“Confused?” asks the web site for An’s Dry Cleaning. A fair question, considering An’s is an ice cream shop.
3017 Adams Avenue, University Heights
Better than that, it’s a small batch gelato and sorbet shop, devoted to local sourcing, freshness, creative recipes made in-house, and all such things the earnest eaters of North Park could hope for. So why the confusing name? As the site explains, it’s a nod to the previous occupant of this storefront, the An’s that really did offer dry cleaning service. It’s like the new gelato shop moved in, but kept the same stationery.
Bottom line is, don’t show up with a dirty suit or party dress; do show up with a craving for frozen desserts. As a first timer, you’ll be treated to sample spoonfuls of all ten or so rotating flavors, from fruity vegan sorbets to creamy gelatos. Continuing with the dry cleaner theme, each flavor is given the name of a fabric: for example, the pineapple basil sorbet is dubbed Linen. That part does get a little confusing, like when your scooper refers to Cashmere, and you don’t immediately connect it with the goat cheese and honey gelato.
Most of the flavors tend to pair distinct flavors along these lines. Caramel and salt is boring as it gets, and even that lives up to the velvety texture promised by its given fabric name, Velour. The gelato chef at work here plied his craft in Europe for a dozen years, and though his unique flavor combinations conspire to capture most of your attention, it’s clear he puts just as much focus on the texture and temperature of his creations.
On the dairy side, the incredible texture of the avocado and lemon flavor, Wool, struck me more as a luxurious Alpaca or Satin (the name Silk was already taken by an almond and sage flavor). Given the shop’s pledge to focus San Diego-sourced ingredients, I presume it was local avocado adding that extra dollop of creaminess, contrasted by chewable nibs of candied lemon. My guacamole loving self wonders, how the recipe might taste with a little chili pepper to spice it up? Ans openly accepts flavor ideas from its customers, so if I suggest it, maybe they’ll give the flavor a shot.
I’d hoped to try the Plaid, the most adventurous flavor on the board, made with chocolate, honey, cinnamon, and black pepper. But I was not alone in my curiosity; it had long sold out. Instead, I took respite from the hot afternoon to dig on the shop’s dairy-free sorbets. An's allows two flavors per $5 short or $7 tall order, so I ordered the pineapple basil and strawberry ginger. The fruits more than spices really shine through in these sorbets, even the watermelon mint flavor tasted strongly of real watermelon. All super refreshing.
But again, it’s the sorbets’ texture I remember most. Something lacking cream tasting this smooth and delicious is a huge win for vegan dessert fans, and An's Dry Cleaning looks like a great add to a San Diego suddenly brimming with awesome new ice cream options.