Thursday, November 20, 2014

La Copa Loca Artisan Gelato

I've been focusing on bakeries lately on my Thursday reviews, but, the day is intended not only for baked goods, but also for my other favorite sweet: frozen things!  This normally means froyo or ice cream, since they are the most widely available, but every once in a while I do find other treats, like gelato.  La Copa Loca is an "Artisan Gelato" shop in the Mission, and got on my radar as they were named Best Ice Cream in 2008 by SF Weekly magazine (although, not technically ice cream).

What do they have at The Crazy Cup?  A large selection of gelato, plus soy gelato, sherbet, and sorbet, all made in house.  At any given time, they have about 20 flavors available, although they make hundreds of flavors including interesting selections like port & balsamic vinegar, white chocolate basil, goat cheese & figs, or even dark chocolate with candied jalapeƱo.  They offer standard toppings, wet or dry, to make sundaes, plus smoothies, shakes, ice cream pies, profiteroles, and crepes.  Unfortunately, I never really cared much for any flavors I tried.

Service has always been friendly, tolerating my desire to taste a few flavors before finally settling on my choice.  The staff clearly are passionate about their products, on one visit the man serving me was very, very proud of a new rose flavor, and had every person who entered the shop taste it.

They take only cash or LevelUp, and one one visit, I was handed my cone, and went to use LevelUp and was told it wasn't working.  Doh.  I had no cash.  And a melting ice cream cone in my hand.  Luckily, I had an ATM card on me, and offered to leave the cone behind and run to get cash nearby, but I was told to just pay them next time.  Such trust, given that I am not a customer they knew!
Kiddie Size Amaretto Gelato, Cake Cone, Rainbow Sprinkles.  $2.
On my first visit, I went for a cone, because it was a hot sunny day, and that just felt right.  I added sprinkles because, well, sprinkles.

The amaretto gelato I picked was the creamiest of all of the gelato I tried, but it still wasn't that creamy.  It definitely didn't seem like premium gelato.  The flavor was decent, a bit nutty.  Not particularly great, but not bad.

The cone was a standard cake cone, but it was very crunchy.  I originally thought it was stale, but flavor-wise, it didn't seem to be.  Strange.  I didn't realize there was such variance in cones.

The sprinkles were also a surprise.  They were very, very hard.  Not that sprinkles are normally soft, but these were like little sugar rocks.  I think they must have been really old.  But again, not actually stale tasting (do sprinkles get stale?)

As you can guess, I didn't really like this much, but it was still a nice frozen treat on a sunny afternoon.

A kiddie size cone is only $1.75, a ridiculously good price for San Francisco.  It actually was much bigger when it was first scooped, until he rolled it in the sprinkles and it got very smushed.  The cone was completely full of gelato, no skimping here.  The rock-sprinkles added on another $0.25, and I'd definitely skip them in the future.
Kiddie Size Banana Sherbet.  $1.75.
On my next visit, I went for a dish.  And, since I wasn't all that impressed with the gelato, I went for a sherbet.

It was very strongly banana flavored.  There were even large chunks of frozen banana in it.  Since it was sherbet, it was not very creamy, kinda icy, and was really just not really that great.

The price was again right though.

[ Not Pictured ]

Other flavors I sampled but choose not to get:
  • Sherbet
    • Pumpkin (seasonal): Not much flavor, not very creamy.
  • Gelato
    • Rose: Not very flavorful.  Someone else tasting it said it tasted very floral, but I barely picked up on it at all.  Not very creamy either.
    • Rum & Raisin: Very boozy, but I didn't get any raisins, nor raisin flavor.  Again, not very creamy.
    • Walnut: Very strange flavor, I wouldn't identify it as walnut at all.
  • Sorbet
    • Apricot: Very tart, very sweet, incredibly flavorful, quite icy, but it was sorbet after all.
La Copa Loca on Urbanspoon
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