First, I'll just say that I love the fact that there is this choice in SF, and both within 5 min drive, 15 minute walk of my house... put Mitchell's in there too and you have the ultimate ice cream trifecta!
But for me, there's no question... BI-RITE #1, by a very wide margin.
My problem with HS is they seem to put novelty and shock-value of their flavors above quality. Where Bi-Rite's ice-creams are truly artisan level quality... you can tell that this is someone's expert hand-crafted work... HS seems to be a little amateurish.
Where Bi-Rite pulls off the seemingly impossible blend of uber-creamy and refreshing (really on par with anything I've had in Florence, Rome, or Milan... and trust me, I've tried dozens and dozens), HS's ice creams seems icy at times, with ice crystals at times even.
Where Bi-Rites flavor originality is attention grabbing but still delivers the taste-buds ahahh!, HS's flavors don't stand up to the curiosity it generates... although I will admit that I still wanna go back and try BlueBottle Vietnamese coffee, Peanut butter curry, and several others...
Yes, HS has peaked my curiosity, but as others have said above it's definitely hit-and-miss, and just not at the level of quality. But Bi-Rite is seriously the most amazing ice cream experience I have had this side of the Atlantic.
For the cities I've lived in, I'd have to rank them...
1. San Francisco- just all around has everything. Great high-end eats, great cheap-eats, every possible ethnic food, multiple neighborhoods and styles to choose from, overall very laid back, and you can get around easily. Can't wait to move there permanently next year.
2. Baltimore- Always the UNDERDOG- the choices are not limitless by any means (but that can actually be nice sometimes... keep it simple) but Baltimore has at least ONE REALLY GOOD restaurant of every style, greek, thai, sushi, gourmet, southern, afghan, persian, korean, and on and on... Bicycle is the most underrated restaurant in the world... and there isn't a more welcoming big city in the country... this town will make you feel like its yours as soon as you move here.
3. Los Angeles - (Baltimore ranked above LA??!?!? just hold on).. I spent 8 years in L.A. and I felt like I never really got to know it like I know the other 5 cities on this list (although I spent less time in the others). Here's the thing, L.A. suffers immensely from its sprawl and the restaurants are just too focused on trendiness. It's just so hard to hear about a place, drive an hour to get there, park, dine, and get back home... it takes the whole night. Aside from the driving and the time, L.A. would be right on SF's heels in my books... unparalleled diversity: every imaginable Asian and Latin cuisine, the best Korean, Vietnamese, and Mexican in the country- hands down- trendys, cheaps, even italian. And little areas like are always blowing up.. like South Pasadena, Eagle Rock currently.. but overall, the difficulty in checking new places out always bothered me.
4. Philadelphia - just moved here, but great first impressions.. at the end of this year, it may move up on my list, if I have time to check things out.
6. Boston - it'd been a decade since I left, but I don't have fond foodie memories whatsoever.. of course I was a 22 year old kid on a budget, but I left greatly disappointed... (EXCEPT for the great North End of course).
I recently moved to Philadelphia, living between Rittenhouse and the Kimmel center. Just wondering if anyone had any good ideas for relatively inexpensive good food, or places which are conducive to solo-eating. Thanks.
I recently moved to Philadelphia (living near Kimmel Center) and I'm very excited about the wealth and density of amazing eating experiences here! (After living in Los Angeles for 8 years everything's wonderfully dense). One thing I haven't been able to find is a grocery store that specializes in Greek or Middle-Eastern groceries (olive oil, cheeses, baked goods, etc...). The closest thing I can think of is the Italian Market (haven't been there yet though). Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.