It has indeed been freezing in San Francisco of late, but because Tuesday was the only day that Erica and I both had off, we ventured out to the Cannery in hopes of finding a hot fudge sundae that would make the journey seem worth it. So there we stood, in our peacoats, mittens, and scarves, waiting to be granted entrance into the tiny space occupied by Norman’s. “Where is the door?” I wondered, staring at the sticker-covered glass and contemplating why there was no opening so we could step in out of the cold. And that, we learned, is the first lesson about Norman’s: call before you go.
(415) 346-3046. The number was posted on a sign in the middle of the Cannery, and it’s an easy one to remember, which is good. We called it about four times on a long walk around Fisherman’s Wharf. Killing time wasn’t hard; we found the free peppermint bark samples at Ghirardelli and popped into Lola’s for cards and assorted gifts. But I guess Norman’s doesn’t open until 3 on Tuesdays, which is a good thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking you’re going to try and get there at 2 and it’s 40 degrees outside.
Once you actually do get inside, Norman’s Ice Cream is quite good. Possibly because he figured he wasn’t going to have a ton of business that day, the owner let us know we could try as many samples as we liked. Caramel Prailine is good, and there’s a flavor called something like Peanut Butter Decadence that is incredibly decadent. We couldn’t even fathom choosing it as the ice cream for our sundaes because it would be a rich chocolate overload. Coming from us, that’s saying something. Highly recommended if you want a single scoop by itself, though. We ended up with Hot Fudge Sundaes — mine with Espresso Chip ice cream and Erica’s with Thin Mint. Thumbs up on both. The sundaes are not so gigantic that it’s ridiculous to try to finish, and the owner’s wife, we learned, makes the fudge herself. With nuts, whipped cream and a cherry, not a bad deal for $4.95.
From the Cannery, we walked up Grant toward downtown again, stopped in North Beach to find the other Lola location, and eventually found ourselves at Union Square to watch the ice skaters. After our chocolate sundaes, it was only fitting that we close the evening with a hot chocolate, and Emporio Rulli seemed the perfect place to do just that. Definitely makes for a good outing if you can stand it, because a walk from Fisherman’s Wharf to Union Square by way of North Beach is a fantastic way to take in the holiday sights (we wondered if the snowflake lights along Market street always come on at exactly 4:52 pm.) Just make sure you start out with some of those 10-hour hand warmers. The double dose of chocolate will be worth it.