Review: Salt & Straw brings experimental flavors and quality ingredients to Burlingame


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Salt & Straw features more than just your standard ice cream flavors.

Adam Currier , Faculty Writer

The line is undeniably long. The wait time sends many curious people searching for a different way to satisfy their sugar cravings. More than once a mumbled, “It can’t be that good”  has been heard as someone shuffles away. And, they’re right without knowing it. Because Salt and Straw isn’t that good. It’s that great.

It starts with a host of local and organic ingredients. These include a list of 13 “classics” with three vegan options that are always available, and an additional five “seasonal” tastes with one to two vegan choices that change monthly. As a result, each flavor carries a sense of rich and nuanced flavor that rivals the best ice creams available from places such as experimental flavor guru Humphry Slocombe and safe standard Bi-Rite.

In the classics, ingredients like Guatemalan fleur de sel, SoMa’s sightglass coffee, Northern California’s Arbequina olive oil, Oxnard’s strawberries, and Petaluma-based Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam cheese (yes, actual cheese), all make appearances in flavor options ranging from the tame “Double Fold Vanilla” to the new twist on an old favorite “Salted, Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough” to the out of the box “Mt. Tam Cheese with Toasted Acme Bread.”

The Burlingame location has been open for three months and has seen three of the “seasonal” menus specifically built for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This is where Salt and Straw separates from other ice cream parlours. With no concern for convention or the faint of heart, more elaborate offerings have been “Creepy Crawly Critters” with chocolate covered crickets and toffee brittle mealworm; “Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey” complete with turkey brittle and turkey fat caramel ice cream; and, this month’s vegan offering, the dairy-free, egg-free “Cinnamon Coconut Eggnog.”

What sets Salt and Straw apart is their attention to customer service. They don’t want you to just buy a flavor. They want you to love your flavor. The line isn’t long because scooping ice cream is a time consuming process. Rather, each server attends to one customer at a time and allows them to try as many flavors as they want, with a smile and attitude that never makes the customer feel awkward or rushed.

At five dollars a scoop, I don’t recommend the long wait to just buy one. I recommend waiting in line, trying as many flavors as you like, and then picking up a pint ($11) or two of your favorites from their stock of both classics and past seasonals. My freezer currently stocks “Christmas Peppermint Bark Cocoa,” “Strawberry Tres Leches,” and “Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans.”

Scared of a line? Remember that great things come to those who wait.

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