We embark for our meal at Dee Dee's in less than favourable weather conditions. On a day where the light sprinkle of rain is not a welcome relief to the heat--- rather an addition to fog and a chilly breeze ---I'm not all that keen on ice cream.
But when we arrive at the little purple storefront on Cornwallis Street, my shivering body and heart are warmed by the smiles from the two gals behind the counter. Dee Dee's is as cute as can be: A once-small ice cream stand in Peggys Cove, it expanded first to the Farmers' Market and now to this storefront location. The menu has grown, too, with the addition of burritos ---an odd combo, but one Dee Dee's does incredibly well. The shop is tiny but uplifting, with just two tables; we're lucky enough to come during a lull and manage to score a seat. It's counter service.
I order a salad plate ($6.50) with the addition of guacamole ($1.10), while my friend chooses The Works burrito with chicken ($10.85). Cheese and sour cream are an additional charge at 90 cents and 60 cents, respectively, but banana peppers and jalapeno sauce are complementary. As we wait for our order, I ask for water and get a glass. I'm impressed that I'm not being charged an arm and a leg for a bottle. My friend chooses a Lemon Squeeze to drink ($2.50). As we look on, a server squeezes the juice from one lemon and adds a dash of simple syrup, ice and water. It's deliciously refreshing.
The salad plate is an excellent idea as it lays all of the burrito ingredients bare so as to taste each flavour. And flavour it has in spades. The platter of organic refried black beans, salsa, rice, lettuce and corn chips is filling, but leaves room for dessert. I'm in heaven. The guacamole is smooth and creamy with a distinctively lime-y top note. The salsa is so fresh it's as though the tomato, onion, green pepper and jalapeno were pureed in a food processor just moments before.
My friend's burrito is fantastic. The Works features, well, the works---a 12-inch flour tortilla with organic refried black beans, rice, free range Nova Scotia chicken, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, cheese and guacamole. With one bite, my friend groans and says, "You gotta try this." The flavours are classic Mexican and meld together so as to include a taste of everything in each bite. It leaves him with a goofy smile on his face.
Knowing that ice cream is in store, I save room for dessert. The patient staff encourage us to sample the varieties until we find our favourites. Since we are already on a lemon kick, we each end up preferring two lemon-based options. My friend opts for the regular size (two scoops/$3.90) and our server offers to make it two different flavours. He decides on a scoop of blueberry-lemon, topping it off with one of mixed berry.
When I ask the server her favourite, her face lights up as she sighs "the Shaker Lemon." With a reaction such as that, I have to give it a try. I order the smallest size option, one scoop for $3 (the kiddie size). The rich, slightly sweet cream is accented by a ripple of tangy lemon and studded with pieces of lemon curd. You can tell it's homemade---and it's sensational.
Though eating out is primarily about the food, the culmination of the other ingredients---service, atmosphere and people---are what make for a truly fantastic recipe. As we leave, blissfully licking our ice cream cones, I'm sad to go and even tempted to pop my head back in to see if they're hiring.
The environment at Dee Dee's is what makes it so special, and that makes their ice cream all the more sweet.