I originally thought posting a piece about IT’S-IT, a West Coast ice cream sandwich in late autumn might seem a bit out of touch, but then I remembered reading a thread on Reddit or maybe it was on a Rogan podcast, suggesting that a secret society of global ice cream makers have been conspiring to perpetuate global warming over the last century. Apparently this New World Order of good humor men, working under the direction of JFK Jr. have been plotting with a sect of reptilian airline pilots to drop chemtrails in efforts to extend the ice cream selling season. As I'm typing this, I realize it's absolutely possible that I’m confusing things. Ever since the alien abduction, my mind has never been quite the same. Nevertheless, given the facts, it seems perfectly on-topic to drop a little knowledge about this hot weather foodigenous, even at the end of November.
The Other San Francisco Treat
In 1928, exactly 50 years before The Chipwich was invented, George Whitney was looking to create an exciting new concession for his stand at the famed San Francisco amusement park Playland-at-the-Beach. He sandwiched an oversized scoop of vanilla ice cream between two freshly baked oatmeal cookies and smothered it in a dark chocolate shell. The idea of an ice cream sandwich wasn’t exactly new at the time. According to author Jeri Quinzio’s book Of Sugar and Snow: A History of Ice Cream Making, the first ice cream sandwich was sold by an unidentified New York City push cart vendor in 1899. But unlike the thin wafer cookies hawked by that NYC street merchant, Whitney’s grainy old fashioned oatmeal base and chocolate coating was unique and delicious. When he asked his coworkers to taste test, after the first bite one exclaimed “It’s It!”. He had found his new food and appropriately named it. The unusual oatmeal and ice cream combo was sold exclusively at the park until it’s demolition in the early 1970’s.
Thankfully the demise of Playland didn’t mean an end of IT’S-IT. According to their website, the ice cream sandwiches were moved to a small shop in San Fran’s SOMA district where they continued to be made individually by hand. Nostalgic grandparents looking to share their childhood memories with their grandkids mixed with Haight and Ashbury hippies with a sweet tooth. Quickly popularity grew within the Bay Area prompting the company to move to a larger facility 20 minutes down the highway to Burlingame, Ca.
Nowadays IT’S-IT products can be found in many popular retail stores West of the Rockies. In addition to their pumpkin, green tea, strawberry and cappuccino flavors, the traditional favorites vanilla, chocolate and mint can all be purchased on their website and Goldbelly. All their packages proudly shout out their San Francisco origins. Whether in the summer or winter, don't hesitate to give your California grandma's favorite ice cream a taste!