Sweet Beat: Xanath Ice Cream Shop on Valencia
A hidden flower has blossomed in the Mission. Xanath (shah-NATH), opened June 1 and is likely to attract serious foot traffic all summer long. So far, the lick-worthy organic ice cream, froyo, and milkshake spot has been overheard to cause squeals of "What is this?!?" from the as-yet clueless. The clean and bright, teeny-tiny storefront (951 Valencia at 21st St.) smells like vanilla, saffron, and even cream (Marin's Straus dairy is in full evidence here). The owner, Juan J. San Mames, is a longtime importer of -- you guessed it -- vanilla and saffron (his import store, for online wholesale orders only, is across the street at 949 Valencia), which explains Xanath's ample window display of fragrant beans.
Flavors range from the traditionally pleasing to the experimental, from Dutch chocolate and Mexican vanilla bean to saffron and orange-pomegranate sherbet. On a recent visit, the strawberry was creamy, fruity, smooth, and balanced, while chocolate-mint had just enough minty oomph to keep us licking. And after shelling out almost three bones for one admittedly hearty scoop of ice cream, the signs hyping free organic cocoa and powdered cinnamon toppings seemed practically generous.