The name’s a composite of character names in the 1970s Brit TV comedy Are You Being Served?, the lovably swishy Mr. Humphries and the imperiously blue-haired Mrs. Slocombe. But the ice creams at this spare Mission District shop have pristine ingredients, fine textures, and meticulously balanced flavors. Still, owner Jake Godby—a pastry chef who’s toiled in some of the finest restaurant kitchens in town—has a wicked sense of humor to go along with his mad skills. Secret Breakfast combines a heady slug of bourbon with clusters of corn flakes. Even flavors without overtly jokey names taste as if they were conceived by an ice cream maker with an arch palate, like the tart-sweet subversiveness that suffuses Balsamic Caramel, or the more or less fruity mindfuck that is Olive Oil. If ice creams had catchphrases, the stuff here would probably proclaim—like Mr. Humphries in the old sitcom—“I’m free!” —John Birdsall
Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream. 2790A Harrison St., San Francisco. 415 550 6971;
http://www.humphryslocombe.com/ Tue-Sun, noon-8:00pm
In his pueblito 60 miles from Guadalajara, Luis Abundis learned the art of nieve de garafa: ice cream churned via elbow grease alone, working a handheld paddle in a garafa (“carafe”) sunk in ice and salt. It’s an heirloom treat scarce even in Mexico, but Abundis is still wielding his artisan paddle in a corner of Fruitvale’s Transit Village, churning out seasonal flavors that conjure another world. That’s the case with beautifully unctuous avocado, ricotta-like queso, fresh corn with the sweetness of scraped cobs, and changos zamoranos, made with whey (and the odd curd) leftover from cheese making. The off-menu Jalisco drink tejuino is a puckery brew of lime, coarse salt, and fermented corn masa with a limon sorbet float. In summer, ask for tepache, a fermented pineapple cooler. —John Birdsall
Nieves Cinco de Mayo. 3340 E. 12th St., #2 (in the Fruitvale Public Market), Oakland. 510-533-6296.