My last post was about a giant slice of pizza, this time it’s about a Giant Banana Split. I am a firm believer that quality over quantity is the best way to fly, but some things are just more fun when they are large! I have to give you a little more history this time around, I currently reside in Lexington, NC the self-proclaimed “BBQ Capital of World” and home of the celebrated Lexington Barbecue Festival which is featured in the acclaimed book 1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. & Canada Before You Die . Why might I be giving you all of this boring information about some small town in North Carolina and BBQ? Great question!
One of the benefits of living in this area is there are no shortage of great BBQ places in town. I’ll have a separate write up on Lexington Style BBQ in the near future, promise! One of these places is called Barbecue Center and on their menu is an inconspicuous item that is simply called “banana split.” I would have just moved on and ignored it as I normally do with desserts, but the first time I was there someone ordered one of these monsters so I vowed to come back with an empty stomach and attack this monster in it’s natural habitat.
Fast forward to a year later, I had returned with an accomplice (Tiffany) to help with this mission. Before I build up any further anticipation or explain this marvelous ice cream concoction it’s time for a picture.
Please collect your jaw from the floor, clean up the newly formed puddle of drool, and let’s get back to business. This may not be the world’s largest Sundae or Banana split, but it is one of the largest regular menu dessert items I’ve ever seen a human served. When it comes to ordering this you have choices; you have to pick what three flavors of ice cream you will be served. In our case we went for the highly unorthodox combination of Chocolate, Dark Cherry and Birthday Cake. The traditional banana split would come with Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate but we wanted to mix it up a little bit. You can get any combination of ice cream they have which is pretty nice.
The base starts with one banana cut in half length wise. Split, I guess you could say. After that they add three generous “dips” (which are called scoops where I come from) of each flavor ice cream. Then the fun really begins. Next, they add a generous helping of glorious walnuts in caramel: these nuts are life changing. It is like the richest, runniest German Chocolate cake frosting, sans coconut of course – Tiffany doesn’t normally like nuts but she made an exception for these. They then add a healthy coating of chocolate sauce, this was nothing super special just run of the mill chocolate sauce from a dark brown squeeze container – I’m not a chocolate expert so this is fine by me. Then they apply whip cream from a can and finish it with a single cherry on top. Sounds simple enough, but they have this down pat!
Here’s another image with the giant banana split in front of me, for a sense of scale and Tiffany moments before she attacked this behemoth.
As some added comedic relief, we had this on May 5th, 2011 – aka Cinco De Mayo. Not exactly traditional food for this celebratory day, but we got by just fine. In case you hadn’t noticed this is a ridiculously large amount of ice cream for 2 humans, in particular when one of those humans is named Tim and is mildly lactose intolerant. It was fun at first, mixing the various combinations of flavorings together to find out what we liked best, racing to eat it before it melts, as good as this Banana Split, seeing it and eating it with your eyes is half of the experience. Barbecue Center was fairly busy this evening and Lexington is a very family oriented city and naturally there were families eating dinner there while we were gorging on ice cream. We were the hero to every child in the restaurant, jealousy was very apparent as they were forced to eat normal dinner food and we were eating a ridiculous amount of ice cream.
As I mentioned above, initially conquering this beast was fun, but after a while it was a battle of human vs. ice cream. Eating it quick enough so it doesn’t melt on us, but not so quick that we suffer brain freeze. After 10 minutes or so I was actually full of ice cream, something I’ve never experienced before, it hurt and we still had two and a half “dips” of ice cream to go. Thankfully we triumphed.
But it did not come without a price, I think the look on my face accurately summarizes how I was feeling after we finished the Banana Split in a word, pain.
If you are ever in Lexington, NC, want to try something other than the famous BBQ, and have an itch that can only be satisfied by a giant banana split I STRONGLY recommend checking out the Banana Split at Barbecue Center – the best news, this monster was only $6.50!