Whether it's resuscitating frostbitten ice cream or discretely concealing alcohol like a frosty flask, milkshakes represent the pinnacle of man's efforts to bend ice cream to his will (sorry, Dippin' Dots). But in a city full of pretenders, which shakes are certain to satisfy? Is a malt considered a milkshake? And why are people who enjoy Black and Whites such virulent communists? We have the discussion so you don't have to take your lips off the straw.
Robbins: I've been told you're a Black and White man.
Yakas: Well, up until a year or two ago, I was a skeptic like you. But there's something very calming about having some vanilla mixed in—the way it takes the edge off. Sometimes they taste like liquified Oreos, too. And really, isn't that what Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder were always trying to tell us?
Robbins: If chocolate ice cream is an "edge" then call me Sling Blade, because chocolate syrup is what chocolate ice cream sweats while it runs laps around lesser ice creams. And strawberry syrup? That's like the bile that chocolate ice cream upchucks when—
Yakas: The most important thing for me isn't flavor or anything like that—it's texture. I get milkshakes about once a week, and the number one quality I look for is thickness. I've had too many glorified chocolate milks in my life.
Robbins: Texture?! Why not just get a tube of caulk with your burger & fries?
Yakas: Because that would just be silly. And Mel's Diner 'N Sealant Depot closed in '08.
Robbins: No one likes a milkshake that feels like drinking NesQuick and gravel. But the flavor is key if you're drinking shakes sans food. It sounds like you're referring to a FROSTY, which, I'm sure you know, UN Resolution 56-2346-21 prohibits a Frosty being deemed as a milkshake.
Yakas: I've just found that the worst mistake a milkshake artist can make (we're looking at you, diner line cooks) is serving you $6 worth of limp, soupy ice cream.
Robbins: $6? *Whistles and pulls overall straps from chest in amazement* How much are you willing to spend on a milkshake? Are you one of those, "By God I will have a milkshake right now, wallet be damned" folks or are you more of a milkshake opportunist?
Yakas: I've been told I'm more of the latter—I'll eat any milkshake that comes my way, and then complain vociferously about the quality. Do you think of C.R.E.A.M. when you've got the taste for cream?
Robbins: I see we had the same therapist. My splurge shake is from II Laboratorio Del Gelato. Milk chocolate, dulce de leche, and marscapone gelato: $7.50. To keep me from clawing at the shake-marks on my arms, I have been known to pick up a Mr. Softee standard for $4, but I'm not proud of it.
Yakas: The one place I need to have a milkshake every time I go is Shake Shack. Their Black and Whites are some of the best I've had in the city. For some reason, the outlet at CitiField is particularly good. The other must-have Black and White is at Stand in the Village.
Robbins: Finally: straw or no straw?
Yakas: Always straw. Jesus Christ, it's not a milkshake without a straw.
Robbins: Why? You afraid of brain freeze? What's better than staring cross-eyed at an avalanche of milkshake sliding down one of those giant metal mixing cups into your gullet?
Yakas: No straw is a straw man's argument (I have no idea if I'm saying that right). Besides, I'd likely pour it all over myself. Straws are the only things standing between us and this kid.