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Whiskey Pecans (Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream)

Jeni Britton Bauer is finally scooping her splendid ice cream in the District

About seven years ago I fell in love with an out-of-towner. The affair was ongoing, sweet and addictive, and I couldn’t wait to return each time to the Ohio town where we first encountered one another so I could get another fix.

I’m so happy now that I no longer have to go out of town to feed my craving. Now that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream has opened its first East Coast shop (yay!), and it happens to be in Washington, D.C. (double yay!)

On October 5, Jeni Britton Bauer--who’s been crafting amazing ice cream for more than two decades and whose ice cream cookbook was given a James Beard Award--opened the doors of her 32nd (!) shop. Her D.C. outpost is located on 14th Street and open everyday from 11am to 11pm. Just what makes Jeni’s ice cream so special? Where do I start? The eclectic flavors! The creaminess and texture that comes from using natural ingredients including milk from grass-fed cows! The fact that we no longer have to travel far (or seek out pints in speciality grocery stores or order them online) for our delicious licks!

Her latest digs boast 3,000 square feet and were designed by Gensler (who recently designed the Washington Post’s new headquarters). D.C. is the first location to have two floors: both levels are inviting, but the second floor is especially sunny and welcoming with a patio-like feel.

Okay, know before you go: you’ll want to try more than one flavor. My advice? Opt for the Minis, either three, four (or more!) half scoops, served in a bowl with a fresh waffle wedge. (Um, I always go for at least four, which used to be called a Study and in D.C. goes for $7.)

Jeni’s signature flavors are joined by limited edition and seasonal ones. Right now the menu’s signature side is touting around nine options, including the one she’s most known: Salty Caramel. It’s reaaaallly good, but since I was a big Butter Brickle fan as a kid, I actually prefer the rich and nutty Brown Butter Almond Brittle. Coffee fans will love the Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso, made with ground espresso beans from the Chicago coffee company.

But it’s the fleeting flavors that aren’t available all the time that always have me really giddy. If you see Sweet Potato With Torched Marshmallow (sweet, earthy and charred deliciousness), Queen City Cayenne (dark chocolate and a throat-tingling spiciness), Goat Cheese With Red Cherries (tangy, tart funkiness) or Juniper & Lemon Curd (like the ice cream version of a Gin Martini with a twist of lemon), by all means get them. All of them.

Of course, there are other ways to enjoy Jeni’s frozen treats. Pick your favorite flavor to be slathered between two scratch-made macaroon cookies for an ice cream sandwich ($7), create your own sundae or order the Strawberry Betty or the Coco Rococo ($8), top your scoop with anything from sprinkles (free) to smoked almonds ($1), or drizzle on salty caramel, honey butterscotch, extra-bitter hot fudge or strawberry ($1 each).

If you need me, I’ll be in front of the blackboard deciding on the five flavors I want in my bowl. No judgment.

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