Before I tell you about this ice cream, I feel like I have to tell you about what it took to get there. It was hot, unusually so for a September day in that part of the country, or that's what everyone kept telling us anyway.
It was our last day in San Fran, and that morning we'd sat bolt upright in our bed whilst the fire alarm screamed outside our door. I yelped to grab our passports and even thought to put on closed-in shoes, I can't believe I thought of that. Something from school obviously sunk in, what a fire-safety lame-ass. Amy was trying to decide which camera lens to take, which was a pretty stressful decision, i'm pretty sure she managed to stuff them all into her bag at once. We ran down the stairs and stood bleary-eyed on the 7am San Fransisco streets until they told us it was steam from a shower that set off the alarm and we could go back inside.
We wandered down to the castro, I kept trying to tug my $10 vintage shorts down to an appropriate cover-up length whenever we walked past the 'Political Nudes'. Not to sure how stripping down to just your beard and your backpack is helpful in the political realm, but we just made sure we avoided the park benches their bare bottoms had touched.
We hopped on a bus to take us down Mission St just as the sun had started its fiery descent into the mid-afternoon sky. It was hot, it was sticky, and the bus was full. A man with a wheelchair the size of a small compact car had parked himself in the centre of the aisle, his ten bags of shopping were hung off the arm rests, and were swinging back and forth as the bus lurched down the road. An old, desperately thin woman with next to no hair and wandering eyes pulled herself into the corner seat. Little kids were screaming, and I was trying so, so hard to breath as shallow as possible so to escape the stench of the obese man next to me with his arms outstretched dressed in a canary yellow t-shirt and those sunglasses with holograms of dinosaurs in the lenses that change colours as you tilt your head. A young couple next to us were hysterical with laughter at the situation. The girl was covering her mouth with her hand, trying to stifle the gasps of giggles at the unfolding situation. The bus was so packed that when the man in the wheelchair arrived at his stop, he had to perform a hair-raising 24-point turn as the other passengers pressed themselves against the greasy glass windows to make room.
We burst out of that bus like bats out of hell. There were groups of people sitting in gutters listening to music blasting from battery-powered stereos and I kept stretching my shorts to they would at least keep my upper thighs out of clear view. We walked one block over and the noise stopped. The houses changed from smog-covered grime to lined-up chocolate boxes of yellow, pink and blue, all with those beautiful round bay windows that are seen all over San Francisco.
We rounded a corner and a blue awning swaying breezily. Ice cream it said, we had finally arrived.
We practically tried everything. Cinnamon brittle, black sesame, cornflakes and rum-spiked milk, salted liquorice and honey dew. I bought a scoop of Vietnamese coffee, and another of brown sugar fennel and we sat in the window licking it all up.
Humphry Slocombe is an incredible place, just like their city, not unlike Darlinghurst's Gelato Messina, but a little more gung-ho. They're out of the way but they're worth it and they'll let you try everything before you buy, even if there's a line of 20 waiting behind you. Next time you're in the City by the Bay, seek them out.