The other weekend I bounced around the country to attend a wedding in Columbus and then a wedding in the Bay Area. I was very excited to be back in the Bay, as it had been a few years. San Francisco has been one of my favorite cities since I was a little kid. My original plan was to visit from Thursday through Tuesday (wedding was Saturday), but then my other friends’ wedding got schedule in Columbus for Friday night. I still planned to make the most of my time in the Bay though.
One place that had been at the top of my list whenever I returned to San Francisco was CREAM (Cookies Rule Everything Around Me). I discovered it in a South Florida Business Journal article probably about six months ago. A high schooler had visited the Bay, fell in love with CREAM, and was now bringing a series of franchises to South Florida. The concept is that you pick your cookies and your ice cream (plus toppings if desired) to make a custom cookie ice cream sandwich. It’s similar to Diddy Riese next to UCLA’s campus. I visit Diddy Riese pretty much anytime I visit UCLA or Westwood (mostly because my friends always wanted to go), but I could only partake in their ice cream in a cup…
After reading the article I looked over CREAM’s website out of curiosity and saw they have three gluten-free cookies! This was a total game changer because I had a lot of pent up craving for cookie ice sandwiches from visits to Diddy Riese over the years (the smell of the cookies at Diddy Riese is out of control!). At the time I was really hopeful the South Florida locations would have gluten-free cookies as well, but I was going to have to wait until December to find out (when the first South Florida location opens according to the article). I followed CREAM on Instagram (I must enjoy tormenting myself for some reason) and got mentally prepared to wait until December. Luckily I learned of my friend’s wedding in the Bay, so a trip to CREAM was happening a few months early!
My friend’s wedding was in the Oakland hills and so my friend and I got a hotel in Berkeley for the night of the wedding. I was excited to see that a CREAM location was two blocks from our hotel AND it was open until 2 AM! The wedding was an earlier one (4:30 PM), so a trip afterwards to CREAM was absolutely in the cards.
Once we got back to the hotel after the wedding, I got the whole group interested in going. We walked over and there was a line out the door, but not too crazy (it wasn’t at a Diddy Riese level). Through the window I could see the display case of gluten-free cookies (they also have vegan cookies). Unfortunately I only saw gluten-free Snickerdoodle and White Chocolate Fudge cookies (not the Chocolate Chip Cookie I was hoping for). Unfortunately they were in fact out, but I went for the Snickerdoodle cookies with Peanut Butter Twist ice cream in the middle. They heated up the Snickerdoodle cookies (in a wrapper in the oven) and then added a big scoop of the ice cream in the middle.
The big headline is that I was really impressed with the gluten-free Snickerdoodle cookies! Going into it, I assumed they would be packaged gluten-free cookies or maybe from a gluten-free bakery that had made them in advance. I thus wasn’t expecting anything that amazing (plus they had been sitting out). I don’t know if my assumptions were correct, but the Snickerdoodle cookies were soft and chewy and way better than I was expecting. I would have eaten these cookies by themselves and considered them a great find. I don’t think many gluten-eaters would have suspected they were gluten-free either. The cinnamon flavor and crisp made it a great complement to the ice cream and the overall package of a cookie sandwich made it a true treat. I had expected a good amount of the the ice cream to come out and for it to get messy, but I was able to eat it without much trouble. This first visit to CREAM completely lived up to expectations (which were insanely high from following them on Instagram for many months).
I ended up in Berkeley again two days later to see some friends and the hope that they would have Chocolate Chip Cookies this time led me to make a return visit. Alas they only had Snickerdoodle and White Chocolate Fudge again, but it didn’t seem appropriate to waste a visit. I went for the White Chocolate Fudge cookies with Salted Caramel ice cream. It was still a treat, but I regretted not getting the Snickerdoodle cookie again. The White Chocolate Fudge gluten-free cookie was more what you would expect from a gluten-free cookie (more dense) and I’m less of a full chocolate cookie fan. It also was a bit messier to eat this time, but luckily they had given me a paper boat container this time to catch the lose ice cream.
CREAM’s pictures on their Instagram (and on friends’ Facebooks, Instagrams, etc.) are addicting and mouthwatering. I would say the real experience is just as mouthwatering and I’m very glad they have gluten-free cookies. You can’t go wrong with cookies and ice cream together. I didn’t realize until looking at their website now that the vegan cookies I saw are apparently also gluten-free (the signs in the store say just vegan). A great option if you’re both and maybe on return trips I’ll try one of those (if I visit so many times I go through the regular gluten-free cookies. High possibility). Those vegan gluten-free flavors are Banana Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, and Chocolate Fudge. Gluten-eaters have a wide range of other cookies to pick from (including Red Velvet, Turtle, and Peanut Butter), plus waffle cones, brownies (you can make a brownie sandwich), and their CREAM taco! Yes a sugary taco with ice cream in it (check out their Instagram for pics). Unfortunately no gluten-free version of the taco, but that’s to be expected. The ice cream flavors are similarly varied (including some soy ice cream for vegans) and there are seasonal flavors. If you’re in the Bay, see if a CREAM location is close to you. I am very excited for it to open in South Florida (hoping they have gluten-free cookies as well) and to make many many visits!
CREAM- 2399 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704 (other locations across the Bay Area, SoCal, and Nevada)