We Love Food: Summer’s Last Stand

Ice Cream Desert, taken by Lotus Head (Creative Commons)

Ice Cream, taken by Lotus Head (Creative Commons)

I love this time of year.  The chilly evenings go really well with the beautiful warm days.  The leaves are about to turn colors.  And, just about any week now we are going to get another famous DC Indian Summer.

When Indian Summer hits all I can think about are all the summer things I want to do one last time.  And that means only one thing:  I’m going to be jonesing for some Ice Cream.

So, to help out everyone in DC, I’ve compiled a short list of three great places where you can get your fix.

The Dairy Godmother

Many is the time I’ve finished eating down in Del Ray and wanted to take a quick walk.  All roads, in Del Ray at least, lead to this great little place.  You know you have found it if just outside the door are lots of people licking cones and plenty of dogs who really want something to hit the ground.

Inside you’ll find three great flavors of custard.  Dairy Godmother, as the sign by the door describes, uses a Minnesota recipe for custard ice cream.  It’s heavier and richer than regular ice cream and the flavor really comes out.  DG makes all of their custard every day, using two machines specially made for custard.  One churns out vanilla and chocolate every day.  The other has a much better job – it makes a constantly changing list of specialty flavors.  They also have a great selection of sorbets, and specials which include ice cream with cookies and other great pastries.

Dairy Godmother changes as fall crosses the DC area.  As I arrived to talk to them, they had just taken delivery of a whole big box of spices.  Apparently fall allows them to get more creative with spices, adding to flavors like mulled cider and pumpkin.  Fall also means more baked goods, which go well with all the custard.  Hot and cold.  I may have to come back after Indian Summer is over.

Also, for anyone planning a little holiday party, they make multiple flavors of custard cakes for any occasion.

DG is open Wednesday through Sunday, and closes for the month of January (because “the holiday diets really drive down business”).

Dairy Godmother, 2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301

Mr. Yogato

For those of you in the city, this is great little place to stop by.  It’s right down the street from the venerable Sushi Taro on 17th, mixed in with the collection of other businesses hiding on that block.

But don’t miss this place.  There is nothing “usual” about the yogurt coming out of these great machines.  They have multiple interesting flavors, including the “original soft”, “original tangy” (I warned you it was interesting), Fidberry, and Kiramel.  Fidberry – yep, a berry flavor – is named after the first customer and first person who came and ate for thirty straight days.  Kiramel, the caramel flavor, shares the same distinction.

What makes this place great is the eclectic – okay, crazy – rules and contests.  If you can stop humming Mr. Roboto long enough to look around, you’ll find signs on the walls offering all kinds of discounts depending on your level of participation.  Answer the trivia question?  10% off.  Willing to have a Mr. Yogato stamp put on your forehead?  10% off for you.  Memorize Braveheart, and can quote it from memory?  20% is your lucky discount.

With a really friendly staff, and willingness to poke fun at itself, this is the perfect place to come on a warm fall evening and just hang out.  Just don’t let the staff get too close to you with the stamp.

Inside scoop: Although it isn’t announced officially yet, Mr Yogato will start to offer a full service hot chocolate bar starting this Saturday.  I spotted multiple flavored syrups, and they already have a great selection of toppings.  With those kind of options, its bound to be a winner.

Mr. Yogato, 1515 17th Street NW, Washington, DC


If you find yourself in Clarendon on the warm fall evening, having just eaten at one of the multiple outdoor restaurants in the area (Wilson traffic isn’t really that loud, is it?) make this the next place on your list.  Like Mr. Yogato, Boccato has been open for about three months now.  Except this tasty little find is all about the gelato.

This little shop, an extension of the small grocery store right next door, has a huge selection of great flavors.  After staring at the case for several minutes I hit on the Chocolate Hazelnut.  A real winner.  Of course, you can’t go wrong with gellato, but even so the flavors really stand out.  And they even have a few that are made with skim milk – how non-fattening that is can be debated later.

The small but cozy atmosphere here makes it easy to get samples of several great flavors.  The staff is really helpful and can explain how anything in the case was made.  And considering that it is just far enough away from the restaurants to keep the crowds away, service is usually only a few minutes.

Boccato, 2719 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA

Because, let’s face it, the last hurrah of summer can’t go out any better than with a cold ice cream cone.

Jonathan Baker

came to DC, left for San Francisco, and then realized he couldn’t live without a daily fix of politics and came back. When not traveling to crazy locations, he speaks and writes for a major software house in CA.

2 thoughts on “We Love Food: Summer’s Last Stand

  1. I am obsessed with Boccato! I think they’re the reason I barely fit into my winter pants. I blame it on the XXX flavor. Or the mint chocolate chip… that or the dolce de leche. or the tirimisu. or… well. you get the point. Also, have you tried the Nutella latte? I never get up to Clarendon in the A.M. so I have yet to try it but it sounds *SO GOOD*!