Ici, former Chez Panisse pastry chef Mary Canales’ thrilling ice cream shop, is a destination in its own right. It serves the stuff of dreams, ice cream with flavors so big, bright and true, only a magician could concoct them. The trick? The ice cream boasts 50 percent seasonal fruit puree, and the sorbets, 100 percent.
My most recent addiction is Ici’s ice cream sandwich, its super-thin, crisp gingersnap rectangles bookending lime ice cream, the tartness offset by creaminess. The balance is poetic. You’ll go crazy trying to decide between scoops, sandwiches, bon bons or bars in ever-changing flavors.
The white-tiled shop has a bench where you can sip one of Ici’s rich espressi and nibble a cardamom-semolina shortbread — dessert after your main course of ice cream.
The store is open until 9 p.m. nightly.
2948 College Ave, Berkeley, (510) 665-6054
Do not pass up an opportunity to buy a rustic baguette, croissants, morning buns and the perfect chocolate eclair at La Farine, one of the best bakeries on the planet. The earlier you get there, the better. Croissants and morning buns disappear fast.
Open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily, except until 3 p.m. Sundays.