Our story begins four years ago on a riverboat, on the Amazon in Brazil. Atlanta native Robb Duncan, 28, meets Violeta Edelman, 21, from Buenos Aires. Things get steamy in the jungle. In short, they fall in love, marry and settle in Edelman's hometown. And that's where Duncan discovers helados artesanales -- artisan ice cream in the Argentine style.
"I was just blown away," says Duncan, a computer consultant who moved last year with his wife to Washington. "I'd never had ice cream like that before, so creamy and rich and dense but with less fat, less air. All I could think about was bringing this culture to the States."
About two weeks ago, the couple did just that. They opened Isee Icy -- a chic ice cream parlor fashioned in white marble and tile, with floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. There's a cool seating area on a floor above, furnished with retro-Danish modern chairs that they found at flea markets in Buenos Aires.
In all, more than 30 flavors are available ($3.25 per scoop). One flavor, Sorrento lemon, is wickedly clean and crisp. Chocolate hazelnut is awesome in a cocoa-nutty sort of way. Some have a swirl of intensely sweet dulce de leche -- long-cooked sugar and milk. This is not ordinary ice cream.
"It's really gelato," says Edelman, referring to the dense-textured Italian ice cream, "with recipes from Bologna. There are a lot of Italians in Argentina." Edelman's favorite flavor is called banana split. She may be far from home, "but smashed bananas with dulce de leche was the first food my mom gave me. It always reminds me of being a little girl, growing up," she says. "For me, that's dessert."
Open Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday through Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight, closed Monday. Isee Icy, 1560 Wisconsin Ave., NW; call 202-333-4646.
-- Walter Nicholls