Washington DC has added another great ice cream parlor to the list. I was in the Shaw neighborhood in DC, looking for a place to have a quick snack. I happened upon an ice cream place that makes the ice cream on the spot to order — using liquid Nitrogen. Nicecream. I’ve been to place that make ice cream fresh before, but it was Asian style rolls, not scoops of ice cream. I guarantee you will not find ice cream fresher than this.
Nicecream is the brainchild of College sweethearts, Gil Welsford and Sandra Tran. They started in 2013 on the patio of the Science Club in Dupont Circle and quickly added several farmers markets. Their first first store front opened in Clarendon, Virginia in 2014. In addition to the location in Shaw, Nicecream can also be found at Adams Morgan and Old Town Alexandria. The Shaw location opened in Sept 2018.
A bank of electric mixers sitting on the counter is used to make the ice cream. There are 7 mixers, one for each flavor of ice cream. Once the ingredients are placed in the bowl, liquid Nitrogen is poured in and the mixer is turned on, churning the cream. In less than a minute, you have freshly made ice cream. It makes for quite a show.
On my first trip there, I ordered the Brownie Sundae. Other options include cups or pints of ice cream, a cookie ice cream sandwich, or a cookie sundae. The Brownie Sundae consists of a brownie, warmed in the toaster oven, with three scoops of your choice of ice cream flavors, and topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and two cherries. Being in a festive mood, the flavor I chose was the Candy Cane Crunch. I was not at all prepared for how good this turned out to be. In addition to having that distinctive candy cane peppermint flavor, the ice cream has crushed bits of candy cane in it. But that was not all! On top of all that, it had white chocolate chips mixed in as well. Exquisite!
As good as it was, though, it did not go well with the brownie. The flavors just did not work together. I will get this sundae again, but it will be a better pairing.
The Candy Cane ice cream was very good, but how are their other flavors? A couple of days later, I went back to try some. You can get cups of ice cream in three sizes. Small: 1 scoop/1 flavor, Regular: 2 scoops/2 flavors, or the Sampler with 6 scoops of ice cream! I was not going to eat a sampler by myself, so I went with the Regular. To get a taste of how their basic ice cream tastes, I ordered the Vanilla Bean. My choice for a second flavor was another seasonal offering: the Pumpkin Pecan Pie.
Both were amazing. The Vanilla Bean is delicate, having a mild vanilla taste. And it was just slightly sweet. A lot of vanilla ice cream is way too sweet for me. I think people try to compensate for the mild flavor with sweetness, going to far and making it overbearing. Nicecream has the balance just right. The Pumpkin Pecan Pie similarly had a light pumpkin taste, with small chunks of pecans mixed throughout. A good mix of flavors. Both were very soft, very reminiscent of soft serve, and wear easy to eat.
I feel Nicecream has combined the convenience of soft serve ice cream with the quality of hand scooped. Their confections are incredibly soft, but with amazing flavor combinations. They are a great addition to the DC ice cream scene. They are open for take out only during the pandemic, and seemed to be doing a good business selling their pints.