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Salt & Straw offers quality ice cream at exorbitant prices


As one of the newest ice cream shops to join Downtown Palo Alto, Salt & Straw, located at 250 University Ave., has established itself as one of the most popular, with lines consistently out the door, above-average ice cream and high prices.

The wait to be served varies depending on the time of day that you go to get ice cream. To simulate a typical trip to a local ice cream shop, I went at 8 p.m., right after most individual’s dinnertime.

After about 35 minutes of waiting in line, it was time to order. The process was nothing out of the ordinary. As a customer, you can sample flavors, then order and pay.

The line moved  slowly and the store seemed understaffed as there were unmanned registers that could have been put to use to speed up the process.

The quality of the ice cream just about made the long wait in line worth it. However, I would say that despite having some of the best ice cream around, Salt & Straw’s prices are too high to make it a go-to spot.

A single scoop of ice cream was upwards of $5, which seems ridiculous.

To make your dessert even more expensive, you can order a sundae instead, which comes with a brownie or a blondie. Salt & Straw makes milkshakes as well, but they are no exception to the price standard.

In many cases, with increasing price comes increasing quality, which is true of the ice cream here. I tried a multitude of flavors, including Chocolate Brownie, Orange Sorbet, Strawberry Tres Leches and Cookie Dough. I am happy to say that all four of these flavors impressed.

The Chocolate Brownie was my favorite. The base chocolate ice cream was good enough to stand alone, and the addition of brownie chunks certainly made this one stick out. The ice cream was smooth and rich enough to taste like I was getting what I paid for, but not so  rich that I felt sick after eating a scoop.The brownie chunks were spaced out perfectly so I could get about one piece in every bite without even trying.

I have never been a big fan of sorbets, but the Orange Sorbet quickly put that to the test. It was a bit sour, which I appreciated, but anyone with an aversion to highly sweet or mildly sour sorbets should steer clear of this item.

The Strawberry Tres Leches was delicious at first, but after getting through about half of the scoop, it tasted so rich that I had enough. It is very good ice cream, but I would not buy it again because of the ice cream’s price.

The Cookie Dough is one of Salt & Straw’s signature salted ice creams, and it was definitely a close second to the Chocolate Brownie.

The light hint of salt complimented the cookie dough chunks perfectly, and the product was a smooth, tasty, creamy and balanced ice cream.

Overall, I recommend Salt & Straw for those who do not mind dropping a few extra bucks to get quality ice cream, because it is good ice cream, but the prices are too high.

One who truly cares about the quality of their ice cream is getting what they are paying for, but one who just wants a random sweet treat should look elsewhere.

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