Editors' pick

Thomas Sweet Ice Cream & Chocolate

American, Ice cream
$$$$ ($14 and under)
Thomas Sweet Ice Cream & Chocolate photo

Editorial Review

This longtime fixture on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue and P Street is where you go to feel like a Georgetowner. You're in privileged company -- a photo by the entrance documents President Obama's visit last month.

The shop, which has been around since 1984, is the kind of place that Washington natives take their out-of-town guests. And enough madras- and boat-shoe-clad prepsters pass through the doors to assure you that this is Georgetown.

No one notices the forgettable interior -- fluorescent lighting, drop ceiling and green laminate tables -- because the menu absorbs all the attention. The flavors, written on a blackboard hazy from so much erasing and updating, go from classic to sophisticated -- cafe au lait, hazelnut, sweet cream, butter almond. Thomas Sweet's signature mix of ice cream and toppings is the "blend-in," and some flavors are blends already: Think mint or coffee Oreo, vanilla or coffee Heath Bar. Chocolate, the other half of Thomas Sweet's offerings, can be customized into any shape with an advance order. There are also cookies, coffee drinks and, because everyone has them these days, tart yogurt and cupcakes.

When you're sitting under a green umbrella by a basket of petunias, doing nothing more than watching the passersby and spooning up ice cream made in-house, it's easy to pretend you are as rich as the people who own the houses around the corner.

-- Anne Kenderdine (July 20, 2011)