Friday Night Bites: Powder offers a unique twist on classic ice cream

Catherine Conrow

Friday Night Bites, Bark’s newest review segment, highlights hip places to eat and hang during your night on the town. From delicious desserts to superb suppers, The Bark knows where to go to tantalize your tastebuds.


Tucked into a brightly lit, modernist space, Powder, a small storefront in San Francisco, offers the perfect after-dinner treat for those looking for a dessert that is lighter than ice cream.

A San Francisco take on the classic Taiwanese dessert, Powder makes their shaved snow from filtered water and organic dairy from Straus Creamery. The mixture is frozen into ice blocks in cylindrical containers and is then shaved into paper-thin ribbons, creating the illusion of freshly fallen snow.

Topped with shaved almonds, mochi and a wafer, the matcha green tea shaved snow is a delicious treat despite lacking strong flavor.
Topped with shaved almonds, mochi and a wafer, the matcha green tea shaved snow is a delicious treat despite lacking strong flavor.

Powder’s menu is constantly rotating, but flavors usually include classics such as black sesame, Vietnamese coffee and horchata, while seasonal flavors like cereal snow pop up on the menu as well.

Toppings change seasonally as well, and highlights include local honey, mochi, organic coconut flakes and sweet milk glaze.

Though pricey ($5.50 for a regular, $6.50 for a large and $0.50 – $0.75 per topping), serving sizes are generous and all shaved snows come with a delicious crunchy wafer.

The custom Vietnamese coffee combination with a chocolate glaze and raspberries (extra $0.25) was one of the best flavors sampled and the coffee flavor is neither too sweet nor too bitter.

The seasonal fruit tasted fresh and the chocolate sauce added a nice, creamy texture to the flaky treat. Overall, the flavors work well together and the desert is an upgrade from traditional coffee ice cream.  

Likewise, the Matcha green tea shaved snow with shaved almonds and mochi is another refreshing treat. Unfortunately, the green tea flavor lacks sophistication and strong flavor; but to make up for it, this combination is the most visually appealing.  

The mochi topping is surprisingly good and had the perfect, subtle sweetness. Though it is not filled with ice cream like other types of mochi, it has a pleasant, gooey consistency that added much needed flavor to the green tea shaved snow.

In hindsight, the sweet milk glaze would have been a pleasant addition to the green tea combination as it would have added a nice, creamy texture that the shaved snow was missing.

The strawberry shaved snow with a sweet milk glaze and mochi is another delicious combination. The glaze blends nicely with the strawberry flavor and adds depth to the flavor.

However, the mochi toppings were smooshed together in the bowl and it would have been preferable for them to have been spread out. Although the shaved snow melts in your mouth, it would have been nice for the flavor to be retained longer.

The strawberry shaved snow with TCHO chocolate crumbles and oreo toppings enhances the strawberry flavor. The TCHO chocolate crumbles adds an interesting, fluffy texture to the already airy dessert, and is nicely complemented by the oreos lining the sides of the bowls.

However, it would have been preferable for the oreos to be served in smaller pieces instead of whole cookies.

Unfortunately, the strawberry combinations were the least visually appealing of the shaved snow flavors tested.

Like any shop in San Francisco, parking near Powder is extremely difficult to find and usually requires some walking to get to the store. However, its location is fairly simple to navigate to and it is only about a 10-minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Even on a weeknight, the tiny store was packed and there was not enough space for customers to stand in line and for others to eat inside, as only a single small bench was available to sit on.

Offering a simple, easy-to-get-to treat, Powder is ultimately a unique addition to the crowded San Francisco dining scene and serves as a fun Friday night outing.