Retirement isn’t for everyone. Not Rollin Amore, a former financial professional. When he left the banking world last year, he originally considered traveling the globe in his sailboat. He scrapped those plans when he realized he still has too much energy to contain within a 30-foot vessel. Instead, he started a new business, Mimi’s Handmade Ice Cream, located in Crystal City’s Westpost.
Mimi’s, named for one of his daughters, is the latest chapter for Amore, a gastronome. His passion for cooking first reared its head when he was 7 years old, Amore recalls. “I really enjoy making good food, whatever kind it is,” he says. But many of his favorites are inspired by his time spent across Asia for work.
Amore took Northern Virginia magazine’s call on the way to a Filipino market to pick up ube, or purple yams, one of his most popular flavors. Amore gives “ice cream tours” to guests, urging them to sample whichever concoctions they desire and a few of which he’s particularly proud. After the tour, “they usually go for the ube or butterscotch,” he says.
Not that there aren’t basics like vanilla and strawberry among the 32 spots in the case. Amore prefers to call the flavors at Mimi’s “interesting-good,” as opposed to some of the quirkier scoops one might find at hipster chains. Still, he’s experimented with savory flavors, like the numbing heat of Sichuan Spicy Girl, which came to him while dining at Sichuan Jin River in Rockville.
But his best ice creams are those that he creates from fresh ingredients as he finds them. That’s how he invented the gourmet mint, an ultra-creamy spearmint scoop that’s not only different because it doesn’t use more common peppermint; he never uses any artificial flavorings and goes to the market every day for fresh inspiration. This is, after all, a chef who calls Snow Ginger, a custard stoked with fresh ginger, one of his favorite options in his case.
“Everyone loves ice cream, whether you’re eight months or 88 years old,” Amore says. “I like to focus on flavors we know, nothing for shock value.” But despite his efforts, visitors to Mimi’s will be astonished—by the quality of his memorable desserts.
1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington