Ice-queue at Ici

    There is this little ice cream store on College Avenue. Somehow everyone knows about it, and forms a line from the cashier inside all the way out to 30 feet of sidewalk from the door. On a Thursday night, at 9:30 sharp, an employee went out and stood at the end of the line, kindly preventing more customers from queuing up. We felt guilty sitting on the bench nibbling at our treats while people patiently hunched their neck into layers of scarves and collars, ignored the chilly wind, waited for their turn to get into the store. Life’s rough to some.

    The menu changes daily to whatever the chefs’ hearts desire. That day’s popular affairs seem to be orange-almond-nutmeg and cardamom-rose, which we got. We also couldn’t resist those little crème-fraiche-Amarena-cherry-and-chocolate at the bottom shelf. (The innocent employee later revealed that those 5 cute things had sit idly there all day, and that he’s glad someone finally got one. Guess we did the chefs a favor.) The cherry flavor was oddly artificial. The chocolate shell was a major challenge for a plastic spoon. The best part was the chewy chocolate cake layer at the bottom. Perhaps it wasn’t quite worth $5.25, but sometimes it’s just cool to eat something with a fancy name.

    Now, the fancy ice creams… Orange peel, nutmeg, and candied almond made a combination resembling Cinderella in her pumpkin carriage. It’s girly sweet, and peasantly genuine. It’s safe and natural. What about the cardamom-rose? It’s a cavalier’s hand-kiss, genteel and reserved. It tastes and feels like herbal tea, each spoon lifts you up a step of contentment. But like all good things, one scoop went fast.

    2 “Kid’s scoops” (2@2.85): 5.70; Cone single: 0.75; Individual bombe: 5.25. Total: $11.70
    (for comparison: Dinner for 2 at Berkel Berkel: $14.71)

    Address: Ici
    2948 College Avenue
    Berkeley, CA 94705

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