Crazed Ice Creampreneur Keeps Inventing Horrific Flavors, People Keep Buying Them

If you were tricked into volunteering for a Big Brothers Big Sisters-style program, and you live in San Francisco, here’s an easy way to get out of the job. Take your kid to the Humphry Slocombe ice cream shop in San Francisco’s Mission District and order her some Coconut Candy Cap Caramel sorbet–the “candy cap” is mushroom! Or try the Salted Licorice, which Elizabeth Weil in the New York Times says her kids threw on the sidewalk. Or leave the kids at home and try the Secret Breakfast, which contains so much bourbon that “the scoop always runs soft.”

The flavors are the invention of pastry chef Jake Godby, who by 2006 had had it up to here with the lame-ass regular desserts he was making at upscale restaurants. Now he experiments with ice cream, while still consulting with those restaurants to create unusual desserts for their menus. If you’re in San Francisco and want an affordable way to try out a bit of culinary experimentation, you can do it by the scoop at Humphry Slocombe.

My favorite part of the article, which reads like a Wonkaland horror story, is this brief description of Godby. It also has provided me with my new excuse whenever I do something inappropriate: “That’s the ice cream talking.”

Godby nodded. He’s not a talker. Vahey describes him as “pathologically shy.” Godby did mention that the previous weekend in Sonoma, he walked by the dead body of a homeless man who’d been hit by a car. He knew this was a dark tale, and entirely out of sync with the expected portrait of the happy ice cream man selling ice cream to the happy children. But that was the point. Godby enjoyed the dissonance. The batch freezer whirred in the background. “That’s the ice cream talking,” he said, then sank into quiet again.

“I’ll Take a Scoop of Prosciutto, Please” [New York Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    You still wake up sometimes, don’t you? You wake up in the dark and hear the talking of the ice cream…

    • PunditGuy says:

      And you think that if you could invent one more flavor you could make it stop, don’t you?

      • FangDoc says:

        Mmmm…. makes me want to take my good bag and my cheap shoes out for some Chianti-flavored ice cream.

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    If you were tricked into volunteering for a Big Brothers Big Sisters-style program…here’s an easy way to get out of the job.

    Or you could do what the guys did on Always Sunny in Philadelphia! But then you wouldn’t get salted licorice ice cream (blegh).

    On a serious note, though – aside from the weird and disgusting flavors, like Peanut Butter Curry, Elvis (the Fat Years) ice cream actually seems kind of appetizing. Bacon peanut brittle sounds kind of good.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Bacon peanut brittle DOES sound good. I wonder if I can suggest my bacon cheesecake brownies as a flavor…

      • FangDoc says:

        A bakery in Seattle did “Elvis Donuts” for Elvis’ birthday this year: maple glaze with pieces of bacon. Cue Homer Simpson drooling face…

        • Conformist138 says:

          If you’re ever in Portland, OR, head downtown after dark. Locate a crowded little shop called Voodoo Donuts. They have served Bacon Maple Bars for years. And these ain’t no bacon bits, we’re talking a full, uncut bacon slice.

          They used to have Pepto donuts and NyQuil donuts, but sadly had to stop. It seems the regulations to control the sale of certain medications hadn’t considered what to do if someone cooked with them and didn’t make meth.

          To make cool even better, they give their day-old donuts to homeless shelters rather than trashing them.

          Portland, FTW!

    • dreamfish says:

      Down with bacon peanut brittle ice-cream.

      Up with bacon and egg ice cream!

    • SenorBob says:

      If that salted licorice flavor is salmiakki, I foresee a road trip in the near future. I LOVE that stuff! I got hooked on it when I lived in Finland.

      It’s not salt, though. It’s ammonium chloride and oh so tasty.

  3. Angus99 says:

    Jake sounds awesome. He sounds like the Ingmar Bergman of ice cream men. “Her kids threw on the sidewalk” had me in stitches for some reason this morning.

  4. Karita says:

    Salted licorice is most likely salmiakki, which is one of the most delicious things ever! When I lived in Finland, I couldn’t get enough of it – ice cream, candy, gum, vodka, it didn’t matter.

    Those other flavors do sound pretty nasty!

    • MexiFinn says:

      I concur. As a half-Finn, I would flock right to that! I have a bottle of salmiak-vodka in my freezer. Made it myself with Turkish Pepper! :)

    • Nighthawke says:

      Daym, Your salted licorice sounds rather brutal, according to the wiki. Made with ammonium chloride and oftentimes using carbon black as food coloring? Just wow.

    • SenorBob says:

      I got hooked on the stuff when I lived in Helsinki, especially the Turkish Peber Firewood candies.

      For the uninitiated, the salmiakki vodka tastes almost exactly like green NyQuil, but slightly tastier. Oh, and it’s black.

  5. katknits says:

    HS is the best in the Bay Area. She’s an idiot for not getting a taste of the ice cream fist before letting her kids waste it (not that salted licorice sounds good to me). I hate her tone, I hate this piece of writing. Why make a spectacle of this place? Trust me, they were doing fine before, they don’t need the publicity.

  6. lizzybeans11 says:

    Humphry Slocombe as in “Are You Being Served?” ??

  7. Genesisco Kid says:

    … on the subject of ice cream in both standard and unique, original flavors… try “Ultimate Ice Cream” (in Asheville, NC). Kahlua Mocha Almond is definitely popular, along with a plethora of other blends. The store lives up to its name. Also, if in the Outer Banks, NC… “American Pie” also offers tasty homemade offerings. For the more daring, I remember place in San Francisco, “The Garlic Rose” makes garlic ice cream. Apparently Europe has a ton of places with unique flavors… friends from Macedonia mentioned some place that had a “Red Bull” ice cream.

    Homemade ice cream definitely surpasses the recent-years, fast-food trend of a pseudo-vanilla base with some flavored syrup added for variation.

    • ej84 says:

      I think the one in San Francisco is “the Stinking Rose”. I would love to try their ice cream!

  8. varro says:

    My friend didn’t make those odd flavors at home – she made them (circa 1996) at the mall ice cream stand when they were changing out flavors in the soft-serve machine.

    Pumpkin mint ice cream anyone?

  9. chaesar says:

    what a weird guy, makes me think of Louis CK’s movie “Ice Cream”

  10. bitslammer says:

    These might be good if enjoyed with a shot of that new Smoked Salmon flavored vodka!

  11. amgriffin says:

    Candy cap mushrooms are amazingly fragrant and delicious. Don’t knock it if you’ve never even seen it, much less tasted it.

  12. Robofish says:

    Worst flavor I ever had was lobster ice cream in Bar Harbor, Maine. Vanilla Ice cream, with lobster chunks. nuff said.

  13. JulesNoctambule says:

    There’s a fantastic local place a few towns over that has a flavour called ‘Exit Wound’ which is made with habanero peppers. You have to sign a waiver just to sample it. The spouse and I tried it once, quickly following it up with the offered sample of vanilla as a chaser — delicious, but very hot indeed.

  14. Bakergirl says:

    “Let’s see…..I’ll take a scoop of Foie Gras ice cream and a shot of Foies Gras vodka to top it off!”…..Quickly drive to the Haight….(Who am I kidding with SF traffic)….Find a pissy Vegan (Just swing a cat)…Eat, drink, and smile in front of him and say “F@ck you and have a nice day!” and go home.

  15. subtlefrog says:

    There’s a place in Venezuela (Heladeria Coromoto) that, when I was there, held the world’s record for most flavors. You know not all of them were fantastic:

  16. Shonky McShonk says:

    with enough bourbon Daddy always runs soft with mommy.

  17. veg-o-matic says:

    Here I thought corn popsicles were the strangest-yet-surprisingly-tasty I’d ever had.

    Though, really, it’s easy to outdo everyone else when you’re purposefully trying to be shocking.

  18. Galium says:

    The guy is a sick puppy. I would not eat any of his ice cream. With his attitude there is no telling what may be in his product. Bodily fluids anyone?

  19. djanes1 says:

    The most disgusting thing at this shop is not any of the ice cream flavors, but the caramels made with locally-sourced, sustainable lard. The flavor of caramel comes first, and then leaves you with a disgusting, lard aftertaste.

  20. Big Mama Pain says:

    My favorite bizarre flavored ice cream is red bean and vanilla ice cream (sweetened adzuki bean). You’d swear it was little bits of chocolate or carob mixed in. That salt licorice ice cream sounds amazing!

  21. biggeek says:

    “Godby’s ice cream can be alienating, too. When I first took my kids, they ordered Salted Licorice, took three licks and then threw their cones on the sidewalk.”

    Elizabeth Weil, a contributing writer, is working on a memoir about marriage.

    It appears that she should spend less time writing and more time teaching her kids not to act like animals.