I was in Mt Pleasant heading towards a festival when I happened across Mt Desert Island Ice Cream that appeared quite popular. I made note of it and returned after the festival. A sign proudly declares “Fearless Flavor.” Mt Desert takes that seriously, as they have flavors that can be found nowhere else. I now have a new favorite ice cream shop.
Mt Desert Island Ice Cream is a small chain, started in 2005 by Linda Parker in her home town of Bar Harbor, Maine. The town of Bar Harbor is located on an island off the coast of Maine, Mount Desert Island. The ice cream shop has five locations; the one in Mt. Pleasant is the only one in DC. There are also two in Bar Harbor, one in Portland Maine, and even one in Japan! The shop became famous when Barack and Michelle Obama visited in 2010.
When I visited their Mt. Pleasant location, I was struck by the kinds of flavors they have. Mt Desert has standard flavors such as Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, and Strawberry. But they also have some very unique ones such as Blueberry Sour Cream Crumble, Thai Chili, and Pain Perdu. Thai Chili is a coconut flavored ice cream spiced up with dried red peppers. Pain Perdu is a French Toast (!) flavored ice cream with cinnamon and maple swirled in. (Pain Perdu, “Lost Bread” in English, is the French name for French Toast.) There are also a few non-dairy options: Cortado, Caramelized Pear, and a Cucumber Lime sorbet.
On my first visit I had a cup of their Girl Scout flavor. Inspired by thin mint cookies, it consists of a chocolate mint ice cream base with chunks of brownies mixed in. These are big chunks of brownies, so you can really taste them. Combined with the rich and creamy ice cream, this is a must for any chocoholic.
I made a second trip a few days later. I was thinking of trying the Thai Chili, but changed my mind once I found out it had coconut in it. I was also interested in the Sherry Catalana and inquired about that. It is a wine flavored ice cream. To go along with it, I also ordered the Butter Beer. Both ice creams where creamy with mild but distinct flavors. The pairing worked out very well. I highly recommend them, either separately or together.
Mt Desert Island a very small place. The waiting line is essentially the outside staircase in front of the building. So don’t let the long lines fool you, as once you get to the door there is very little waiting. And once you place your order, the ice cream comes out quickly. While there can be a little bit of a wait, it is worth it.
For more ice cream options in Washington DC, check out my article Ice Cream in DC.