They tell me the first step is admitting you have a problem. So here it goes: I am shamelessly, hopelessly, horribly in love with ice cream. Now, I say ice cream, but in actuality, ice cream is a pretty generic term for what I really mean – frozen treats. I don’t care if it is gelato, custard, actual heavy-cream ice cream, or even italian ice. As long as it is sweet, and frozen, it qualifies. My partner in crime for ice cream loving is my friend Melissa, who has the genius idea to host an ice cream bar at her wedding. She’s the only one who truly understands my love. We’ll talk about going to a Nat’s game, and the first thing out of our mouths will be “OOOOH DIPPIN DOTS!” It’s a passion, not just a hobby, people.
So when I was informed that July is National Ice Cream Month, well, then, fine. That sealed it. I had to share with you, my dear We Love DC reader, my favorite ice cream (loose term) eateries in the city.
Moorenkos: So I have to start with my all time favorite. I was introduced to Moorenko‘s last summer at Ray’s Hell Burger. Melissa and I would make special pilgramages to Hell Burger JUST FOR THE ICE CREAM. I finally had to go out to the actual shop in McLean myself for some straight-up ice cream loving, where I told the founder and owner Susan Soorenko that I loved her ahem, Moorenko’s ice cream so much I drove my ass to McLean and she told me I wasn’t the only one to make the pilgramage. Moorenko’s has since moved to Silver Spring (WHY GOD WHY) but I can still get my fix at ice cream savvy area eateries. Moorenko’s is located at 8030b Georgia Avenue Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Thomas Sweet: No summer evening in Georgetown is complete without a visit to Thomas Sweet. With lots and lots of flavors, this established Georgetown sweet shop is a favorite with students, neighborhood folk and tourists alike. Not only do they crank out tons of ice cream flavors, they also have frozen yogurt (low fat and low sugar) for the calorie conscious. In addition to the frozen treats, they also create all kinds of chocolate dipped snacks and are well known for their fudge. Thomas Sweet is located at 3214 P St NW (between N 32nd St & N Wisconsin Ave) Washington, DC 20007.
Dairy Godmother: President Obama (or at least his wise foodie staffers) knows what is up. Dairy Godmother, is what is up. Located in quaint Del Ray, Alexandria this custard-ery (or whatever you call it) is well loved, lines often wrap through the shop and out the door during Summer. Frozen custard is super creamy, but lower in calories and saturated fat than it’s ice cream brethren. Keeping the flavor offering small but creative, Dairy Godmother haunts me on Twitter daily, touting the special flavor of the day. In addition to custard, the Godmother also offers creative sorbets. The Dairy Godmother is located at 2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301.
Boccato Gelato and Espresso: Last summer a little miracle happened in my neighborhood. Boccato was born. It was glorious. And for a while, it was hidden, because it did no PR, no marketing, just opened it’s doors to Wilson Boulevard and went with it. These days, benches litter the sidewalk and the line spills out the front door. My roommate and I sometimes debate going for a walk on a hot summer night, only to gasp “OOH LETS GET GELATO!” and scurry out the door, $5 in hand. The best part about Boccato, other than the fantastic gelato, is the fact that the scoopers don’t tire of letting you try the flavors. Most of them are named cryptic things like El Coco (not chocolate, coconut) or XXX (dark, deep chocolateapalooza), and the girls behind the counter happily scoop up samples and suggest things you might like. Boccato’s flavors ring true to their fruit dopplegangers – Grapefruit, for example, is like eating a frozen grapefruit. One evening we tried all of the flavors in the case before deciding. (We are obviously heavy tippers at Boccato.) My standby flavor is Oreo Biscotti, you cannot go wrong with it. I adore everything about Boccato and cannot get enough. Boccato is located at 2719 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201.
Haagen-Dazs: So I debated whether or not to put a chain on here, and if I was going to put a chain on here, then why wouldn’t I put Ben and Jerry’s. Well, I love Ben and Jerry’s but nothing is quite as lovely as licking up a dripping ice cream cone from the Chinatown Haagen-Daz while sitting on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery at dusk. This is epic summer perfection. Rich, calorie-laden ice cream, paired with a humid DC summer night and some of the best people watching in the city. How can you not list that? Plus, Haagen-Daz does traditional correctly – huge chunks of candy, large carmel swirls, rich vanilla base. It just is GOOD. And that’s what this is all about, right? Haagen-Daz is located all over the city, but my favorite is at Gallery Place, 703 7th Street, N.W Washington, DC 20001.
Gifford’s: Okay so here’s the thing. I realize Gifford’s is a DC institution. But I don’t love it. GASP YEAH I SAID IT, I don’t. It’s fine, but I’d rather go to the number of places I listed above. So why is it on this list? Well, here’s why: milkshakes at the Nationals games. Ooooh, perfection. Especially when paired with a soft pretzel. And what’s an ice cream feature without a little love for the milkshake? Perfectly swirled, creamy and barely slurp-able, Gifford’s makes a solid milkshake to be enjoyed with baseball. Gifford’s has locations all over the city.
So there you have it. Our dear city’s best ice cream. Gridskipper would suggest that I missed a few, namely Max’s Best Ice Cream, and Larry’s Homemade, but I’ve not made it to those two yet, so if you have, and feel passionately, tell it to us in the comments. Other local foodies would feel that I passed over Pitango, the new love of Dupont, but I just haven’t made it there yet either, but I hear only fabulous things. So, again, dish in the comments. What’s your favorite ice cream treat in DC?