I love ice cream and Palo Alto's had a miniburst of new ice cream joints in the last six months. I've tried all the new and, I think, all of the old.
In the downtown--Cream and Scoop are the new kids on University.
Cream puts together decent ice cream and decent warm cookies for fresh ice cream sandwiches--all for $2.25. Result: longggg line out the door. I can't remember what I got the one time I tried it as they got my order wrong and I just wanted to get out of the crowd. Anyway, it's good, not great---the sandwich was messy and kind of a gut bomb. Haven't been back, but I'd have loved it as a teenager.
Scoop is the mom-and-pop nitrogen cannister store. Trendy quirky flavors. I had a generous bowl of maple bacon and vanilla with salted butterscotch. Ironically, given the nitrogen, my ice cream was both semi melted and strewn with little icy bits. Could have been an off day and I don't consider it a deal killer. The fact that the ice cream was insanely sweet--as in blood-glucose test sweet--is. Maybe I'd try something like the coffee, but only if I could convince everyone to go around the corner to Gelato Classico or a block over to Fraiche frozen yogurt.
Other new kid is the Tin Pot Creamery over at Town and Country (corner of El Camino and Embarcadero). Another line here, but I've made several visits here. Texture's good as have been most of the flavors, though some of the milder ones--like lavendar with blueberry swirl are too sweet for me. Basically, I come for the salted butterscotch--there's a smoky quality to the flavor that balances beautifully with the creamy base. Portions are small, but we're talking guaranteed happiness in a cup.
The long-time favorite in Palo Alto is Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream down by Cubberly. Yes, it's got an interesting array of flavors--but, again, the milder flavors tend to be too sweet and even a little bland. As an adult, I prefer the stronger, more assertive ones. Industrial chocolate is the most intensely chocolate ice cream I've had from a store and I like the salty caramel. I think, though, a lot of the flavors are crafted with a younger audience in mind--lots of young sports teams end practice with a visit to Rick's. Though, on the more senior side of things, Rick's has toasted almond, which used to ubiquitous, but has mostly disappeared from supermarkets (Dreyers quit making it), so it's a nice find for those who can remember way back when.
So, I'm always glad to see more ice cream and Cream has actually inspired me to make ice cream sandwiches at home (Using Three Twins ice cream), but other than the salted butterscotch at Tin Pot, I'm sticking with Fraiche and Gelato Classico.