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Exotic Organic Ice Cream and New Pizza Treats

    Tara Esperanza was making art in New Mexico when she was given an ice cream maker. She started experimenting in her kitchen. Friends were blown away. She made more ice cream. Flavors became her palate. Ice cream became her art form. An ice cream shop in Santa Fe became her taste-treat gallery with creations such as adzuki black sesame, goat cheese raspberry, hibiscus agave, chocolate tarragon and many more. Lucky for us, Tara and her artist and handyman husband, Raciel, decided to settle in Oakland earlier this year and open a second ice cream shop, Tara’s Organic Ice Cream—in Berkeley’s Elmwood district. “We were getting many of our ingredients from the Bay Area, the weather is great and we love it here,” she says. A favorite with locals is the Turkish coffee ice cream—$3.60 for a small cone and $5.35 for a medium. Cones, of course, are made fresh in the shop.
    Tara’s Organic Ice Cream, 3173 College Ave., Berkeley, (510) 655-5014; noon–9 p.m. Sun., Mon., Wed., Thu., noon–10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., www.tarasorganic.com.

    Pizza dough, muffins and cookies made daily from scratch; virgin olive oil and fresh, natural ingredients: It’s crazy that this should be anything other than the norm. Fortunately there are those who agree. Charles Hopkins, who recently opened Popo’s Pizza in partnership with his wife, Betty Timbers, has put good health on the menu along with deliciousness. Hopkins graduated from San Francisco’s Culinary Academy 20 years ago. He wanted to cook then, but financial responsibilities pushed him into the hotel industry. Then, when a family health crisis hit, he opened a construction business. Finally he’s in the kitchen, marinating rotisserie whole chickens ($10.95) for 24 hours in his special concoction and creating his Sassy Chicken pizza ($17.95, 14 inch) with the slow-roasted birds. Popo’s is chiefly takeout, but watch for expansion.
    Popo’s Pizza, 1671 Eighth St., (510) 663-7676; 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, www.popospizza.com

—Wanda Hennig
—Photography by Lori Eanes

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