It’s been called the 5-minute way to make amazing ice cream. Liquid nitrogen freezes ice cream almost instantly, resulting in a smoother, richer, denser ice cream. The key is the extreme temperature, which does not allow enough time for ice crystals to form, making the product creamier and giving it a finer texture.

Family owned Scoop in Palo Alto is the only place in the South Bay where customers can try it. Their ice cream is frozen in small batches throughout the day, going from liquid to solid within a matter of minutes. If you time it right, you may see Dave “Mr. Scoop” orchestrating the process, which often includes the sight of nitrogen “smoke” erupting from the chambers. (In reality, it is an effect of the nitrogen droplets coming into contact with the air, condensing the vapor that is present.) Owners use their eyes and ears, rather than a computerized mechanism, to tell them when the ice cream is ready.

The result is a greater attention to ingredients, as this new generation ice cream needs not the preservatives or gums needed to preserve the ice cream from manufacturer to distributor. Each flavor begins with an organic basis consisting of Straus cream, milk, eggs and sugar. For chocolate, they only use Guittard, an award-winning variety made along the peninsula. All sauces are also made on-site.

Currently, their most popular flavor is called Maple Bacon Crunch, which is maple infused ice cream with bits of crunchy candied bacon. Their Bourbon Vanilla with Salted Caramel is also worth a try, which entertains with a generous bite of Jim Beam. 

203 University Avenue, Palo Alto. Hours are Sun-Thurs 12pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm.

Find more dining options at the San Jose restaurant page.