When we go to the States we try to get our fill of things that we just can’t get back in Rome. Dim Sum, bagels, brunch and any other variation of American and/or ethnic food is high on our list. As are burgers and fries. And oysters. And things we didn’t even realize we missed.
Like Key Lime Pie.
On a whirlwind drive through the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn with our friend Edward and his son Sam, we stopped at an astonishing number of new places that have popped up over the last few years. Barbecue houses, lobster shacks, chocolate factories were all on our itinerary.
As well as this Key Lime Pie shop. Yes. A shop that sells just one thing, and one thing only: key lime pies. You can get them in a few sizes. They also sell a version on a stick, covered in chocolate called a Swingle (because in American you can get just about anything served on a stick).
The location? In a semi abandoned warehouse right at the edge of the water in Red Hook. No, there is no public transportation. And yes, it is awful hard to get to. Why is it there? I would imagine almost zero rent has something to do with it. Because how do you make a go of it by just selling key lime pies? (just asking)
The shop itself is minimal. A small room with a wooden counter in the back where you place your pie order. The bright orange walls are supposed to suggest some sort of Florida ambiance I guess, and the tank full of goldfish did make me think tropics. Kind of.
But if you do happen to find yourself in Red Hook, do try to get here. Because the crispy graham cracker crust, filled with custardy, creamy, sweet tart, key lime goodness is worth it. The secret: freshly squeezed key lime juice. And only key limes, with their distinctive aroma and high acidity. Makes all the difference.
That, and the incredible view of the Statue of Liberty across the harbour.
Now I have one more thing to add to the list of things I miss about the States when I’m back in Rome.
Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie
185 Van Dyke Street (at the very end)
Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York
P.S. If you don’t feel like heading all the way to Brooklyn, the pies are also available at several retail locations in Manhattan. Check the website for details. But really, getting there is half the fun.