My last In N Out meal before bidding adieu to my home state felt like the mournful end of an era. I savored every bite of my expertly salted, hand-cut fries wondering where I would ever meet another burger joint that could adequately remedy the most debilitating of hangovers, late nights turned sour, or breakups gone awry. Finding a comparable replacement would be a mission impossible.
Enter center stage, Shake Shack. On a long afternoon of moving into my palatial Brooklyn dorm residence my hanger (han·gry adjective \ˈhaŋ-grē\ A rare and terrifying combination of being both hungry and angry), took an aggressive turn for the worst. My stomach yearned for the familiar comfort of my usual In N Out order (a no.2, naturally), and in a city of endless culinary possibilities it crushed my hangry soul to accept that my beloved In N Out would not be a possibility. My foul mood led my parents to eagerly seek out the nearest burger joint, most likely in fear of my hangry rage.
We came upon Shake Shack at my dad’s suggestion, who is a seasoned frequent traveler and at this point, qualified local food critic. My hanger easily overcame my skepticism of the foreign joint as I quickly noted the extensive frozen custard list on the menu. Although it was no animal fries and black and white shake, I settled for a single Shack Burger and a concrete- Shake Shack’s custard dessert which appeared to be a gussied up DQ blizzard.
Whether it was my immeasurable hunger turned desperation or the bona fide goodness of Shake Shack I will never know, but my first impression of the local burger chain left me eagerly Yelping the closest location to my dorm. The simple yet flavorfully seasoned patty was admittedly more substantial than that of my beloved In N Out’s, and was dressed with Shack Shack’s own secret spread. I found that the sauce was smoother in consistency and less tangy than that of its West coast competitor- a promising sign that the residual taste wouldn’t linger in my mouth for the next day and a half.
While it may be a bold assertion, I firmly believe that frozen custard should exist as its own level of the Nutritional Food pyramid. The frozen treat lies somewhere between frozen yogurt and creamy gelato territory, and that afternoon it became my duty to investigate the mysteriously classified dessert all way to the bottom of the cup. Oops. While the classic chocolate and vanilla custards would undoubtedly be delicious à la carte, I found it difficult to resist the extensive list of mix-ins, most noteworthy being bacon peanut brittle, chocolate cloud cookie, and cheesecake blondie.
In my short time exploring the Empire State thus far, I have learned that some things just can’t be replaced. Others can. Hello Shake Shack.