By Carmen Honker
What better way to escape the intense summer heat, than with a refreshing, homemade popsicle?
From riverside stands to quintessential coffee shops, here are the best places to find a perfect pop in the District.
Pleasant Pops (Adams Morgan)
Interested in sampling the popsicle flavor that President Obama ordered when he visited the rustic Adams Morgan café and shop? Then be sure to order Pleasant Pops’ best-selling strawberry ginger lemonade pop — it does not disappoint. The café serves handcrafted “paletas” (Mexican style ice pops) using fresh ingredients, with staple flavors including Mexican chocolate and chongos (sweet cream and cinnamon). “The big difference, aside from the fact that we’re small and a family-run business and making everything by hand, is just the quality of ingredients,” says co-founder Roger Horowitz. From humble beginnings at a Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market stand and then as an ice cream truck, Pleasant Pops opened its brick and mortar storefront in September of 2012. It remains a hotspot in the neighborhood for morning coffee, baked goods and, of course, thirst-quenching pops. Puppy Pops are also on the menu to keep your four-legged companions’ tails wagging year-long.
Dolci Gelati (Shaw location)
Award-winning pastry chef, Gianluigi Dellaccio, knows how to craft a killer Dolci Pop (a gelato-based popsicle, that is). Dellaccio’s unique creation allows customers to savor gelato in a new, customizable way. At the Shaw location, guests begin by selecting a base flavor: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or the acclaimed salted caramel. Next, customers are given the option to dip their pop in a variety of chocolate coatings and garnish it with sprinkles. The mere experience of creating your own pop is worth a trip to Dolci, let alone the sensational quality. If you are in search of a new, exciting dessert for a charming end to date night or a fun family outing, this will become your new go-to.
Read our full interview with Gianluigi Dellaccio, Ambassador of Gelato.
MARACAS Ice Pops (Wisconsin Ave. and K Street)
The perfect picture of a Georgetown summer: Families and couples relaxing and enjoying a lively fountain with a rejuvenating homemade ice pop from MARACAS in hand. Inspired by the “paletas” of her childhood home in Mexico, founder Julia Padierna-Peralta prides herself in serving artisanal ice pops with seasonal fruit and no artificial flavors or colors. “MARACAS wanted to offer frozen fruit pops made with mangoes and coconuts recently pulled from the tree, and strawberries and peaches recently harvested,” Padierna-Peralta explains. With an arsenal of more than 50 flavors and a menu on their mobile carts that offer 10 popular flavors, MARACAS caters all types of events — whether it’s a corporate meeting, a daycare center party or a government-sponsored festival, MARACAS does it all. Their special edition pops are reminiscent of a delicious fruit cocktail, each containing five beautifully displayed fruits. Be sure to ask for Tajin seasoning sprinkled on top of your pop for a delightful addition to compliment your authentic paleta.
The Dairy Godmother (Del Ray)
A fan-favorite, boutique custard shop in the heart of Del Ray, The Dairy Godmother offers a large selection of rotating fruit and herb flavors in addition to dairy-based popsicles. Russell Gravatt, who took over ownership from beloved founder Liz Davis in 2017, makes all of the pops by hand on site with six flavors up for grabs each week. Spice it up with fresh fruity flavors like strawberry basil, pineapple five spice and mango lime — perfect for a pick-me-up after a trip to the year-round Del Ray Farmers Market on a sunny Saturday. Or opt for flavors like Thai Iced Tea and Root Beer Float for a cool post-dinner treat. FUN BONUS: Snag a Puppy Pop for your furry friend.