I hate to complain about ice cream. But I had heard and read plenty of good things about Maggie Mudd. It has four stars on Yelp, and Erica, my usual accomplice in the Ice Cream Adventures, had already given the place a thumbs up. But when it finally came time for Roy and I to trek over to Bernal Heights to try Maggie Mudd, I found that I had set my expectations a bit too high.
The problem with rotating flavors is that the flavors you’ve read about online may not be available on any given day. So to begin with, Roy and I were disappointed with our options. The dairy flavors were fairly basic, and even the non-dairy list lacked many of the flavors we had read about on Maggie Mudd’s website. In the end, Roy ended up going with coffee (dairy.) I asked for the Island Jitters – non-dairy, coffee ice cream with fudge ribbons and macadamia nuts. The ordering process went something like this:
Me: “Island Jitters on a cake cone please.”
Maggie Mudd Employee: “Which cone? This one?” She points to the same cone that Roy ordered, a sugar cone.
Me: “No. Cake cone.” I point to the cake cone on display.
M.M.E.: “Oh, okay, sorry, it’s hard to hear in here.” (And the music playing in the shop was, indeed, a little loud.)
The woman proceeded to take a sugar cone, the same kind of cone my friend had ordered, and scoop some of the Island Jitters into it. By the time I saw what she was doing, I didn’t stop her for fear of wasting a perfectly good cone. I order my ice cream in cups a lot, so I can’t really speak for the knowledge of the workers in other shops, but to know the difference between a cake cone, a sugar cone, and a waffle cone… this is a basic rule. So Maggie Mudd lost points just for that.
It was an odd experience. The ice cream isn’t displayed in a case right in front where you can look at it before you buy it, and no samples were offered. Roy and I might have thought to stick around and enjoy our ice cream inside, but there were only two small tables, one of which was occupied and one which didn’t have any chairs surrounding it, and off to the side, two clear plastic bucket chairs that looked a little dirty. So, we continued on our way.
And finally, the vegan-ness of the ice cream. Since it can’t be made with dairy, Maggie Mudd vegan ice cream is made with either soymilk or coconut milk. The Island Jitters was of the coconut variety, and maybe that’s exciting if you are actually vegan and would otherwise have no chance of enjoying a delicious ice cream treat every now and then. But my “coffee” ice cream tasted purely of coconut. It was actually quite a pleasant flavor, and the macadamia nuts were a great addition, but if all the ice cream is like this, I can’t imagine being able to get past the overwhelming coconut taste in any of the ice creams they offer. Maybe this just warrants a repeat visit on a day when the flavors are more appealing, but with its off-my-beaten-track location and the memory of my first visit, I probably wouldn’t make much of an effort.