Superlist no. 811

Blowing away sorbet
The scoop on ice cream that makes vegans melt.
By Alison Hathaway

MaggieMudd co-owner Changying Zheng with a scoop of
Peanut Butter Palooka (soy-based ice cream) with vegan
whipped cream. Photo by Mirissa Neff.
WHEN VEGANS GO out for ice cream with their not-so-vegan friends, they're faced with slim pickings for a frozen culinary confection. Sometimes a limited assortment of nondairy sorbets are available, or sometimes nothing at all. Sorbet can be a perfectly viable dessert choice, but often one craves something richer and creamier. Luckily, several local merchants have concocted soy- and nut-based frozen "creams" to fill that void, and even the milk drinkers among us might be induced to taste them. Here are all of the restaurants and ice-cream shops in San Francisco that offer vegan ice cream and, in some cases, dairy ice cream as well.

MaggieMudd This Bernal Heights store offers a large variety of soy- and nut-based ice cream, as well as vegan ice-cream cakes. Choose from classic flavors like rocky road and strawberry, or more exotic ones like coconut-macadamia nut and orange-chocolate chip. One small scoop is $2.45, a double is $4, and a pint runs $5.25. It also makes a range of vegan sundaes for about $4 to $6. Treat yourself to its ice cream in a cup or in one of the fresh waffle cones made on-site. Also, if you don't feel like leaving the house, it delivers six-inch or larger ice-cream cakes ($19.95 to $126) anywhere in the city for free. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 903 Cortland. (415) 641-5291.

Herbivore This all-vegan restaurant has a varied menu, but its only flavor of vegan ice cream is vanilla Soy Delicious. Herbivore offers a bowl of it with pomegranate juice for $3.75. Add a scoop to adorn your vegan cake or pie for an extra $1.50. Sun.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 9 a.m.-11 p.m., 983 Valencia. (415) 826-5657; 531 Divisadero, (415) 885-7133.

Café Gratitude Organic, all-vegan, and mostly raw food is served here, but a highlight of the menu is its variety of nut creams, made from rich, flavorful ingredients like almonds, cashews, coconuts, vanilla beans, and dark chocolate. You may feel a little silly ordering, with names such as "I am delighted" (its version of vanilla ice cream) and "I am brave" (chocolate), but hand-cranking them yourself at your table makes it worth the embarrassment. One order serves about three to four scoops for $5. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 2400 Harrison. (415) 824-4652.

Geranium This vegetarian restaurant offers a bowl of vanilla vegan ice cream for a mere $2. It can also complement some of the desserts, such as vegan chocolate cake or vegan organic plum cake, served with a scoop for $6. Tues.-Sun., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 615 Cortland. (415) 647-0118.

Kona Shores In a surfer atmosphere, vegan dessert fans can enjoy a couple flavors of frozen confection, such as cinnamon caramel and the cleverly named "dulce no leche." A small serving (or "short board") goes for $2.75, while a large ("long board") costs $3.75. Kona also sells its soy creams in take-home pints and half pints. Daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., 1206 Masonic. (415) 861-3172.

Juicy Lucy's Open seven days a week, Juicy Lucy's offers vegan ice cream on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in the summer only, starting in April. You can also find its frozen treats at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market on Tuesdays. When it does have the frozen goods, it offers just one flavor, Banana Nana, containing the popular frothing fruit combined with seasonal ingredients. Still, it's a bargain at just $4 for a large scoop. Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 703 Columbus. (415) 786-1285.

Golden Era Vanilla and mocha ice cream are always on the menu at this popular vegetarian restaurant. Although the choices are limited to about four flavors, few vegan dessert lovers will be able to resist a scoop of the frozen treat on top of a slice of mocha chocolate cake or caramel flan. A plain scoop is just $2.50. Wed.-Mon., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 572 O'Farrell. (415) 673-3136.

Toy Boat Dessert Cafe Not only does Toy Boat have a vibrant, toy-filled decor, but it also has cinnamon caramel soy cream. A small portion of the vegan delight costs $2.75. Mon.-Thurs., 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri., 7:30 a.m.-midnight; Sat., 8:30 a.m.-midnight; Sun., 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m., 401 Clement. (415) 751-7505.