Welcome to this installment of the BYT ME, where every frisé, sautée, filet and brulé is out for itself.
This BYT Me is devoted to the very crucial cause of choosing the best ice cream shop in the district. My two other ice cream aficionados and I set out to find that superlative scoop – that one cold, creamy, dense, intense, rich, scoop. That defining, divine, deliciousness.
We started at the Dupont staple, Larry’s Ice Cream, occasionally known as “ice-cream-place-with-that-guy-who’s-a-dick.” Maybe I was the only one to call it that – but still, previous to last night I always went there grudgingly, wanting to go to someplace close and local, but NOT LIKING the perpetual grump and dickishness coming from behind the counter. Examples: When you ask if you can have a sample, he growls “NO”. When you ask him to describe what one of his 55 flavors is, say – Fred and Ginger – he’ll say “ice cream”. And etc., etc., etc. Well, last night my cohorts were able to break through his wickedness. To my great embarrassment, it turns out I can’t always detect deliberate crustiness and irony. It’s his shtick. Like – the Soup Nazi of ice cream. Dur. When he says “NO” to your samples, he gives them to you anyway with a wink. I guess I always missed the wink… Last night, Larry was a sweetheart, delighted to indulge us with as many tastes as we wanted (and we wanted a lot – it was our first stop and we were STARRRRving). He even brought over his favorite flavors to sample, including chocolate chunk, halva, libido, and his absolute favorite – cinnamon oatmeal cookie dough chocolate chunk, which he also called ‘ice cream crack.’ And. I’m kind of craving another hit today.
Feeling ambitious, each of us ordered our own small cup of ice cream – one lychee (refreshing, light, creamy!), one paradise (raspberry with chocolate chunks – like buttery raspberries – a sure favorite of the evening), and one fred and ginger (our least favorite – we couldn’t even figure out what the flavor really was…it wasn’t ginger, but wtf was it?).
Next up was Cold Stone Creamery, up in Cleveland Park. If you haven’t been to CSC, it’s exactly like Maggie Moos. And if you haven’t been to Maggie Moos – do you hate ice cream or something? Are you a communist? These places offer mix-ins. Basically, you pick an ice cream base, and then you have your pick from the ‘finity toppings which they mash and mix and smoosh into your ice cream. Instead of choosing from one of their “Cold Stone Creations” (‘marketing scam!,’ says Haley), such as Rocky Road Trip (chocolate with roasted almonds & double marshmallows), cookie minster (mint ice cream with oreos & fudge), and germanchokolatekake (chocolate with pecans, coconut, brownies & caramel), we designed our own which we called the HiLo. Because it gets you high…and then you crash into a too-much-sugar low. The HiLo has a coffee ice cream base and is mixed with brownies, reeces peanut butter cups, and graham cracker crunch. Um. Heck yes.
Despite that CSC is sort of a chain (a franchise), they have annoying flavors described perfectly by Jason as ‘not natural, in a fake-boobs kind of way,’ and that the store blares John Mayer at level 11 (it was his first album – shout out to his second album which is actually kind of tight! omg did I just say that out loud on BYT? street cred so gone.), we kind of loved it. Our concoction was awesome. CSC is not something you feel elegant about eating – it just kicks that craving for something sweet and sugary and over-the-top.
At this point we were starting to feel the effects of 7lbs of ice cream on empty, adult, lactose-unfriendly stomachs. But fear not! Your intrepid BYT ME testers trudged on. To Georgetown, this time, for Thomas Sweet, where we saw more docksiders, pastels, and sweaters strung over necks than was good for our already ailing stomachs.
Thomas Sweet is a Washington, DC mainstay. You will encounter a line out the door on practically any warm spring or summer night. But it moves quickly (unlike CSC) and provides for some interesting people watching. In all truthiness, by the time we got to Thomas Sweet we were not at the top of our game. Each of us was so stuffed from all the taste tests and scoops we could barely tolerate the idea of getting more ice cream. So we tried their black raspberry sorbet, which, sadly, was not as good as their ice cream. It tasted like frozen koolaid.
Having experienced Thomas Sweet many (many, many) times before, I can say that it’s got some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. But in the end, we agreed that Larry’s won out overall. For its richness in every bite, its variety of both classic and funky flavors, and for its neighborhood feel.
I would say, though, that you should check them all out, because each of them has some redeeming qualities. Plus, there are like, 7 days in a week, right? Plenty of time to try out all your options. (Tell me I’m not the only one who eats ice cream on the daily…?)
Bec, your Jaded Palate correspondent;
jaded so you don’t have to be.
Cold Stone Creamery
3508 Connecticut Ave, NW (bet Ordway & Porter)
$$ = $8 for a mix-up with 3 add-ins in a waffle cup (edible like a cone, but shaped like a cup)
Open until 10p
3214 P Street NW (corner of Wisconsin & P)
$$ = $3-$4 for a small cup
Open until 11p