Saturday, May 01, 2010

Custard Calender Conclusion

I did it. A full week's worth of Shake Shack flavors in April. I tasted them all and just in time. No, I didn't do it seven days in a row. But I did accomplish it on the last day of the month. Saturday, Sunday and Monday first. And this week, I pushed through the other four days, consecutively, and I was forced to take extreme measures to ensure I reached the finish line. Here are my reviews and a few notes on how I got there.

Tuesday: Gianduja.
The hard-to-pronounce name for chocolate hazelnut that makes people afraid to say it. The hazelnut side dominated, earning this custard more points in my book because I typically don't love chocolate ice cream. The texture was thick and dense, solid. It was like eating the center of a Ferrero Roche chocolate without having to break through the outer shell; you start at the creamy center.

Wednesday: Strawberry Blonde.
Wasn't my scoop stylish? Eating this made me realize that I hadn't had strawberry ice cream in ages. I was reconnecting by way of this sophisticated strawberry, milder as though it had been tamed by a rendezvous with whipped cream. This is strawberry whispering in your ear rather than screaming in your face. But I wished there had been some fruity bits to bring me closer to the real flavor.

Thursday: Milk & Honey.
It was not until I was already digging into this sleek snowball that I realized this flavor was composed of two ingredients I've never really cared for. But I'm glad it didn't occur to me sooner or stop me from trying the flavor. Milk & Honey was smooth, just barely touched by sweetness, reminiscent of condensed milk. Or maybe a little like milk after the cereal (but not the cavity-inducing kind) is gone. But it was a very one-note flavor. I had to work for this one, though.

On Thursday night, I walked down to Madison Square Park and stepped up to the window to order my custard. As I was about to pay the guy told me they had "just" run out and tried to offer me another flavor, vanilla or chocolate. I declined, dejectedly took my money back and left, defeated and sad that my plan to complete a whole week's worth of Shake Shack flavors had come so close to being completed but was now thwarted. I briefly thought about going to the uptown branch —I'd have just enough time — but it seemed ridiculous. Then, I thought, what the hell, it's a story to tell.  And a friend's urging pushed me to embark on the adventure. (I made what probably seemed like a looney call to the guy who answered the phone at Upper West side branch to make sure they weren't likely to run out before I got there.) And so I went and successfully checked off Thursday's flavor.

Friday: Fluffernutter.
Mmmm. Peanut butter and marshmallow custard. I'm not a huge marshmallow fan but here it fluffed up the flavor of the custard and made the base taste like soft serve vanilla ice cream.  The deep swirls of peanut butter were a heavenly addition. I didn't love that it was a quick-melting custard (the textures seem to change based on the ingredients), but it was so good that I didn't mind eating it quickly and could almost have gone for a second cup. Ending my week on this flavor reminded me that the custards with texture contrasts, that are more complex, allowing more than just the first bite to stand out are much more satisfying. The Milk & Honey custard was the last thing I had eaten Thursday night and Fluffernutter was my Friday breakfast. It was a good week.


  1. Navah5:05 PM

    Excellent. I admire your persistence!
    milk and honey was my least favorite. a bit boring-
    can't wait for red velvet!!!

  2. It's fun to see the different textures. I'm still not sure whether I like that there's such variation between them. I want it be more predictable