingredients are fresh and seasonal, and the daily flavors include a seasonal pick and selection from the consistent menu of Fresh Mint Chip, Classic Vanilla, Brown Sugar with Cinnamon Cookies and twist other Bay Area favorites TCHO Chocolate and Blue Bottle Espresso.
Tara’s Organic Ice Cream \\ 2
Tara’s Organic Ice Cream is also hand crafted in small batches, 4 gallons at a time. Rotating flavors take “fresh herbs and spices” ingredients to a whole new level, with flavors including Garam Masala, Sweet Corn, Basil and Sunflower Seed Butter.
We’ve most definitely crossed the Oakland/Berkeley line.
Ici Ice Cream \\ 3
If picking out gourmet treats in adorable wrapping sounds like a good afternoon to you, pop Ici’s right on to the top of your list. This little shop is full of the sweetest scoops, bombes, bites and treats, and the Coffee ice cream… is freakin’ amazing.
Grab a dual-flavor sandwich between thin crust cookies for a flavor 2-4-1!
Powell’s Sweet Shoppe Gelato \\ 4
Step back in time (and calories) into Powell’s Sweet Shoppe Gelato bar for a denser, less cream-based array of sweets. The peanut butter, has a consistency of peanut butter… and there are so many toys to play with!
Extra points to the super enthusiastic employees in red bowties.
Dreyer’s Ice Cream \\ 5
Pay a homage to an American grocery store favorite at the Dreyer’s Ice Cream headquarter storefront on College Ave.
My personal favorite here is the Affogato, 2 creamy mass-batch ice cream scoops in Espresso topped with Hazelnut + Shaved Dark Chocolate!
Image courtesy of Flickr \\ Akihito Fujii.
Special thanks to Lisa Kramer Vintage for a fun afternoon showing me around the neighborhood and sharing some of your favorite spots!
A few other Rockridge eats to note: