The weather is finally starting to warm up* and with warm weather comes the triumphant return of the custard files!
The custard masters at Shake Shack must be reading our dream journals because chocolate peanut butter pretzel is something out of our collective subconscious. As we have learned before, the custard flavors with chunks–cake, cookies, doughnuts– cannot be blended into shake form (Julianna takes some issue with this, citing cookies and cream milkshakes as an example of blendable chunks) so we both went with a single scoop in a cup.
Since this was our first custard date of 2011 we decided to splurge and get lunch as well, so by the time we got to our custard it had gotten a nice and gooey. The general consensus was this was the most custard-y custard we have had to date. Often the line between frozen custard and ice cream isn’t particularly apparent, but in this case the rich egg-y goodness that makes frozen custard so tasty was front and center. The chocolate peanut butter custard almost had a mouse-like texture to it and the pretzel bites were nicely distributed. The general consensus was that this custard was pretty close to perfect.
That previously mentioned richness, however conquered Vanessa, and she was very sadly unable to finish her scoop (this might have had something to do with the burger and fries she had just eaten). Julianna, on the other hand, was wishing she had had the forethought to order it as a concrete with caramel added.
After much debate we give it a 4.75, but add some caramel and this thing would be OFF THE SCALE.
*after all the snow we had this winter 45 degrees is AWESOME.
Rating: 4.75 (julianna’s 4.5 and Vanessa’s 5)
There was a lot of anticipation for this flavor. Both Vanessa and I LOVE coconut and caramel-y things. Vanessa had memories of a dessert at a DC tex mex restaurant called “cajeta” that was a coconut caramel-y treat and she was hoping that the custard would replicate that. I just can’t ever get enough coconut in my life, so I was excited.
We split a milkshake and in an effort to replicate the cajeta we created a concrete of the custard with walnuts (we would have preferred pecans), caramel, and coconut. The milkshake didn’t pack as much of a coconut-y punch as we would have liked, and the caramel was a bit too sweet. The concrete also could have used more coconut. It was good– but not good enough. It could have used more coconut flakes and maybe a saltier caramel. The bites of pure custard in the concrete however, were pretty awesome, so we thing we should have gone with custard over a milkshake this time.
First, let us give props to Julianna for her mad computer-drawing skillz. We keep on forgetting to take pictures of our custards because we eat it too quickly, so she has stepped up to the plate and provided illustrations. *Golf clapping*
Anyhoo, fall is finally here in NewYork, so this flavor was a nice introduction to the colder months to come. It was, as the name suggested, cinnamon-y and spice-y, and reminded us of a chai latte. It worked better as straight custard–the flavor got diluted in milkshake form. Julianna also complained that her milkshake was not “milkshake-y enough”–and Vanessa is still trying to figure out what that means. Julianna insists the milk-to-custard ratio in her shake was skewed, but that’s not the actual custard’s fault. In any case, it was a nice fall flavor–nothing ground-breaking, but enjoyable notheless.
Sadly Vanessa was unavailable for taste testing on Sunday, I had to call up a few guest testers. Raquel, Kristen and I already had plans to see Nortorius and Notable at the Museum of the City of New York, so this seemed like a good time to check out the new Upper East Side location of Shake Shack.
To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of the new location. It was super crowded and the subterranean garden level feel of it is a little unsettling. The garden seating is nice however, and gives you a little more of the Madison Square Park feel.
But really, the issue at hand is Figs & Honey Custard. Both my taste testers risked lactoses intolerance induced upset stomach to try the custard, and i think the general consensus was if it made anyone sick it would be well worth it. The fig flavor was right on, although not too over powering, and the honey added sweetness without fighting with the fig and complementing the richness of the custard. It definitely tasted like pureed figs had been used.
I thought it would taste extra great in a milkshake, giving a light smoothie like quality to the drink. Kristen and Raquel recoiled at the idea of more milk though, understandable I guess. I couldn’t really think of anything that would have improved it, not even salt or peanut butter!
We were very curious about this flavor. We love red velvet cake (it seems to be in abundance both in the South, where Julianna is from, and Brooklyn, where we both live now), We were worried, however, that it would be cake batter-flavored custard dyed red. It was a pleasant suprise when we were handed a cup of what appeared to be vanilla custard with small pieces of red velvet cake in it. It was an even MORE pleasant suprise to find the custard actually tasted like cream-cheese frosting (which sounds gross, but is actually good).
The dissapointing thing was that the proportions were off. We wanted more red velvet cake chunks (as a cake is mostly, well, cake, with some frosting, whereas this tasted like all frosting with a bit of cake.) Still, pretty tasty.
We were both excited and apprehensive about this flavor. Excited because it obviously contains chocolate, and anything that contains chocolate is a friend of ours. The apprehension we blame on 30 Rock–on the show, “chuckle” is a local delicacy of Stone Mountain, Georgia*, hometown of Kenneth the Page. What is chuckle, you ask? Well, it’s gross, so click here for an explanation. Even though we are aware this doesn’t exist in real life (…right?), the similarity in name was a bit disconcerting. What made this custard so chuckle-y, we wondered???
We both got shakes and had different reactions. Julianna tasted super-chocolate, like chocolate custard blended with chocolate syrup, while Vanessa instantly tasted chocolate peanut butter. After a few tastes, Julianna came around to Vanessa’s way of thinking. So there you have it, folks–Chocolate Chuckles is a fancy (and worrying?) way of saying chocolate peanut butter. While not the most innovative flavor, it was pretty satisfying.
Rating: 3.5 (average vanessa’s 4 and julianna’s 3)
*Author’s note: Although Stone Mountain is portrayed as Hicksville in the show, in real life it is actually a nice suburb of Atlanta. We very much doubt they eat chuckle there.
This has been “Today’s Special” since at least April. Every week when we go to shake shack I look longingly at the description of “vanilla custard mixed with real fresh strawberries and orange-poppy caramel.” August’s Monday Flavor is Salted Caramel and since we had already reviewed that, I decided it was time to try out this so-called special. Vanessa went a different route and we will have her review later.
Back to the “Standing Order,” at first I was a little weird-ed out by the texture of the poppy seeds through out the caramel, but they grew on me. The contrast of the citrus-y caramel with the vanilla and the fresh strawberries was awesome. I would have liked it if the strawberries had been a little more pulverized, because there is something a bit strange about the texture of a frozen strawberry. But that is a minor complaint, all and all, I would encourage you to try this special!
August is full of great sounding flavors! Melon! Basil! and if you missed it at the beginning of the summer, go back for Salted Caramel!
We decided to start august off with the Cavaillon Melon. Julianna did a little bit of research and it seems that a Cavaillon Melon is more or less a fancy name for a small french cantaloupe. And like many things from France, it can only be called a Cavaillon if it comes from Cavaillon. Since Shake Shack tries to obtain most of their ingredients from local producer’s, we hope these aren’t true Cavaillons.
On to the taste testing.
Vanessa had to be somewhere by 6 so we decided to just split a cup and walk to Union Square while we ate it. Although we both love melon and were excited to try this flavor, we were nervous about melon in a rich dairy environment. We tried to push our hesitation aside since we were recently proven wrong by Sweet Corn. Unfortunately, this was no Sweet Corn. The custard was pretty enough, a pale orange (Vanessa had been hoping for something a little brighter!). We are no super-tasters, but the initial taste seemed indistinguishable from cantaloupe. That would have been fine if it hadn’t been for the after taste. Vanessa described it as such “vaguely medicinal, but not like Robitussin. More like when you get a pill stuck in your throat and it doesn’t have a sugar-coating, bitter.” The custard also left strange filmy feeling in your mouth, Julianna thought it similar to the feeling you get after eating a cheap doughnut, oily and chemical. This all seemed odd since Shake Shack doesn’t use artificial flavors in their custards. We could only blame it on the combination of a strongly flavored melon and the rich eggy custard. Certain flavors just don’t mix well. Lets hope Basil works out better!
For our last July tasting Vanessa wasn’t able to make it, so I had to request help from my friend Casey.
We were pretty excited about strawberry-pistachio, it seemed like it would be a very refreshing treat since we have been having such a hot July. Casey went for the single dip of custard and I went all out for the milkshake. Both the custard and the milkshake were tasty, sadly we were so overwhelmed by the flavor of the fresh strawberries that the pistachio was hardly noticeable. Casey had been hoping for more of the salty pistachio to contrast with the sweet strawberry. I felt that the richness of the custard added to the overall taste, but I also would have like more of a pistachio flavor.
We were extremely apprehensive about this, and assumed it would be Momofuku Milk Bar-esque (their soft-serve flavors have included cereal milk, peach tea, and stuffing) situation–weirdly kitschy, fun to eat for about two seconds until you realize it is just too strange to continue. Vanessa conjectured that Sweet Corn custard might taste like Corn Pops cereal–which Julianna is not a fan of. With this in mind, we didn’t even get a milkshake, but instead opted to share one serving.
Oh, but how wrong we were! It was a perfect blend of salty and sweet, with a real, rich custard taste and just a hint of corn flavor. It was both unique and delicious–a hard combination to pull off. Clearly we were being punished for being such timid testers. After quickly finishing our shared helping of Sweet Corn, we agreed that we still didn’t really want it in a milkshake. What we did want was the custard slathered with hot caramel topping (and perhaps chocolate sauce because, as Julianna says, everything is better with chocolate). In any case, we are sure the caramel would make in even more intensely salty-sweet.