The Scoop: A Frozen Section of Holy Gelato!
By Dawn Maxey and Theresa Poulos
It’s strange how we tend to overlook gems in our own backyard, so for this installment of The Scoop, we brought one of UCSF’s finest Pathologists along to a nearby gelato shop, so that we wouldn’t miss even the most microscopic of details.
Holy Gelato! is located just blocks away from UCSF’s Parnassus campus, and it was only recently that the Scoop team realized that we had never given it a hard-hitting, newsworthy review. We were accompanied by guest reviewer Dr. Raga Ramachandran, a Pathologist beloved amongst UCSF medical students, to help us analyze a sweeter variety of frozen sections.
A storefront sign on 9th Street announces that in addition to eighteen regular gelatos to choose from -- with flavors like Tiramisu, Vanilla Bean, and Chocolate Hazelnut -- the store features twelve vegan flavors including Mango Sorbet, Thai Tea, and the soy-based Charlie Brown’s Nightmare (Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Cookies). We walked in and were greeted by a cooler filled with heaping mounds of gelato, neatly separated into vegan and non-vegan halves. The Scoop team ordered a total of nine flavors, including Cinnamon Sin, Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Fresh Strawberry, Caramelo Chocolate Crunch, White Pistachio, Sea Salted Caramel, White Raspberry Chocolate, and Honey Lavender.
Run-away favorites were the White Raspberry Chocolate which team members described as “a perfect combination of flavors” and the Caramelo Chocolate Crunch, chocolate ice cream with caramel and friable toffee pieces distributed throughout. The White Pistachio was also a crowd-pleaser with its large, satisfying nut pieces. The team was more divided in its opinion on the Fresh Strawberry, which had a remarkable strawberry flavor but too icy a texture for some.
Dr. Ramachandran described the Sea Salted Caramel as having “more salt than caramel -- and I like it the other way around...I’d pick Bi-Rite’s Salted Caramel over this one.” In addition, she noted that the flecks of spice in the Cinnamon flavor bore the appearance of “highly stippled chromatin,” while the Dark Chocolate remained “largely acellular.” Just goes to show that you can take the pathologist out of the lab, but she’ll still be on call.
The actual scooping and arranging of the flavors was notable, as Dr. Ramachandran pointed to how in her 4-flavor medium size order ($4.99) the chocolate was packed into the bottom, with her other 3 flavors triangularly scooped atop. Even in a “mini” size ($2.99) you could request up to two flavors -- a nice option for those of us who are less decisive. Despite the overall satisfying taste and great variety of flavors, you might have noticed that this gustatory delight doesn’t come cheap, as a small (1-3 flavors) will set you back $3.99.
While enjoying our gelato, the team took careful note of the eclectic surroundings. In addition to frozen treats, patrons are able to purchase a variety of curious items including mugs shaped like ducks, loose-leaf tea, superhero lunchboxes, a perplexing variety of T-shirts, and a travel pet carrier ($34.95). Dr. Ramachandran concluded that she was ”confused by their business model.” She also noted that if she lived in the neighborhood and showed up to a birthday party for one of her daughter’s friends with a Hello Kitty lunchbox as a gift, everyone would know that it was likely picked up on the way over.
Final report? Holy Gelato! delivers a pretty good gelato if you’re willing to pay top dollar. And if you ever need an elvis cookie jar, you know where to find one.
1392 9th Ave
Open Daily 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Theresa Poulos and Dawn Maxey are fourth-year medical students.