Respectable is an understatement - I lived in SoFla for a decade, and this is easily the best KLP I have had away from home.
Maybe we should start a key lime topic? Only half kidding there. Maybe even a quarter since I've always liked how there are deep substantive topics on this site devoted to different foods.
I intended the word "respectable" as tongue in cheek. That aside, I really enjoyed the slice I had at RTS, finished it without hesitation and thought it a very good version.
Have also spent a lot of time in FL though. As a resident and regular visitor. Enough time to know that much of the KLP there is made with crusts pre-manufactured by large processed-food companies (with HFCS and other sundry chemicals) and fillings with all manner of colorings and additives. The easiest way to spot a poser KLP is when it's green; of course should be more yellow (like Rays). The generally sad state of KLP in SoFla isn't much different from the poser KLP one finds anywhere else.
Part of the challenge in FL is that key limes as a local, viable, commercial crop were wiped out by hurricanes in the 1920s and 1930s. As a result of weather and economic changes, much of the early 20th century key lime industry was summarily replaced with Persian and different imported limes which have different (most would agree less preferable) flavor profiles.
"the introduction of the seedless Persian lime in southern Dade County took its toll on the Key lime. The Persian, plus other Mexican limes, were shipped in and repacked in Florida crates, ending key lime farming as an industry for the Upper Keys. "
More recently, even the bigger foreign sources have had challenges ranging from weather to corruption.http://www.nytimes.c...ed-species.html
And, this is a great overview of the history.http://www.nytimes.c...ml?pagewanted=1
Bottom line, because it is harder, more time consuming, and more costly to use real ingredients in KLP (crusts made from scratch, condensed milk, key lime juice not from a bottle and quality egg yolks), most places cut corners whether in FL or elsewhere. Really no different from most any type of traditional or historical food. And, because "real" and "authentic" KLP relies on a small number of ingredients obtainable most anywhere, can find great ones from coast to coast thanks to bakers making them the "right" way. Florida has no lock on this anymore other than from branding and marketing standpoints.
Most people probably don't care about stuff like this or just aren't interested in it. But those who are might agree that the "best" KLP would be from a maker who has access to locally-grown key limes (so fresh and not transported over a week or two from Central America) and locally-produced eggs, along with the desire to make them the "right" way.
Again though, while I have no idea about the specific ingredients in Msgr. Landrum's Key Lime Pie, it was very good and thoroughly enjoyed by two of us who ordered it. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn they're made the "real" way in Arlington at Rays even if the key limes themselves aren't grown in a local greenhouse like Tweaked's nascent pineapple crop. :-) (Love that story!)http://www.donrockwe...aches-fruition/