This morning I woke up at 3:00 a.m. I don’t think this was the result of feeling anxious or stressed. In fact, I felt rather bright eyed and bushy tailed. I was raring and ready to go, despite the fact it was pitch dark outside. Being up so early had its benefits. I got to listen to one of our first rainstorms of the season and also watched the 2020 US presidential election unfold, but boy was I hungry. Unsure of what to rummage for, I opened our freezer and immediately felt inspired. The answer to my cravings was staring right at me from the middle shelf. It was a pint of buttermilk pancakes, bacon & eggs ice cream from Salt & Straw. That little container calling my name was the perfect balance of weird that I was looking for. A hare brained dessert and breakfast mash up that made me giddy, curious and somewhat afraid all at the exact same time.
Salt & Straw is known for its kooky flavors and I’ve been a fan of just about every one of its wacky Wonka-like pints. Well, except for Salt & Straw’s bone marrow & smoked cherries flavor, but you can’t make (most) flavors of ice cream without breaking a few eggs, right? The company was founded by two cousins, Kim Malek and Tyler Malek up in Portland, Oregon. What started off as two person food cart back in 2011, quickly grew to a well oiled machine. Today Salt & Straw counts Hollywood and WWF / WWE darling Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as one of its partial owners. (I’d imagine that at 6’5″ and 200 plus pounds he can mow down his fair share of the sweet stuff, so as I see it, that seems like a rather smart investment.) Salt & Straw boasts scoop shop locations in Anaheim, Los Angeles, Miami, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. You can also get Salt & Straw pints delivered to you in any state in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. I mean, Amazon boxes and toilet paper deliveries are nice and all, but nothing beats opening a box of crazy ice cream. (Oh, and Salt & Straw even has a, “Melt-Free Guarantee,” on all of its deliveries making it a cool gift for the foodies in your life. Plus you get to help out a young budding small business brand to boot.)
In addition to Salt & Straw, here’s a list of other neat little local spots we love across the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.
Back to this whole buttermilk pancakes, bacon & eggs ice cream situation. You might be wondering how it actually tasted. Pretty darn great if you ask me, but then again my taste buds were on some kind of a weird time zone of their own this morning. (Maybe they thought we were in Shanghai where 3:00 a.m. this morning was more like 7:00 p.m.? Who knows.)
You also may be wondering, “Are there actual eggs, pancakes and bacon inside?” Yep. The eggs part isn’t all that shocking when you think about it. Having crafted our own ice cream concoctions at home (like this homemade fresh mint and vanilla bean flavor we whipped up last weekend), I knew eggs typically are part of the ice cream equation. So that part wasn’t too spooky. It’s not like a fried egg was floating around in there. (Though I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if Salt & Straw’s mad flavor scientists one day go that route).
While pancakes are not commonly found in ice cream, it may not be as risky a flavor combo as your mind might like to think it is. Salt & Straw already makes a weird, but delicious Mt Tam cheese with toasted Acme Bread. If you ever travel to Iceland, you might discover plain ice cream that has geysir bread chunks in it.
In this recipe, Salt & Straw uses griddled blueberry coffee cake “pancakes” which texture-wise is a bit like a birthday cake-style ice cream. The rich custard batter style of the ice cream amplifies that effect. Many of pancakes’ brethren (like French crêpes for instance) can be devoured either as a breakfast or a dessert item. Belgian and French gaufres (a denser version of the humble waffles we’re familiar with here stateside) have also long been ice cream companions. Then, of course, the ice cream cone is the infamous result of a Syrian dessert called a zalabias pinch hitting for a serving vessel when a vendor ran out of dishes to serve his ice cream in at the 1904 World’s Fair. (Journalist Max Bonem does an excellent job of telling the story in this Food & Wine piece, “A Brief History of the Ice Cream Cone, Explained,” in case you want to read more about that.) So that explanation hopefully gets you over the eggs and pancakes hump.
Now the bacon, that’s an interesting one. For this batch Salt & Straw takes crystallized nuggets of brown sugar bacon and swirls them with Vermont maple syrup in the ice cream. As odd as this might sound, Salt & Straw’s buttermilk pancakes, bacon & eggs flavor wasn’t my first meat ice cream rodeo. As I mentioned before, we love making homemade ice cream. I’ve linked to a few of my favorite recipes if I was able to find publicly on other blogs and websites. Remember that if you aren’t dining and eating out, buying recipe books from your favorite small business as gifts for friends and loved ones can be a wonderful way to help support those companies from afar. I’ve included the Amazon affiliate links to a few of my favorite ice cream recipe cookbooks in this paragraph in case you want to pick up copies of your own. One of my favorite recipes comes from the Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book. Pre-COVID we had an ice cream party with some close travel buddies. We figured we’d taste test a few different pints ranging in flavor wackiness. The options careened from the slightly more even keeled (like Bi-Rite’s basil ice cream recipe from its Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones book) to classics with a twist (like a strawberry candied jalapeño flavor and the Harvey Milk and honey recipe from the Humphry Slocombe book) to the more out there (like a peppercoke sorbet recipe from Big Gay Ice Cream: Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats: Going All the Way with Ice Cream: A Cookbook). The riskiest of the bunch was a boccalone prosciutto ice cream which also came from the Humphry Slocombe book. Almost everyone (out of six people) picked the meat ice cream as the winner of the bunch. Who would have of thunk it? I suppose there’s something to be said for fat being mixed with a bit more fat. The interesting thing about Salt & Straw’s iteration is the texture. The bacon adds a chewiness to the ice cream that’s unlike anything else I’ve ever had before.
Clearly we have a soft spot in our hearts for ice cream. Curious about other crazy ice cream flavors we’ve taste tested around the globe? Here are some of our favorite ice cream places in the world.
Salt & Straw is known for its exotic flavors and also for frequently rotating its options. The buttermilk pancakes, bacon & eggs ice cream flavor initially rolled out as part of Salt & Straw’s camping series which came out in June 2019. (The collaborative effort celebrated West Coast wilderness and helped to support the National Parks Foundation in conjunction with Pendleton Woolen Mills.) The flavor series also included a campfire s’mores pint, a vegan flavor called berries, beans & BBQ sauce, a pint known as mushroom muddy buddies and another one called spruce tips & huckleberry crisp. As far as I can tell, buttermilk pancakes, bacon & eggs is the only flavor from that collection that still exists for online ordering.
Whether the coronavirus pandemic is foisting you into sleepless nights or you’re interested in expanding your ice cream horizons Salt & Straw’s buttermilk pancakes, bacon & eggs is a definite twister for your tastebuds. For me this morning was the first time in months I felt like a jetlagged time zone zombie. I got all the perks of getting to experience unfamiliar foreign flavor combos, but with no need to take a long expensive flight. My sugar high may be wearing off, so it’s probably time for me to take a nap now. After all, I think it’s somewhere around 5:00 a.m. in Shanghai.
Salt & Straw
Address: Available for shipping across the U.S. online and in store at locations in Anaheim, Los Angeles, Miami, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Salt & Straw Menu Pricing (All in USD):
– Scoops (In Store Only) $5.50
– Pints $12.95 (In Store)
– Pints $13.00 (Online and five pints for $65.00, six pints for $75.00.)
I get it, it’s tough work reading word after word about delicious homemade ice cream. Give your pointer finger some much needed exercise after all that heavy scrolling you just did. If you enjoyed our story about Salt & Straw’s buttermilk pancakes, bacon and eggs ice cream, let us know. Please click the “like” button with a star on it at the bottom of this post, share the link to this article via your social media handles, email this article to someone you know who has too much mint on their hands or send this post to a friend who loves ice cream and let them know you’re thinking of them.
If you’re feeling super ambitious, we’d love it if you’d buy us a cup of coffee, so we can taste test, visit and review even more awesome food for you!
For information about our conflict of interest disclaimer, please visit our About Krista page.