Wednesday, July 5, 2006


The door to Island Style Ice Cream opens, and in walks 11-year-old Nailah Dunn, carrying a colorful poster she's made as a gift for the 15-month-old Mount Rainier shop. On it, she's drawn scoops of pistachio and guava ice creams and a banana split, all on the menu. Owner Pancita Brydson -- P to her friends and customers, many of whom are both -- admires the poster before scooping Nailah's favorite: cookies and cream. "It's the best ice cream in the world," says Robin Dunn, Nailah's mother.

Brydson is thrilled by her customers' enthusiasm -- and she's still getting used to it. "One night, a bunch of police come rushing in, and I'm like, 'Oh my God, what happened?' " she says, laughing. "All they wanted to know is, 'Where's the ice cream?' "

The ice cream is made from organic ingredients that Brydson, 47, buys from the food co-op Glut, just down the street. She makes 20 flavors, many of them tropical, a reflection of her childhood in Savanna-la-Mar, Jamaica.

"When we were little, my father would make ice cream to give to the kids in the neighborhood," Brydson says. "His specialty was Grape-Nuts ice cream." Vanilla ice cream studded with crunchy bits of cereal, it is Brydson's most popular flavor.

For us, the biggest hits were the full-flavored coconut, the sweet-spicy ginger and the mango, its fruity flavor as bright as the rich yellow ice cream. Brydson's own favorite is strawberry, and, with fresh organic strawberries stirred in, it's easy to see -- and taste -- why. The ice cream costs $1.75 for kid size, $2.20 for a single scoop and $3.60 for a double. Each flavor can also be bought by the pint ($4.25), quart ($8.25) and half-gallon ($12.50). Brydson's ice cream is also available at the nearby Glut Food Co-op, Third World Food in Hyattsville and the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op.

Island Style Ice Cream, 3829 34th St., Mount Rainier. Open Monday 1 to 9 p.m., Tuesday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 8 p.m. Call 301-927-0066.

-- Matt McMillen

Freelance writer Matt McMillen last wrote for Food about Rita's Water Ice.

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