The Scoop: on the Elusive Key Lime Dip
Editor's note: Every weekday in July, the Serious Eats editors and staff will serve up their thoughts on everything from sprinkles to soft serve. It's all the ice cream you want, with no brain freeze.
Call me Ishmael.
Every year I return, but every year the answer is the same: "No, we don't have key lime dip."
Actually, because P.J's Restaurant in Wellfleet, Cape Cod, employes suntanned college kids to fry oysters and sling soft serve in the hours when they're not at the beach, the answer is usually, "Key lime? No. I don't think we ever had that flavor but uh, we have chocolate or butterscotch. Or I can do a swirl."
Yes, young one, you once carried that flavor. And no, take your hand off that swirl lever; just give me rainbow jimmies and call it a day. The truth is that I hardly ever order my cone covered in the magical, textural chameleon that is ice cream dip. My preferred topping for soft serve is rainbow jimmies (known as sprinkles to most people, and shots to my cousins in Connecticut). It was only an early gastronomic curiosity of mine, an early episode of FOMOOGE*, that led me to try key lime dip in the first place.
*FOMOOGE: fear of missing out on good eats
Based on looks, key lime dip would only appeal to the Play-Doh eating set. Watching someone dip ice cream into a pool of neon green ooze which immediately hardens into a Pop-Rock green shell is more fascinating than drool-inducing. But when you're constantly worried that someone is eating something better than you, and your sister orders a cone and starts making yum noises, you immediately ask to try a bite. And it was good.
Of course the Summer of the Dip was many years ago, and my memory is no doubt colored by the countless subsequent summers of unrequited yearning. But from what I remember, that dip was the best: a sweet-tangy citrus shell with the punch of a lime Froze Fruit pop. Whereas butterscotch dip always struck me as too heavy, too full of warm toffee flavors for warm weather eating, key lime dip tasted of summer. Like Gatorade, lemonade, and key lime pie all melded into a fragile shell that melted on contact with your tongue. The dip mingled with vanilla soft serve to become like a keylime creamsicle. What else could you want after a long day at the beach?
Unfortunately, I experienced just one brief summer with key lime dip. As a result it's hard to say if it's nostalgia, or if it really was one of the most awesome ice cream toppings ever.
Am I alone? Has anyone else tried the elusive key lime dip? Or has it gone the way of the whale?