The cicadas are back. The spring rains have been making the weeds shoot up like... well, like weeds. It's nowhere near warm enough to run through the sprinkler, but that's no reason not to get a jump start on summer by devouring a few ice cream sandwiches.
Ice cream trucks have already been snaking through the neighborhood. Hail one, however, and you'll have to listen to the ear-splitting din of "Pop Goes the Weasel" and pay through the nose for the same ice cream sandwich available at the corner gas station. Plus, ice cream trucks are for kids. A real grown-up heads to Dad's Cookie Company (3854 Louisiana; 314-772-3662).
The Original Scotch Oatmeal Cookies at Dad's are perfect on their own. These are the crispy, buttery type of oatmeal cookie, not the spongy, cake-like type. Normally, the cookies break crisply when bitten, but when converted into an ice cream sandwich, however, the cookies get softer, with a rich oat-y flavor. Unlike the gummy sandwiches from ice cream trucks, however, the Dad's cookie won't get pasty chocolate all over your hands.
Dad's generally stocks ice cream sandwiches in three flavors. Vanilla is always an option, but past visits have had strawberry, chocolate and cheesecake. The best sandwich uses Ozark Mountain Black Walnut ice cream from Arctic Dairy, a St. Louis ice cream producer. The black walnut has a deeper, more sophisticated flavor than the vanilla ice cream, but lacks the bitterness that walnuts sometimes have.
Fork over $2.29 for an ice cream sandwich, and the clerk will set the flavor of your choice on the store's original marble counter. You can walk around the corner to Marquette Park, perch on the playground equipment and ponder grown-up questions. Like, which is the proper way to eat an ice cream sandwich? In big bites? Or licking around and around and around the edges, catching each drip with your tongue?