The latest Bay Area branch of eccentric Portland-founded ice cream maker Salt & Straw opens this (Black) Friday, November 23 at 250 University Avenue. That’s just in time to stock a roster of holiday flavors like gingerbread cookie dough and peppermint bark: Consider it an early holiday present for Stanford students returning to campus from Thanksgiving break.
The Palo Alto Salt & Straw was designed by Andee Hess of Portland’s Osmose Design. It’s the brand’s fourth location in the Bay Area: The first opened in Pac Heights last year, followed by more scoop shops in Hayes Valley and Burlingame. Like its local brethren, Palo Alto’s Salt & Straw will scoop a set of Bay Area-specific flavors year-round, like Dandelion Chocolate hazelnut cookies and cream, and funkier choices like Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese with Acme Bread and sour cherry jam.
The newcomers: Salt & Straw’s “Holiday on Ice Cream” flavors, available at all its Bay Area scoop shops. Those include apple brandy and pecan pie (Clear Lake apple brandy and vanilla custard ice cream with pecan pie filling) and sugarplum fairy (sweet plum jam, marzipan, and Smith Teamaker’s Assam tea ice cream).
Non-dairy and vegan ice creams flavors include, ironically, a cinnamon coconut egg-nog flavor. That’s made with egg-free nog, dried and freshly grated nutmeg, and rum-infused almond milk churned with coconut cream and sugar.
As the Salt & Straw phenomenon takes off — they’re everywhere on the West Coast from Seattle to Downtown Disney — co-founder and head ice-cream tinkerer Tyler Malek has come to embrace the curiosity factor in his concoctions.
“We’ve realized the different roles flavors play at an ice cream shop,” Malek said last month. “[We’re] leaning into the idea that we can have flavors that are really fun to sample.”
Go ahead, try a scoop of their thanksgiving turkey flavor with real turkey fat — then settle for a simple honey lavender if you’d prefer.
After it opens on Friday, November 23, Salt & Straw’s Palo Alto daily hours will be 11 a,m. to 11 p.m.