Eating ice cream and frozen desserts when the temperature’s rising has to be high on the list of human pleasures. Visit these North Bay spots with some of the best cold treats to experience a cool, refreshing day. These selections are more upscale than the average ice cream chain (some featuring natural, organic, hand-crafted frozen delights) and accordingly, are a bit more pricey: anticipate spending $5 or more a serving. Also, please note that many of these cold treat restaurants operate on a cash-only basis.
245 San Anselmo Ave
San Anselmo, CA 94960
U-Top It specializes in natural frozen yogurts; not only does its flavors taste good, but these treats are good for you (no artificial additives). The shop features numerous toppings, from fruit, nuts and other healthy options to crowd-pleasing flavors like Tiramisu, Cappuccino, French Vanilla and Red Velvet Cake. U-Top It is a great place for the whole family, as kids will love making their own desserts just the way they like it.
17 E Blithedale Ave
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Noci (pronounced no-tchi, Italian for “nut”), a popular venue for after-school snacks or dessert, is an organic, artisanal shop crafting all gelato and sorbetto on site. The eatery also features Straus Farms dairy products, and chooses local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients (exceptions include organic chocolate from Ecuador and organic vanilla beans from Madagascar). Gelato is more dense and lower in fat than traditional ice cream and sorbetto is made with fresh fruit and no dairy products, thus making it a suitable treat for vegans. Order traditional gelato and sorbetto flavors such as Gianduia, Stracciatella, Pistachio, Nocciola and Lemon.
Three Twins Ice Cream
641 Del Ganado Road
San Rafael, CA 94903
Three Twins sources local, organic dairy products, then mixes each batch of ice cream to ensure smooth texture, basing choices on what provides the best flavor, not the lowest cost. Lemon Cookie is the scoop shop’s biggest seller, but also try Madagascar Vanilla, Mint Confetti or Dad’s Cardamom for more taste sensations. Chocolate-lovers will opt for The Chocolate Project (chocolate occurs five times in the ingredients list). Offerings might feature Lavender, Strawberry Je Ne Sais Quoi (strawberry with a splash of balsamic vinegar) or Roasted Peach. The menu changes seasonally according to the availability of the freshest, most wholesome ingredients. Feed your inner child sundaes with quirky names such as Slop Bucket and Cookie Monster. Three Twins offers great customer service, unique flavors and some of the best hand-crafted waffle cones anywhere.
Woody’s Yogurt Place
800 Redwood Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Heads up, East-Coasters. For a frozen custard kick, order a Chocolate Custard Milkshake at Woody’s. One sip of the creamy, thick, rich flavor and you’ll be back on the boardwalk. If chocolate isn’t your thing, then choose among Woody’s numerous other milk shake flavors like Butter Pecan, Pumpkin and Eggnog (flavors change daily). This frozen treat place is a Mill Valley institution – a high school hangout and a great place to end the evening, with or without the children, after dinner at a local restaurant. Great staff, huge portions, lots of flavor choices – cool down at Woody’s when it’s hot and steamy out.
Lappert’s Ice Cream
Sausalito, CA 94965
Walter Lappert created his first ice cream on Kauai in 1983. Today, his son Michael maintains the independent Lappert’s in California, and no trip to Sausalito is complete without a stop at this “super-premium” scoopery. Be patient. It’s worth the wait as a gracious staff serves up choices like Kauai Pie (fly to the islands without a plane), Guava Cheesecake, Kona Blue Espresso and Manila Mango. Have your treat sandwiched between freshly baked cookies. Don’t even think about grabbing an inside seat when San Francisco’s skyline is just across the street. Stroll along the waterfront and give your eyes a feast while indulging your taste buds.
Related: Tasty Cultural Sweet Treats
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Nina Holtons creative background in travel and cooking and a passion for writing empowers her to share the Bay Area scene with readers avid for information about where to go and what to do. A free-lance online journalist, she lives in Santa Clara; and her work can be found at Examiner.com.