7420 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearny Mesa
Dessert fans have a good reason to visit Kearny Mesa. The made-to-order liquid-nitrogen ice cream chain Creamistry opened last month, and it truly does feel like the ice cream shop of the future.
You don’t peruse a glass case filled with 31 tubs of flavors here. Instead you choose one of a couple dozen flavors ranging from chocolate and vanilla to pistachio and various fruits. Your pick of flavor is added to the cream base, which is flash frozen in under a minute using the liquid nitrogen. The idea is, making ice cream this way produces smaller ice crystals, resulting in a denser, smoother texture.
The other story is the addition of the other ingredients. If you’re partial to stuff such as ribbons of caramel, nutella, chunks of candy bar, candies, cookies, breakfast cereals, or nuts, you can add as many you like for a buck apiece.
One of the shop’s combo mixers whips up the cream and toppings and then blasts it with the liquid nitro. It’s a rather theatrical process as nitrogen steam spills out of the mixer, pouring across the counter like the marine layer rolling in over OB Pier. But this smoke machine effect is not strictly for show. The texture is glorious, as advertised. The freshly whipped up ice cream hasn’t had time to settle or harden, and every spoonful of the sizeable scoop was the ideal temperature — not that I gave it much opportunity to melt.
At $5.50 for a single scoop I chose the sea salt caramel base, paying 75 cents extra to use organic cream. I was tempted to add cookie dough or marshmallows but decided to keep it simple so I could focus on the ice cream’s texture — just a little fudge mixed in with the caramel.
I also upgraded to a waffle bowl for a buck. The waffle is pressed fresh and used to line a paper cup rather than made into a cone. I was again tempted…this time to go with the chocolate bowl for two bucks. It’s actually a fully edible bowl made of solid chocolate, but once you smell waffle it’s tough to want anything else. I have zero regrets.
I’ve enjoyed better ice cream flavors and textures produced by dedicated dessert chefs in fine-dining establishments. But in terms of made-to-order frozen desserts in a retail storefront, I cannot imagine doing better than Creamistry.