Have you ever played that word association game? The one where someone says a word and you have to reply immediately with the next word that comes to your mind? For example, if someone mentions the word ‘nutella’ to me, the next word that would come to my mind would be ‘banana’. Don’t ask me why, it’s just the way my brain reacts! In a similar vein, if anyone mentioned the phrase ‘American food’ to me, the next thing that would come to my mind would be ‘burgers and shakes’. In my mind, hamburgers and milkshakes seem to be the quintessential American food; this may be due to the fact that milkshakes originated from America in the late 1800s, and that McDonald’s (which introduced and made available the hamburger to the rest of the world) also originated from America.
Word association games aside, there is no denying the fact that burgers and milkshakes have really stretched the imaginations of food fans and chefs alike. There are hundreds (and possibly thousands) of flavours of milkshakes, ranging from the classic flavours like chocolate and strawberry to the more exotic flavours that leave people wondering if these creations can even be defined as ‘milkshakes’. There has also been an influx of cafes and eateries that give customers the option of ‘creating’ their own milkshake (for example, Makeshake in Singapore), leading to even more unique varieties of milkshake flavours. Also, burgers seem to be constantly re-invented and ‘updated’ in order to keep up with the food trends of the present time. For example, with vegetarianism and veganism becoming a trend in our increasingly health conscious world, it comes as no surprise that places selling vegan and vegetarian burgers (like Veganburg in Singapore) have become popular all around the planet.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that an eatery selling numerous varieties of milkshakes and burgers, as well as hotdogs and fries, would have no problem drawing in the crowds, even on cold weekday afternoons. Case in point: Shake Shack in New York City.
Shake Shack first opened in Madison Square Park in New York City in 2004 serving hamburgers, hotdogs, milkshakes, fries and custards. Up until today, it is common to see snaking queues from opening time to closing time at the ‘original’ Shake Shack. Shake Shack has expanded to include locations all over the United States and even stores in Dubai and Kuwait City.
When I was in NYC over the December break, I simply had to check out one of the 7 Shake Shacks that are located in NYC. After all, who could say no to burgers and shakes? It was with great excitement that I dragged my family to the Shake Shack on 8th Ave (@ 44th St) for lunch one cold and windy morning. There was no question about the its popularity, as there was a long queue (all the way out of the door!) only half an hour after the eatery had opened.
After about a 15 minute wait to order our food, and another 15 minutes waiting for our order to be called, we tucked into our food!
Shackburger - Single
Shackburger – Single ($4.55):American Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato and ShackSauce. I didn’t try this burger (obviously) but it looked appetising enough! I trust the judgement of my cousin, who ordered this burger, and he said that the patty was moist and juicy, just the way he liked his patties! Also, the cheese provided a nice touch of yellow to the otherwise mostly brown dish and also balanced out the sweetness of the ShackSauce. However, he felt that the lettuce and tomato slices in the burger were rather limp and uninspiring, as if they had been left there for a long time.
‘Shroom Burger ($6.55):Crisp fried Portobello filled with Muenster and Cheddar Cheese, topped with Lettuce, Tomato and ShackSauce. Of all the vegetarian burgers that I’ve eaten, I must say that burgers stuffed with mushrooms still whet my appetite the most! However, I was pretty disappointed with this particular mushroom burger. Instead of the thick juicy Portobello mushroom that I was expecting, the ‘patty’ turned out to be this huge ball of fried cheese with a thin slice of mushroom at the base of the cheese. That’s not what a mushroom burger is supposed to be (in my opinion)! The cheese was nice and gooey and just the way I like it, but I still feel that it does not qualify as a mushroom burger at all! It was more like a Meatless Cheeseburger. I was pretty unhappy with this vegetarian burger :c
Hotdog($3):Vienna All-Beef Hotdog. Once again, I did not try this hotdog but my sister said that it wasn’t that bad! She said that the sausage was crisp on the outside, just the way she liked it. That was all she would tell me before proceeding to shush me in order to gobble up the hotdog, so I presume that it was to her liking!
Pretzel! The Concrete – Half($4.25):Chocolate Custard, Peanut Butter Sauce, Chocolate-covered Pretzels and Marshmallow Sauce (no pictures sorry!) The line of ‘Concretes’ served at Shake Shack are dense frozen custards blended with toppings and mixins, creating a sort of ‘alternative icecream’ if you want to call it that way. I had a small bite of this Concrete as the majority of it was covered in Marshmallow Sauce (which isn’t vegetarian) and enjoyed it immensely! The saltiness of the pretzels come through in spite of the chocolate covering and balance very well with the sweetness of the chocolate custard. Also, you know that everything is better with Peanut Butter Sauce so why would I ever complain about peanut butter in anything?
Malted Hot Chocolate
Malted Hot Chocolate: I am not sure about the price of this hot chocolate as it is not on any of the Shake Shack menus available online! I apologise for this mistake. I drank hot chocolate practically everyday when I was in NYC as it warms you right up amidst the cold winter. However, I wasn’t that big a fan of this hot chocolate, as I felt that it was too sweet, too thick and just too much for my palate to handle! I ended up pouring hot water into the cup and stirring it in an attempt to offset some of the sweeetness and thickness.
The atmosphere of the Shake Shack is so vibrant and bustling that it fits right into the ‘happening’ and busy mood that NYC is so well-known for. The food did not really meet my expectations (well, now we know that this place isn’t for vegetarians) as I had heard and read so many good things and praises about this casual eatery, but I did enjoy the lunch I had there as the atmosphere was so cosy and bright. If you would like to try the burgers and shakes at the Shake Shack, I would recommend that you go early (it opens at 11am) as the queue forms pretty quickly once it opens!
Shake Shack (Theater District) 691 8th Avenue, Southwest corner of 8th Ave and 44th St New York Tel: 646-435-0135 www.shakeshack.com
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