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Palo Alto gets another nitrogen ice cream shop

Uploaded: Apr 6, 2016
Creamistry, a franchised chain of nitrogen ice cream shops, is opening a location in downtown Palo Alto.

Much like the popular Smitten (which was born in San Francisco and has a location in Los Altos) and Scoop Microcreamery in Palo Alto, Creamistry uses liquid nitrogen to make its ice cream. With a temperature of minus-321 degrees Fahrenheit, liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze a base mixture on the spot. Scoop, for example, makes its ice cream in small batches, whereas Creamistry and Smitten makes each order on the spot.


Uday Somasunderam, co-owner of Scoop Microcreamery in Palo Alto, makes pumpkin ice cream at the store by adding liquid nitrogen to a cream mixture. Photo by Veronica Weber/Palo Alto Weekly.

This method of making ice cream has been gaining popularity in the Bay Area; its proponents say it creates a product that is more dense, creamier and more flavorful than traditionally churned ice cream.

Creamistry Palo Alto owner Li Li said he plans to open the shop this summer at 164 University Ave., the former home of Selix Formal Wear (and one block away from Scoop).

Li, a San Francisco resident, discovered Creamistry through a friend who lives in Irvine. As someone who makes ice cream at home, he liked the liquid nitrogen concept, which was new to him when he first tried Creamistry, he said. He and his wife decided to invest in a franchise.

Creamistry's menu is more vast and customizable than its local peers. Customers can choose from several bases to make their ice cream —premium, organic, sorbet, coconut or Greek yogurt— and then go wild with a host of flavors, toppings and "upgrades." Flavors range from classic like chocolate, French vanilla and caramel to nutella, roasted black sesame, birthday cake, tiramisu, matcha green tea and French Toast Crunch (yes, the cereal).

There are also special ice cream-based based drinks like an affogato (traditionally a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a shot of espresso) and floats. Check out the full menu here.

Creamistry’s quality and a wealth of flavor options makes it a good competitor in the MidPeninsula’s crowded ice-cream market, Li said. Having tried Smitten, Li prefers Creamistry.

"I do think that this will compete pretty well in the ice cream arena, especially compared to Smitten," he said.

Creamistry operates 12 locations in Southern California, with more on the way in Arizona and Texas. The Palo Alto outpost will be the first in Northern California. Li said he plans to eventually open two other Bay Area shops, in San Mateo and Dublin.

Comments

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by SuperD, a resident of Community Center,
on Apr 6, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Is this nitrogen thing just some gimmick?


 +   11 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Apr 6, 2016 at 3:38 pm

It's not really a worthless gimmick; it generates a product with different consistency than the traditional commercial ice cream freezing process.

Whether or not the end result of the liquid nitrogen ice cream is to your liking is entirely your call.

One thing the nitrogen process does allow is the ability to customize individual orders as the above blog post touches upon, something not feasible with the conventional process.

Is it a fad? Too early to say. Only time will tell if the liquid nitrogen ice cream will retain long-term interest in the consumer marketplace, but for sure, there are more shops that produce ice cream with liquid nitrogen.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by What a waste, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm

I am constantly surprised at the trivia with which (mostly) young people fill their minds. Ice cream is delicious, yes even the cheapest.

So much money and effort is spent refining and working on variations of something so unimportant. Maybe it is an attempt to give meaning to a meaningless life. I'm so special!
Like the zillions of coffee variations. Coffee is delicious, why waste resources and time making meaningless changes.

Ultimately sad, wasteful. Can't people think of more important things to focus on? and spend money on? Dozens of variations on delicious ice cream? Sad joke.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by @WaW, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Apr 7, 2016 at 9:07 am

Maybe its all in good fun without much more deep thinking or negative projections. Lots of people do things simply because they are fun and enjoyable to them. You should try it.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by @WaW, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Apr 7, 2016 at 9:07 am

Maybe its all in good fun without much more deep thinking or negative projections. Lots of people do things simply because they are fun and enjoyable to them. You should try it.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by @WaW, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Apr 7, 2016 at 9:12 am

Also, ever have a decent cookie recipe but know you can refine it and make it better? Yah, same thing, only it turned out so well it became something enjoyable that someone could turn into a viable business, which, again, in my opinion, is not a waste of time at all.

Posting gripes and projecting negatives on a message board for something one obviously doesn't care about? That gets much closer to my definition of wasting time.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Michael O., a resident of Stanford,
on Apr 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

The fast ice cream freezes, the smaller the ice crystals, the more creamy (versus grainy) it feels when you eat it. Liquid nitrogen makes for extremely small ice crystals. Whether you like your ice cream so creamy is a matter of taste. I seriously doubt, however, that University needs another ice cream shop, but maybe the market can bear it. I assume that one of these companies will go national and that this is just testing the waters for that.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Linda B., a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera,
on Apr 13, 2016 at 12:31 pm

I've tasted Smitten Ice Cream made with liquid nitrogen. The process is kinda fun to watch - the first time- but I didn't experience any noticeable taste or texture variation compared to other high-end ice creams made the traditional way.
I did experience a huge line however - making these products to order is time consuming and labor intensive. Be prepared to wait. I predict everyone will try it at least once...


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by What a waste, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 13, 2016 at 1:49 pm

WaW says "ever have a decent cookie recipe but know you can refine it and make it better? Yah, same thing, only it turned out so well.."

Yes, in fact America's Test Kitchen does exactly that. They add an egg or 2 and more sugar to a recipe, maybe some cinnamon, and claim they have made a discovery. Christopher Kimball declares everything they do as the "best recipe ever". They are pretentious and lots of people know it.

I think waiting in line is part of the deal. People who need to kill time enjoy that. No problem, it's fun.



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