For me, the start of baseball signals ice cream season. San Francisco has scored a winner with the new Bi-Rite Creamery, which uses Straus organic dairy products to make super rich, full-flavored ice creams. The flavors change often and seasonally, but several are so popular, they can’t be removed from the rotation. Brown butter pecan ice cream has the toastiness of browned butter. Unctuous caramel with sea salt hits you over the head with its perfection. Intensely flavored roasted banana is the building block for many a compose-your-own sundae ($5.95). If you’re a coconut fan, look for resonant coconut popsicles ($1.95). The ice cream sandwiches ($3.95) are cookie-heavy. Frozen ice cream pies (starting at $12.95) are dreamy, especially the roasted banana with thin chocolate cookie crumb crust, a thin layer of caramel and a topping of frozen chocolate meringue — a happy ending to a meal eaten watching a Giants game on the tube.
3692 18th St. (near Dolores Street), San Francisco, (415) 626-5600
If the ice cream bug really hits you, buy David Lebovitz’s definitive book on ice creams, sorbets, granitas and all the accompaniments, invest in an ice cream machine (for as little as $50 — they really work!) and start making your own roasted banana ice cream. “The Perfect Scoop” (Ten Speed Press, $24.95) reveals the secrets behind sexy ice cream shops like Bi-Rite, Ici and Sketch.