Juliet Pries / Owner, The Ice Cream Bar, San Francisco, California
Ice cream offers endless opportunity for experimenting and there’s no telling when a flavor will make the greatest hits list.
Roasted Pineapple debuted on The Cream Bar’s opening menu in 2011 and has been a neighborhood favorite ever since. The recipe starts with The Ice Cream Bar’s own ice cream base (milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, milk powder) then incorporates The Perfect Purée Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate, crème fraiche, vanilla and salt. Fresh pineapple, roasted with brown sugar and star anise until the juice is reduced and caramelized and the fruit is almost a jam, is folded into the ice cream after it’s spun.
“The star anise is definitely in the background, but it adds a subtle exotic spice flavor,” says Juliet Pries, owner of the Ice Cream Bar. “Along with the caramelized fruit and salt, it blends well with the dairy to make an interesting ice cream flavor.”
Like Roasted Pineapple, The Ice Cream Bar in an enduring success and consistently ranks among San Francisco’s best destinations for ice cream. Inspired by a childhood photo of Juliet opening a gift of an ice cream maker, The Ice Cream Bar is a truly authentic, full-service 1930s-style soda fountain serving handcrafted ice cream, sodas and bakery items with fresh, local ingredients and 21st-century originality. The centerpiece of the Ice Cream Bar is the 1930s-era soda fountain Juliet moved to San Francisco from its original location in Mackinaw City, Michigan. Surrounded by Art Deco flair, it summons the golden age of the soda fountain when fountains were the cornerstone of many American neighborhoods and bow-tied soda jerks served sodas, malts and milkshakes.
In their Prohibition-era heyday, soda fountains filled the social void of shuttered bars. The Ice Cream Bar combines the best of both — serving an inspired list of fountain drinks that contain alcohol along with local beers, wines, aperitifs and ports to fill the after-dinner craving. Traditionalists can enjoy cherry phosphates, root beer and cola based on century-old recipes with ingredients such a sassafras, kola nut, sarsaparilla, and many more herbs and spices.
All of the ice creams at the Ice Cream Bar are made on-site daily in a rotating menu of classic flavors including mint chip and butterscotch plus an ever-changing list of seasonal and holiday-inspired specials. Juliet loves tropical flavors and has been experimenting with The Perfect Purée since she discovered it more than 20 years ago at The Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. She now gets regular deliveries from distributor Cook’s Company Produce.
The Perfect Purée Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate also features in one of her offbeat, refreshing sodas called Dear Marco with fresh lime and house-made five-spice and black peppercorn tinctures.
The Ice Cream Bar uses The Perfect Purée Strawberry Puree in its classic Strawberry, mimicking the process for Roasted Pineapple and adding Strawberry Puree to the ice cream base before folding in strawberries that have been oven-roasted with sugar for more concentrated strawberry flavor and richer texture. Other seasonal flavors on rotation are Blackberry and Sweet Corn Swirl, Red Raspberry and Matcha Swirl and Apricot Sorbet with The Perfect Purée Blackberry Puree, The Perfect Purée Red Raspberry Puree and The Perfect Purée Apricot Puree.
In the fall, the Ice Cream Bar serves The Caramel Apple ice cream float — caramelized honey ice cream with The Perfect Purée Green Apple Puree, turbinado (raw) sugar syrup, soda and caramel.
The Ice Cream Bar managed to stay open for take-out from the start of the pandemic and plans on a real summer in 2021. Juliet says as the menu changes to cater to customer demand and current trends, it’s using more fruit purées along with its own natural tinctures and extracts in flavorful low-sugar soda fountain drinks.
“We’re transitioning back into offering more soda fountain service and more menu items, but we don’t offer as much as we used to,” she says. “After this past year, I’m still trying to figure out what works!”