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Per the guidance provided by the esteemed leleboo in the "where to find it" thread last updated in March...

Posted 02 March 2011 - 03:08 PM

View PostGenevieve, on 02 March 2011 - 02:46 PM, said:

If I have a specific food item I'd love to find, and there isn't a topic in the index for it (it's Chinese, but not fusion or hot pot), where would I post that?

And thank you -- this is an AMAZING resource, so well organized!!

Start a thread for it in Help Needed, and eventually it will move here.

...I hereby submit this new topic for possible inclusion into that pinned index.

We all love certain foods from our childhood. For me, one of these much-loved vices is the simple milkshake. When I was a kid, my dad would take me for milshakes at a local and independent ice cream spot. It had formerly been a dairy queen but, when that frozen chemist pulled out, a local ice cream entrepreneur named Wally moved in. Looking back, I'm not sure Wally's ice cream was actually that great by even my own standards now. But, at the age of 7 or 9 or whatever I was, that ritual, with dad and the huge "monster" milkshakes we got, was a great thing.

More recently--say last 20 or so years--I've become much more particular about ice cream. All my friends know this and many even tease me about it. Long before Michael Pollan published anything about "real food," I decided simply that authentic ice cream, with a small number of easily identifiable ingredients, tasted best. Simple. I'm not a malt guy. Or a fancy flavor guy. Give me a good chocolate, vanilla or strawberry (usually chocolate) shake, made with authentic, rich and delicious ice cream, and I'm happy. And, for that reason, when here in America, I've always only gotten ice cream at spots like Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerrys if I can't find independent shops who are doing it "right" (which I confirm by asking). BTW, even though HD and B&J long ago succumbed to corporate ownership, they still sell basic, pure, delicious ice cream with the only exceptions the B&J flavors featuring embedded cookies or candy.

So, where to get the best local milkshakes.

For my money, the best in our area now is Dolcezza (Bethesda and Dupont).

I think Dolcezza and Pitango have the best gelato in town but Pitango frustrates me immensely every time I check in there for a milkshake. On P St, Pitango has a blender for their affogato drinks. One time, I convinced a staffer there to make me a milkshake but they were totally dumbfounded by this request, insisting simply mixing milk and gelato would never taste right. Nevertheless, they did it. It worked of course but still they laughed, convinced that I was a clueless idiot who knew nothing about frozen drinks. And I never asked them again. Too much pain for too little gain and too much cash. I've been told at the Pitango on Capitol Hill that they couldn't make me a milkshake because "the machine would cost $30,000." That made me laugh...literally out loud. They evidently didn't have a blender at that time a few months ago.

"Huh?," I literally asked the staffer who told me that. "A good blender can be had for $150. Then mix gelato with milk in said blender. That's it. Pretty simple. I've done it myself or bought 'em that way thousands of times. Trust me on this."

Staffer then said, "It wouldn't mix right that way."

Me: "Huh? Of course it would. I do it all the time at home. Most of the other gelato and ice cream spots in town do it exactly that way (or with a frappe can mixer)."

We finally agreed Pitango doesn't do milkshakes because their management doesn't want to do milkshakes. I had to respect that but didn't and still don't get it. Margins are good. Easy thing to train staff to make. Higher price point than cones or cups. Maybe that policy will change at some point.

So, Dolcezza has great gelato but, unlike Pitango, Dolcezza has blenders in their shops and are willing to use them. $7 may seem a bit steep to some but the resultant milkshake is excellent.

Oh, and Haagen Dazs and B&J are also good places to get milkshakes IMO. But, I have the other annoying requirement of getting no fat milk in my milkshakes and the HD and B&J shops don't all stock that. Dolcezza's gelato is lower fat than ice cream. It's delicious gelato. And they make a very simple--and thus very fine--milkshake.

---

[The following posts were split into separate threads:

Rocky Point Creamery (ol_ironstomach)

Thomas Sweet (zoramargolis)

Dumser's Dairyland (cuddlyone)]

Edited by DonRocks
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Milkshakes are a daily occurrence in our household-Bluebunny ice cream in the humonguous tub, 1% milk-my daughter brought 3 kids here after school today & made milkshakes, in our generic blender. I occasionally eat a scoop of ice cream, w/ caramel syrup & dark chocolate chips, or some cocoa powder, but milkshakes are different, it's a communal thing...

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My grandmother made me milk shakes every few days when I was younger. Milk, chocolate syrup, chocolate ice cream and a raw egg. She shook it up in a Ragu jar saved for that purpose. They were frothy and lovely.

Locally, I've liked elevation burgers and brusters. The first thing I go for when I'm sick is a milkshake. Am I a bad mother for not introducing the 4 year old yet?

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darkstar, I'm totally with you, except for the gelato part (gelato?! :mellow: ). A well made milkshake is possibly my favorite food in the world. But it's like finding a good espresso or cocktail: once you've identified a store that serves them, you have to get the right person to make it. Too often the clerk just shoves milk and ice cream in a blender and walks away, resulting in a lumpy, quick to separate drink. It takes time and attention to detail.

I have yet to find a truly good one. Silver Diner's is okay for what it is (especially the black and white). Dairy Godmother can make a good one when they aren't slammed (which seems to be almost never). Actually, in a few weeks they should start offering pumpkin milkshakes for the season. They are out of this world good - give one a try.

Great. Now I feel a bender coming on.

My brother has one of these, dating from the 1950s. Still runs great.

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I hadn't had a milkshake in more years than I cared to remember, when I stumbled on this old-fashioned soda fountain in a old building near 21st and K. it was a revelation. Nothing like the horrible stuff fast food places put out. Too bad that building was torn down and the store disappeared. Then, I discovered the only food the Diner on 18th Street does well--an old-fashioned milkshake made with ice cream, milk, and chocolate syrup, whizzed up in the machine that porcupine linked to and served in a proper glass, with the extra in the metal container on the side.

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darkstar, I'm totally with you, except for the gelato part (gelato?! :mellow: ). A well made milkshake is possibly my favorite food in the world. But it's like finding a good espresso or cocktail: once you've identified a store that serves them, you have to get the right person to make it. Too often the clerk just shoves milk and ice cream in a blender and walks away, resulting in a lumpy, quick to separate drink. It takes time and attention to detail.

I have yet to find a truly good one. Silver Diner's is okay for what it is (especially the black and white). Dairy Godmother can make a good one when they aren't slammed (which seems to be almost never). Actually, in a few weeks they should start offering pumpkin milkshakes for the season. They are out of this world good - give one a try.

My brother has one of these, dating from the 1950s. Still runs great.

I surprised myself at liking the gelato shake as much as I do but, hey, don't knock it until you try it, Porcupine :unsure: . Give Dolcezza a try with a dark chocolate/amargo gelato and let us know what you think. I think there are good discussions elsewhere on the board on the differences between ice cream and gelato (decidedly not the same; both delicious when done properly) but, suffice to say, should be a small number of high quality ingredients.

With milkshakes, I couldn't agree with you more about the importance of technique and attention to detail but that's on par with the ingredients. Both have to be present to yield a great milkshake...or even one I'd drink at all. That's why, in my view, the best technique doesn't matter if the ice cream has corn syrup, fructose, artificial colors, sweeteners, guar gum and all the crap in 90+% of commercially available ice creams. Go into a Safeway or Giant and pick up a box of Sealtest or whatever the brands of the day. Most will have 15 or more ingredients with most of those more reminiscent of a high school chemistry class than a kitchen. If you're ever interested to test this, buy vanilla ice cream at a grocery. Compare one of the half-gallon, chemical boxes to vanilla from a pint of Haagen Dazs. It's night and day on flavor; ingredients aside.

Of course, many people don't care about that and feel ice cream is ice cream. I couldn't be more different. When I go into an independent ice cream spot somewhere in the US, I ask where it's made (preference for onsite or at a facility owned and operated by the retailer) and what the ingredients are (preferably written down on a label). I can tell the difference by taste too. Pure, quality ice cream tastes radically different from chemical concoctions likes those in supermarket isles or spots like McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Johnny Rockets or Baskin Robbins. Not sure about spots like Silver Diner but I'd be positively stunned if they're using quality ice cream. With diner and fast food pricing, along with consumer indifference, it just doesn't make economic sense make quality milkshakes in locations like those. Haven't been to Dairy Godmother but the name is promising. I'll give it a try.

As for the "drink mixer," that's the traditional device for milkshake making. But, to be honest, I no longer favor those at retail locations because they require a higher level of skill and way more patience than a blender which does the job nearly as well in less than half the time. The lumpy, separating components you and I both hate usually come about because some summer staffer in a shop doesn't know how to use the "drink mixer" or, more commonly, doesn't have the patience or interest in doing it right. They throw some ice cream and milk in the can, get the proportions wrong, tragically dial it up to the highest speed, and then let it twirl for just 10 seconds, basically messing up every key variable and ensuring a disaster in a glass will be forthcoming. That's if there isn't a disaster sooner on the machine when the can they didn't mount properly comes flying off at high RPMs.

I hadn't had a milkshake in more years than I cared to remember, when I stumbled on this old-fashioned soda fountain in a old building near 21st and K. it was a revelation. Nothing like the horrible stuff fast food places put out. Too bad that building was torn down and the store disappeared. Then, I discovered the only food the Diner on 18th Street does well--an old-fashioned milkshake made with ice cream, milk, and chocolate syrup, whizzed up in the machine that porcupine linked to and served in a proper glass, with the extra in the metal container on the side.

Ah yes, the metal container. That was called a "frappe can" where I grew up. Actually, "shakes," or "milkshakes," "thick shakes" and "frappes" are all synonymous terms dependent on part of the country. Frappe is most commonly used in New England and other parts of the northeast. Then there's all kinds of regional silliness where some people use any one of those terms when they really mean "float" or "egg cream" but I digress.

Anyway, the keys here for me are very much two things: a) quality ingredients (no additives, chemicals, etc, etc) and few of them and B ) patience and technique; most important with a drink mixer but a blender can largely compensate for a lazy or ignorant milkshake staffer. If you love milkshakes; especially if you've loved them a long time...but haven't ever had a great one with correct ingredients and correct technique at one of the few places that does them well, give it a try. Dolcezza, Haagen Dazs. Ben & Jerrys. I'd predict further revelations and would love to hear back. :blink:

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Oh, don't worry, I'll be trying a gelato milkshake asap. Possibly tonight. But in general I don't care for gelato. The texture just ain't right.

BTW DG serves frozen custard, not ice cream, so the milkshake texture can be a little thin.

Used to go to Ben and Jerry's all the time - my favorite was a "black and tan": chocolate and coffee.

The best milkshake ever was made by Mayorga Coffee in Rockville, just for a year or two after they opened. They sourced some great small batch ice cream from a place in Virginia, I think, and used chocolate syrup and a shot or two of espresso. I used to get one at least once a week. I also used to weight 65 lbs more than I do now...

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Oh, don't worry, I'll be trying a gelato milkshake asap. Possibly tonight. But in general I don't care for gelato. The texture just ain't right.

BTW DG serves frozen custard, not ice cream, so the milkshake texture can be a little thin.

Used to go to Ben and Jerry's all the time - my favorite was a "black and tan": chocolate and coffee.

The best milkshake ever was made by Mayorga Coffee in Rockville, just for a year or two after they opened. They sourced some great small batch ice cream from a place in Virginia, I think, and used chocolate syrup and a shot or two of espresso. I used to get one at least once a week. I also used to weight 65 lbs more than I do now...

Great stuff. The thinner/thicker debate is another classic one for milkshakes. Hadn't even opened that pandora's box (yet). My informal surveying over the years indicates those preferring thicker shakes outnumber those preferring thinner by at least a 5 to 1 margin. And, as with taxes, spending cuts and education policy, I've found people can have really strong views about this.

Nevertheless, I'm in the thinner to medium shake consistency camp. That's why I usually order or use skim milk in the shakes I get. Most places that know milkshakes usually think that a pretty odd request. As in, "you know the ice cream has a lot of calories, right?" or "is this some kind of wacky diet?" Neither. Just gets me to the consistency I prefer; especially with the better, richer ice cream. Though I guess--extra bonus--the gelato/skim combo is also probably much healthier than the near-gallon-whole milk-crappy-ice-cream-Wally's shakes I fondly remember from childhood.

The DG custard news wouldn't put me off for consistency so much as flavor. I've never been a custard type. But will give it a try nonetheless. Black & whites, black & tans all good.

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Frappe is most commonly used in New England and other parts of the northeast.

Except in Rhode Island, where it's a "cabinet", I have no idea why.

I mostly grew up in the Washington area, and was surprised by the foreign-seeming food and beverage terminology when I arrived in Boston for college. The first thing that threw me was the hot-dog carts advertising "tonic". I at first took that to mean the stuff you make a gin and tonic with, and found that an odd thing to be sold from a hot-dog cart. After years in the Boston area, I was still learning, and being surprised by, the lingo. I was in a little diner in Cambridge called the Sunlight Cafe (corner of Brookline Street and Putnam Av) sitting at the counter, and asked for two poached eggs. One of the counter attendants had to translate for the other, telling her I meant "dropped eggs".

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darkstar, I tried the milkshake at Dolcezza. It was very thin but utterly delicious. I kinda wish you hadn't told us about it, though, since it's going to be a continual temptation. Also, the milkshake I had at DG this weekend (Mozambique) was so thick it was barley drinkable, so I guess alot depends on the clerk who's making it. I think but am not sure that I overheard that the pumpkin milkshake will be back the first weekend in October, in time for the Del Ray Art on the Avenue festival.

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darkstar, I tried the milkshake at Dolcezza. It was very thin but utterly delicious. I kinda wish you hadn't told us about it, though, since it's going to be a continual temptation. Also, the milkshake I had at DG this weekend (Mozambique) was so thick it was barley drinkable, so I guess alot depends on the clerk who's making it. I think but am not sure that I overheard that the pumpkin milkshake will be back the first weekend in October, in time for the Del Ray Art on the Avenue festival.

Excellent! I mean...er...apologies for introducing an unneeded new vice. :mellow: Dolcezza's shakes do run a bit thinner than some others. But allso frostier, richer, more decadent, yada, yada. I'm sure they'd make a thicker one for you if you asked them to increase the gelato to milk ratio.

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Out of curiosity, does any place make affogato-shakes? I once had a coffee-base milkshake, where it was coffee+ice cream (no milk), and since then have made my own to varied degrees of success. Sounds like I need to make some soon...

Pitango P St (across from the Whole Foods between 14th and 15th) definitely does this. Affogatos were the straight-jacket that prevented them from making a milkshake for me (described in the original post that started this thread). But, they may well do the affogatos very well. Not sure if Dolcezza does these since not what I order but I'd guess they likely do since, well, they have an excellent coffee program and high quality gelato, especially at their Conn Ave location (west side just above P St).

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Out of curiosity, does any place make affogato-shakes? I once had a coffee-base milkshake, where it was coffee+ice cream (no milk), and since then have made my own to varied degrees of success. Sounds like I need to make some soon...

I was at Breeze Bakery in Annandale tonight and noticed a signboard touting affogato, I guess made with their gelato. Part of the sign was in Korean, so there may have been more info to be had.

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Except in Rhode Island, where it's a "cabinet", I have no idea why.

I'm a transplanted New Englander who had not heard "cabinet" until a recent visit to Rhode Island. I love linguistics almost as much as I love milkshakes, so I had to ask. I got handed two theories:

1) the coffee syrup (critical ingredient in a coffee cabinet, of course) was physically kept in a cabinet behind the soda fountain; or

2) it's actually a "carbonate", but with the Rhode Island accent you get "cabinet".

There was some debate as to whether any milkshake was a cabinet, or whether the word is only properly used for a coffee cabinet. In any event, I came home with a nice big bottle of Autocrat. Mmmm.

To get back to being relevant, I pretty much love all milkshakes. Locally, try the vanilla (I know, I know...vanilla?) at Open City. BGR had a shake of the month that was a chocolate-strawberry - basically a double chocolate made with strawberry ice cream and chocolate syrup instead of chocolate-chocolate.

I was recently introduced to Cook Out - it's a regional fast food chain based in North Carolina. I'm really pretty anti fast food in general, but their milkshakes are insane. If you're passing through on 95, it's totally worth a stop.

http://cookout.appiandigital.net/

(I'll admit, the burger was pretty darned good as well - and I usually limit my burger-eating to Hellburger & Palena)

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Just to be a fussy prick (who likes fresh, not frozen, lobster rolls), does anyone know of any milkshakes, anywhere, that use ice cream made with cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup? Because if so, I'll drive an hour round-trip for one; if not, I'll pass on all of them.

(And yes, I realize that driving an hour burns through two gallons of gasoline, so this is not some sort of holier-than-thou thing.)

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Just to be a fussy prick (who likes fresh, not frozen, lobster rolls), does anyone know of any milkshakes, anywhere, that use ice cream made with cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup? Because if so, I'll drive an hour round-trip for one; if not, I'll pass on all of them.

(And yes, I realize that driving an hour burns through two gallons of gasoline, so this is not some sort of holier-than-thou thing.)

Sure, I'd pass on all of them too. I'd put my fussy-ness bar up against anyone's when it comes to ice cream, lobster rolls and...well, lots of other stuff. But, thankfully when it comes to milkshakes, we don't have to pass or drive an hour.

I don't believe Dolcezza, Pitango and certain flavors of Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry's contain any HFCS.

Dolcezza is much better at making milkshakes than Pitango (check upthread for that argument) but those are both gelato so not technically "ice cream."* Check labels on pints of standard flavor HD and B&J next time you're in any market. Standard chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, etc. No HFCS. Maybe good to also change the subtitle of the HD thread if you agree. And, of course, we have HD and B&J shops all around us.

And, I recant on my musing that Moorenko might be a good bet. Haven't been a customer for that so wasn't sure but I checked some labels on those containers in a market yesterday. Read like the inventory list for a chemistry lab.

Dolcezza, Pitango, and standard flavors of HD and B&J. Those are the best bets with Dolcezza the best local milkshake I've found. Porcupine is right that the Dolcezza shake is a thinner one but if you want it thicker, ask them to do that with more gelato and less milk.

* For those not clear on the difference between ice cream and gelato, the main two differences are that gelato has less butterfat and less air. So, gelato is a bit less caloric and more dense than ice cream. Can be more or less sweet but, in the case of Dolcezza, it's less sweet than most ice creams because they emphasize the natural sweetness and flavor of the fruit, nut or other ingredient. If you check ingredients, good quality gelato is as pure and delicious as can be. And even healthier for you. So if you're really fussy like Don (or me), this is a good way to go. :mellow:

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Just to be a fussy prick (who likes fresh, not frozen, lobster rolls), does anyone know of any milkshakes, anywhere, that use ice cream made with cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup? Because if so, I'll drive an hour round-trip for one; if not, I'll pass on all of them.

(And yes, I realize that driving an hour burns through two gallons of gasoline, so this is not some sort of holier-than-thou thing.)

I can provide the location of such a sweet...but alas, it's a 6-8-hour round trip depending on how 95 is running that day. Tanner's dairy in Ivyland, PA (don't blink, you'll miss it (Ivyland, not the farm)). It's a working dairy farm with an ever-expanding fruit stand in the corner. You pick up your enormous cone or milkshake and walk around back to say thank you to the cows responsible for the treat you're enjoying! There are no stabalizers, no preservatives. I think the vanilla ice cream has three ingredients in it.

When I was growing up in what was then a very rural Bucks County, the grocery store was for paper and cleaning products. Meat was purchased from a butcher, cheese from the cheese shop, veggies came from the farm stand (if you wanted corn and greenbeans..that meant stopping at two farms), and milk and fruit came from Tanner's where the milk was sold in plastic bags! Most of those farms are gone now...but I still stop at Tanner's every time I go home.

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Just to be a fussy prick (who likes fresh, not frozen, lobster rolls), does anyone know of any milkshakes, anywhere, that use ice cream made with cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup? Because if so, I'll drive an hour round-trip for one; if not, I'll pass on all of them.

(And yes, I realize that driving an hour burns through two gallons of gasoline, so this is not some sort of holier-than-thou thing.)

Assuming York's doesn't use high fructose corn syrup, then you probably could get one there. They have a crazy Guinness ice cream, malta, something else shake. I am sure regular ones can be ordered as well.

Also the University of Maryland used to have their own dairy, but still makes their own ice cream. Dunno what their ingredients are here either, but used to get shakes all the time. I found the ice cream itself is a bit on the bland side.

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Just to be a fussy prick (who likes fresh, not frozen, lobster rolls), does anyone know of any milkshakes, anywhere, that use ice cream made with cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup? Because if so, I'll drive an hour round-trip for one; if not, I'll pass on all of them.

I posted about Broom's Bloom (in Bel Air) in the Baltimore forum. I'm not sure how pure the ice cream is, and I'm not sure if they make milkshakes, but the ice cream is good enough that I'm willing to drive an hour each way to find out.

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Just to be a fussy prick (who likes fresh, not frozen, lobster rolls), does anyone know of any milkshakes, anywhere, that use ice cream made with cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup? Because if so, I'll drive an hour round-trip for one; if not, I'll pass on all of them.

(And yes, I realize that driving an hour burns through two gallons of gasoline, so this is not some sort of holier-than-thou thing.)

The new ice cream (well, technically it's frozen custard) at Freddy's meets that criteria. Lobster rolls do too, btw.

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Just to be a fussy prick (who likes fresh, not frozen, lobster rolls), does anyone know of any milkshakes, anywhere, that use ice cream made with cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup? Because if so, I'll drive an hour round-trip for one; if not, I'll pass on all of them.

Um, I think there are a few in Arlington/Falls Church area at this point that have milkshakes - at least I hope they make it with cane sugar, since these stores are ALL advertising "with natural ingredients":

Toby's Ice Cream (Westover)*

Larry's Homemade Ice Cream (Clarendon)

Lazy Sundae (Falls Church)

Northside Social (Clarendon, but only in summertime, i think)

*I like the ice cream, but they seriously need to use better milk for their milkshakes...it makes such a difference! This is little man's normal post-t-ball stop in the summer.

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Wow-super reccs. Spent a lot of time near/in Bucks county years ago but never knew about Tanners. Will definitely try it next time I'm in that area--usually a few times each year. Sounds like a candidate for 'best ice cream in America" honors so I'll have to check that out :mellow:

Given all the emphasis on local, organic, pure artisan foods, and the appropriate vilification of HFCS, it just stands to reason there'd be several spots that make ice cream the right way in and near any metro center (absolutely no HFCS but beyond that with no artificial anything and very fresh milk, cream, fruit, nuts, etc.). I have learned you really have to ask though. Sometimes I've come across very cute independent spots around the country; even next to or on farms but then when I ask or get something in writing, it's not what it seems to be. Then end up sourcing from another corn-syrup outfit or just taking the tragic shortcuts themselves to goose profit margin. Sometimes the proprietors won't answer the question--definitely a bad sign. I've even had that happen here in DC with one or two "independents" I won't out here. So, for purists like Rocks, just have to be careful and thorough.

But, there are spots where proper ice cream can be had...locally and further away clearly. Thanks for the Tanners recc and the others.

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Take with the requisite grain of salt since has been a few (maybe even five) years since I've been there. I haven't gone back since because it didn't get my thumbs up when I checked it out (both by tasting and asking). Either they were buying from another source, making it themselves with suspect ingredients or wouldn't answer questions. Dolcezza's G'Town outpost is, of course, practically across the street and we know what they're doing :mellow:

I use to believe that Thomas Sweet was among the best in the immediate D. C. area a number of years ago-but I haven't been in five or so years.

Ah, dairy farms! On route 100, 15 or so miles south of Allentown, is Longacres Dairy. http://www.longacresicecream.com/ This is one of the places where you can eat an ice cream cone and have a serious discussion with the cow who supplied its cream in the parking lot outside. Fifty five years ago the original Martin's Dairy (the original-not the one from 40 years ago!) had ice cream that was actually better than the original Gifford's. Serious. I remember an afternoon when my parents and I went to both and thought Martin's won. Of course Gifford's had their ice cream factory adjacent to the B & O overpass in Silver Spring and Martin's, like Longacres and a number of others, had cows who you could smell while slurping the cone.

Today that smell is a positive...then we thought they were an olfactory distraction. Having said this there are several places in Ohio (Young's Jersey Dairy http://youngsdairy.com/ice-cream) and Massachusetts (Kimball Farms http://www.kimballfarm.com/icecream.shtml ) that have similar farms with parking lots and nearby cows to have a familial discussion with about the particular cream and milk they have supplied for the cone you might be eating. There aren't many left. But like Longacres there are still a few. You can smell them hundreds of yards away.

The best milkshake that I've had in the greater D. C. area since Gifford's closed was at Allman's BBQ on route 1 (across from the bus station) in Fredericksburg. They handscooped the Garber's Dairy (Winchester) ice cream, squirted chocolate syrup or ladelled strawberries into it along with milk which they poured from a cream top glass bottle. All of this was mixed with an original Mixmaster that dated to the 50's when Allman's opened. (I could be wrong-Allman's may have opended in the late '40's-I'm not sure; whatever the Mixmaster dated to its opening.) I am ONLY talking about the original Allman's. And, sadly, like Thomas Sweet I haven't been to it in a few years.

Still, I'm not so sure that anything takes the place of the merits of a milkshake with its effluvious supplier in a parking lot.

While not a milkshake I'D put the concrete from Neilson's on Church street in Vienna up against Ted Drewes in St. Louis. And, it's not been five years since I've had this; maybe five days.

Tanner Bros.: http://www.tannerbrothersdairy.com/

Cows can usually be found camped out near where the person stood who took the picture of this sign: http://www.longacresicecream.com/images/12.jpg Note that they advertise their milkshakes.

Sorry for so much detail in this post but eating ice cream or slurping a milkshake with a nearby cow is very difficult to find today.

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I posted about Broom's Bloom (in Bel Air) in the Baltimore forum. I'm not sure how pure the ice cream is, and I'm not sure if they make milkshakes, but the ice cream is good enough that I'm willing to drive an hour each way to find out.

A little surprised at myself for not following through in this thread. The milkshakes are excellent, and the ice cream does not contain HFCS.

Also, just posted in the Burger, Tap and Shake thread. Awesome shakes there, too. Especially the double espresso.

Darkstar, anything new since you last posted?

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Just to be a fussy prick (who likes fresh, not frozen, lobster rolls), does anyone know of any milkshakes, anywhere, that use ice cream made with cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup? Because if so, I'll drive an hour round-trip for one; if not, I'll pass on all of them.

(And yes, I realize that driving an hour burns through two gallons of gasoline, so this is not some sort of holier-than-thou thing.)

I'd also bet that Hoffman's in Westminster fits the bill since they claim that their recipes haven't changed since 1947. Notice that Hoffman's is different than JJ Hoffman's which is based in Finksburg and carried by CS Pizza. Honestly, I'm not super knowlegeable about either b/c ice cream and particularly milk shakes fall into the small group of items that I absolutely love but also fuck my GI system up. Yes, TMI, but payback's a bitch for making me want something that I can't have. Damn this thread.

Pax,

Brian

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<snip>

Also, just posted in the Burger, Tap and Shake thread. Awesome shakes there, too. Especially the double espresso.

Darkstar, anything new since you last posted?

Nothing "new" per se. I've been doing the regular thing at Dolcezza the past few months for milkshakes for all the reasons posted upthread. To be honest--and with all due respect to all the other posters--I'm a bit skeptical about claims of great milkshakes from spots where people "hope" the ice cream is pure or because they've been there a long time or because they include espresso, daisies and malt powder or whatever. My experience including too many disappointments at spots all around the country tells me those attributes don't usually indicated a good milkshake. I've also had many places outright lie to me. The typical scenario there is having someone managerial swear the ice cream is pure, no HFCS or whatever and then, when back at a different time and asking the younger worker on duty if I can see the ice cream carton from the back, it's a chem lab. All that said, there are some litmus tests I've found more reliable to identify (or more easily, avoid) good (bad) shakes.

Milkshakes are totally a "to each his/her own" thing but I'm on record about favoring purity and honesty in ingredients, few of them and excellent technique. So, I generally avoid shakes that have all manner of things added to them. Also, I'm always skeptical about any burger spot serving a truly great shake. Most burger spots offer shakes but the economics of those businesses usually always prohibit making great shakes the right way. Their customers simply don't care and want a meal for ten bucks inclusive of a nice cafo pattie, enriched white flour bun, and a " thick, creamy" shake that would read like the periodic table if they saw the ingredients, which they won't.

So, I can't knock your burger/tap/shake recc since I haven't tried it but, if my experience at sibling District Commons next door was any indication, it's not promising. You also find stuff online about BTS having some of the "cheapest" burgers in town, which makes sense given it's right next to GW. A great shake in a metro center will normally price at $6, $7 or higher. Anyway, all of that evidence doesn't bode well for a great milkshake at BTS. If you're really confident about it, let me know and I'll try it but I wanted to get my rationale out there.

On the new front, my main target from the posts above--probably in early spring--will be Tanners. I'm intrigued by the opportunity to get a milkshake with "raw" milk since that can only be done (legally) at a farm. But, since that's a clear upgrade in ingredient quality/purity without the pasteurization and all the stuff they do to commercial milk, it's very interesting.

<snip> Damn this thread.

Pax,

Brian

I'm really sorry about this, Brian. Especially since you always sign off your posts wishing us all peace and thus help keep things civil around here. I've done a bad thing with this thread. :D

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<snip> All that said, there are some litmus tests I've found more reliable to identify (or more easily, avoid) good (bad) shakes. <snip snip snip>

Sorry to have brought it up. <_<It tasted good. It had a thick, even consistency that did not separate into its component ingredients. I did not interrogate the staff about whether the milk was lovingly tickled from the teats of sacred cows by the unblemished hands of virgins, or if the "espresso" was in fact from single origin, shade-grown, fairly traded beans.

(Not that it matters, but I don't like stuff in my milkshakes, either; black-and-white, chocolate, strawberry, and coffee are all I ever drink.)

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Sorry to have brought it up. <_<It tasted good. It had a thick, even consistency that did not separate into its component ingredients. I did not interrogate the staff about whether the milk was lovingly tickled from the teats of sacred cows by the unblemished hands of virgins, or if the "espresso" was in fact from single origin, shade-grown, fairly traded beans.

(Not that it matters, but I don't like stuff in my milkshakes, either; black-and-white, chocolate, strawberry, and coffee are all I ever drink.)

Absolutely. 'Tastes good' trumps all. With milkshakes (most other things too for that matter), I've just learned that ingredient quality totally and directly correlates with taste. Without the former, you don't get the latter...or at least I don't, but we're all different. And again, no informed view here on BTS--haven't tried it.

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As a lover of milkshakes and quality-ingredients in food in general, I need to join in this very interesting discussion. A few folks, including Darkstar (thanks for starting the thread), mentioned how using a blender is just as good as one of those retail mixmasters. I've definitely had some good at home blender-milkshakes but typically I like the consistency of the mixmasters ones. So a question for the group - what is the best technique for making a blender milkshake (for those of us lacking the $250+ mixmaster in their gourmet kitchens
;)
)?

Also, all of this talk of getting pure, no HFCS ice cream, is all well and good for eating just ice cream or gelato, but when you make a milkshake you add syrup. Chocolate/caramel, etc syrup used in most ice cream parlors/restaurants is primarily HFCS. Check out the ingredients on the ubiquitous Hershey's bottle or can. So is anyone asking for real melted chocolate as their shake add-in? I doubt it, which is why using tip-top quality ice cream and milk matters, but to a lesser extent IMHO for a milkshake then for plain ice cream.

If you don't mind regular ice cream and likely HFCS-laden syrups and mass-produced milk, check out the huge variety of 75 milkshake flavors at Z-Burger. I haven't been in a while, but there chocolate-varieties were pretty good when I tried them. Now after reading all of these posts, I desperately need a shake!
:D

Another item to check out for those who like different flavors in your blended drinks - Rita's Misto (there is one in Adams Morgan)- not at all a milkshakes - but an interesting blend of flavored italian ice and frozen custard.
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As a lover of milkshakes and quality-ingredients in food in general, I need to join in this very interesting discussion. A few folks, including Darkstar (thanks for starting the thread), mentioned how using a blender is just as good as one of those retail mixmasters. I've definitely had some good at home blender-milkshakes but typically I like the consistency of the mixmasters ones. So a question for the group - what is the best technique for making a blender milkshake (for those of us lacking the $250+ mixmaster in their gourmet kitchens
;)
)?

Also, all of this talk of getting pure, no HFCS ice cream, is all well and good for eating just ice cream or gelato, but when you make a milkshake you add syrup. Chocolate/caramel, etc syrup used in most ice cream parlors/restaurants is primarily HFCS. Check out the ingredients on the ubiquitous Hershey's bottle or can. So is anyone asking for real melted chocolate as their shake add-in? I doubt it, which is why using tip-top quality ice cream and milk matters, but to a lesser extent IMHO for a milkshake then for plain ice cream.

If you don't mind regular ice cream and likely HFCS-laden syrups and mass-produced milk, check out the huge variety of 75 milkshake flavors at Z-Burger. I haven't been in a while, but there chocolate-varieties were pretty good when I tried them. Now after reading all of these posts, I desperately need a shake!
:D

Another item to check out for those who like different flavors in your blended drinks - Rita's Misto (there is one in Adams Morgan)- not at all a milkshakes - but an interesting blend of flavored italian ice and frozen custard.

Great questions. Great discussion. Especially for milkshake fiends like those of us ostensibly haunting this thread. In turn, a few thoughts in response to just two of your thoughts, KeithA, with full knowledge others will weigh in too with different views:

RE: Blender vs. mixmaster

I was the one who posted about a preference for blender over mixmaster. This will be a matter of preference to be sure since the mixmaster/frappe can is the traditional method. That said, the blender (regular blender fine--nothing especially expensive or fancy) is the way to go in retail establishments mostly because they're mistake proof. This is the biggest reason. Mixmasters really require both training/technique and patience. Too many shops don't invest any time in the former and the focus on profits neutralizes any chance at the latter. In impatient and untrained hands, mixmasters produce very uneven results with the most common problem being insufficient mixing so big lumps (scoops even) of ice cream still in the drink when served. As for proper technique with blenders, again pretty idiot proof but you don't want to be careful not to over mix since that's easy to do and can inject too much air into the drink limiting richness and flavor. I personally prefer lower/medium blender speeds to limit the air but this will depend on personal preference for thickness, richness, smoothness and airiness in the finished product. Likewise with milk/ice cream ratio.

RE: Syrups and HFCS

Love this question as it's something I've always been concerned about. I've learned a couple of things here over the years. First, there are HFCS-free syrups that you'll occasionally find in better places. As you've pointed out, Hershey's absolutely not among them. Syrups can be based on cane sugar versus anything corn. Have even noticed the new juice place in Bethesda blending their uber-healthy drinks with a "coconut syrup" they claim to extract from tree bark and even flavor with cayenne. Second, with truly excellent ice cream or gelato, syrup isn't necessary. I never ask for syrup in a Dolcezza chocolate shake for example. Their Valrhona amargo chocolate is more than rich enough on its own that, when blended with the milk, produces a great shake.

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http://www.goodstuffeatery.com/menu Good Stuff eatery lists their handspun milk shakes first thing on their menu, if that accounts for anything. They have interesting flavors but I've never moved past the toasted marshmallow. Not sure where they source their ice cream.

Buzz Bakery on Slaters in Alexandria makes their own ice cream in house and since they also do espresso, you could get your affogato there. I've had their milkshakes last summer and they were perfect for the season, but I'm not that huge of a stickler for milkshakes.

And the frozen custard shakes at Shake Shack were alright, nothing earth-shattering, but not bad. Just overpriced and overhyped.

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So I finally had the chance to get a shake after this discussion caused a serious hankering. I was in Dupont and planned to go to Shake Shack, but due to my schedule ended up at the closer Burger Joint and had their double chocolate. Sadly, I didn't have time to ask about the provenance/terroir/etc of their ingredients. It was a good shake though made using a mixmaster where the guy took the time to make sure it was thoroughly blended without lumps. I enjoyed it - not the best ever - but a tasty treat. The one problem was the weak straw. it was a rather thick shake (which I prefer) and since I was walking I needed a straw (otherwise the klutz that I am it would have ended up all over my shirt). The straw was too thin and narrow and kept collasping as I tried to slurp up the chocolately goodness. As I was struggling, I kept wishing I had one of those extra wide and thick straws and then this would have been a much more enjoyable snack. So my review is go to the Burger Joint, get the shake it is good but bring your own straw, drink out of the cup or use a spoon (they did have extra long spoon - which work well if you like to eat rather than drink your shake).

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