For July and August, we're bringing Chilled to Go: weekly posts on the best things you can get for takeout to beat the heat.
For $2 you can make your tongue turn orange, perk up with some sugar and cool the heck off in one of our summer afternoons.
TC Shaved Ice is filling Styrofoam cups with frigid sweetness in its 33rd year of business, and this may be the year we need it the most.
Sitting up on Garland Road, it might be a drive for you — but take it. At the very least, the drive through Lake Highlands’ large trees makes for a pleasant route on a sun-filled day. Then finally, after finding yourself on the busy road, you’ll see the brightly painted, tiny building.
Vertical bars cover every window while a sun-soaked picnic table stands out front — definitely skip that seat that will scorch you badly enough that even a snow cone won’t help.
But shaved ice will help cool you off if you stick to the drive-thru on the side of the building.
There are rules here: Drive up to the small window, go through the seemingly countless flavors and pay with cash, and cash only. (That's a particular bummer during this pandemic — add it to the list of reasons to keep hand sanitizer nearby at all times.)
“Mango” is on a sign in a bigger font than the others, and a recent afternoon was such that I couldn’t resist one of my favorite flavors. But of course, it’s syrup, not fruit, we’re talking about.
Was it the color of a mango? No. Did it taste like any mango? No. But it still tasted good and sweet enough — a flavor that makes you feel like it’s summertime from when you were a kid. Maybe it was a snow cone, maybe it was a Slurpee, maybe it was one of those long, rectangular freezes that your parent had in the freezer — you know, you had to pull them apart on the perforation and squeeze the sweet ice into your mouth. (I’m not the only one not to know immediately what those are called, by the way.)
A spoon and cup are better than that with similar sweetness and ice that, even when it’s 95 degrees outside your car, nearly feels too cold.
The friend who recommended the East Dallas go-to for this stuff-to-keep-you-cool series has some favorite flavors: a dreamsicle and wedding cake combo or tutti frutti with wedding cake.
You can also add a scoop of ice cream or — if this is your thing, and it apparently is for some — chopped pickles for $3.50. If someone knows a flavor that tastes good with pickles, holler, but I’m guessing it’s not the sour apple syrup.
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You only need a few bucks, unless you’re feeding a crowd — and you’re surely not because of the coronavirus. A small cup is $2, a medium is $2.50 and a large is $3. Add cream for 50 cents or extra juice for 25 cents — but the serving is plenty as is.
Summer 2020 doesn't feel all that much like summer. By the end, will we have a summer song? We're not running to jump in public pools, even if the city did just open updated aquatic centers last year. We're not sharing backyards to have neighborhood barbecues. The list of nostalgic niceties that have been ripped away this year goes on, unfortunately.
So if one small, white cup offers that bit of summer feeling while chilling you off for the afternoon, why not take it?
TC Shaved Ice, 10999 Garland Road (Lochwood). Open for drive-thru only 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; and noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.