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Shake Shack February 2011 Flavors - Any Must-Haves?

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Hello Everyone,
Over the last few months I have come to the conclusion that the best desserts at SS are often the specialty flavors. Any must tries for this month?

As an aside, I live in miami but we have a SS there and it is just as good as the ones in NYC. So if you ever have the desire in our fair city, don't be afraid to try it.

From now on, I will post a new thread every month on this subject unless someone beats me to it.

The reason I am posting on this board and will continue to do so, is because I think the best responses will come out of here.

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  1. Do you have the same flavors in Miami that we do in NY? Does it vary by store?
    I really want to try the Thin Mint at the 86th Street location. Most of the flavors seem way too sweet for me. But I'm a sucker for anything mint.

    13 Replies
    1. re: bkfan16

      The Cinnamon Toast from January was excellent. Looking forward to trying the new Maple Walnut Spice.

      1. re: ellenost

        I missed the cinnamon toast, but thought the salted caramel was great. Please let us know what you think of Maple Walnut Spice.

        1. re: tpigeon

          I liked the salted caramel though I didn't get the salt taste. Tasted like really good caramel. Yesterday I had the banana foster and thought it was a really good banana shake.

      2. re: bkfan16

        The custard calendar on their website matches the custard calendar in miami and I think there is only one custard calendar on their site.

        1. re: bkfan16

          Has anyone tried Thin Mint yet?

          1. re: uwsgrazer

            Yes, I love it. It's chocolate with a peppermint extract added. Really smooth mint flavor, not overpowering at all.

            1. re: ml77

              Yum! Thanks, I'll have to be sure to stop by one Saturday this month!!

            2. re: uwsgrazer

              I tried it, but I don't think I'm the best judge because it went right into my freezer and I had it a couple days later. I'm also not the biggest chocolate fan and was hoping for actual pieces of thin mint cookies! But it was good...

              Has anyone tried the Bananas Foster? I absolutely love banana flavored ice cream.

              1. re: bkfan16

                Hmm, good point, bkfan. I just reread ml77's post. I didn't realize till now that it's only peppermint extract. I'm with you, I would definitely want actual cookie pieces. If it's basically just chocolate ice cream with some mint flavoring I think I may pass. I'll save the calories for something else ;)

                1. re: uwsgrazer

                  That's precisely why I started this thread. Custard is a huge calorie commitment. We need to weed out which ones are worth it.

                  1. re: uwsgrazer

                    Just had some more tonight. Unlike before, this time I made sure to give some time out of the freezer to warm up before digging in. It made a big difference. It was good before, but great tonight. So aromatic that I was treating it like a wine, sticking my nose in for whiff before each bite. Cookies or no cookies, it's a great flavor.

                    1. re: ml77

                      How dark is the chocolate (color)?

                      1. re: uwsgrazer

                        In terms of color, it's slightly darker than milk chocolate, I'd say.

            3. I find all the desserts at SS incredibly sweet and off-putting. Is it really necessary for so much sugar...

              7 Replies
              1. re: Pookipichu

                It's the style -- frozen custard is that sweet when I've had it in Wisconsin. Shake Shack is just emulating the places from the Midwest.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Don't know if it's just that. There's a lot of variability in the sweetness. Their straight vanilla custard is not hugely sweet, but some of their special flavors can be. I happen to have on hand some vanilla, some of today's flavor (the mysterious "snowball" which turns out to be coconut with almond undertones) in shake form, and some of yesterday's (maple walnut spice, available today at a day-after discount). The vanilla is, as always, not unpleasantly oversweet, but the maple walnut is very much so. It does have a strong maple punch, and the walnuts are nicely crisp, but whatever spice they have in it is drowned in the sweetness. The snowball is appealing, but it's possible the sweetness of the custard is muted in the shake.

                  Are they really trying to emulate the Midwest in their custards? Frozen custard was once very popular in New York, and I thought that SS was simply reviving a New York institution, not copying a foreign one.

                  1. re: FoodDabbler

                    Danny Meyer is a native of St. Louis. The Shake Shack, specifically the frozen custards and concretes, are a tribute to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.

                    [edit: whoops, I guess CH doesn't take straight html so I removed the hyperlink to teddrewes.com]

                    1. re: Joe Food

                      I didn't know that. Thanks.

                    2. re: FoodDabbler

                      So are any of these must haves?

                      1. re: tpigeon

                        The snowball is a clear maybe have. I'd say "must" except, as I said, I had it as a shake so don't know what the straight custard will be like. But it has a nice balance of flavors.

                        The maple walnut spice is growing on me. I just tried another couple of spoonfuls. It still leaves too strong a sweet aftertaste for my liking, but I've now noticed a little tickle at the back of my throat as the custard goes down. It could just be that I have a slightly sore throat (the vanilla does not do that, though), but I'd like to think that it's the spice. It would be adventurous of them if they've used the tiniest hint of cayenne.

                  2. re: Pookipichu

                    Yes

                  3. I'm upgrading the maple-walnut-spice to a must-have, despite my reservation that it's too sweet. If the sweetness bothers you, try holding it in the freezer for a bit and have it at a slightly suboptimal temperature. It mutes the sweetness. But, as I had guessed/hoped, the tickle it produces at the back of the throat is cayenne. I checked, and it turns out they use a blend of pimento and cayenne.

                    The flavor today is also very good, despite yet another obscure name ("Bee Mine"). It has a touch of honey, a distinct strawberry flavor, and an undertone of rose. The rose is not particularly prominent, but its perfuminess carries the strawberry to a long finish. If you like fruity ice creams, you'll find this a must-have.

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: FoodDabbler

                      OK FoodDabbler, I'm stopping off on my way home from work tonight to try the new flavor (hope the line isn't too long for custards). Definitely will stop by on Wednesday to try the maple-walnut spice; sounds like a perfect flavor combination.

                      1. re: ellenost

                        The lines have not been too bad (even for food) at the 44th St. and UWS locations lately. I have passed the UWS location at 8ish in the evening several times in the last three weeks and the line was only a few people long. At 44th there was no line at all (for food or custard) at 5:30 last Thursday or 2:30 today. (These are off-peak times, I know.) At Madison Sq. Park on Friday there was a food line at 12:30 (I was emerging from Eataly), but it was not bad.

                        Today's flavor is for fruit-lovers, as I said. People who don't like fruit or faintly floral tastes in their ice cream won't like it.

                        -----
                        Eataly
                        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                        1. re: FoodDabbler

                          My local Shake Shack is the UES location. I stopped in last Sunday night to get a pint of the Cinnamon Toast, and when I walked in there was no line. After I placed my order, I turned around, and the line had grown up the stairs. I "lucked out".

                          1. re: ellenost

                            What did you do before the UES location opened? I mean, you must have had a life, but it must scarcely have been worth living.

                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                              Yeah, I spent all my time at Ko :-).

                              My sister who works around the corner from the 23 St. location was tasked with buying the Shake Shack food, and I would meet her at her apartment (not too far away). Now I can buy the Shake Shack food for myself. Fortunately the line on the UES isn't too bad. Just tried the new flavor ("Bee Mine"), I like it. Definitely can taste both the honey and strawberry. The rose is very subtle, but adds a floral undertone. Looking forward to Wednesday.

                              1. re: ellenost

                                I walk by the UES location every night on my way home from work. I'll definitely have to try the Bee Mine next week!

                        2. re: ellenost

                          Ok, I tried the maple-walnut spice. Didn't taste either maple or walnut (or both flavors are too muted for me). Definitely taste the cayenne which gives it a nice "kick". Slightly off-topic (but still on Shake Shack): I tried their special sausage wrapped in bacon covered with honey-mustard on a hotdog bun--brilliant! Wonderful spice and beautiful flavor combination. Sausage had nice "crack" when I bit into it. Took it home (I live 2 blocks from the UES Shake Shack), popped it into the microwave for 20 seconds, and the sausage was piping hot and delcious! I know this was a special sausage, but it was so good that I hope they add it to the menu full-time.

                          1. re: ellenost

                            The walnut shows only as bits of the nut. My pint last week had several pieces, but that may depend on how it was packed. Is the sausage a Wednesday thing? I haven't seen it.

                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                              I haven't seen the sausage before either, but if you catch it, I highly recommend it. Definitely would order it again!

                            2. re: ellenost

                              I just tried the maple walnut spice last night as well (UWS location). I didn't taste much maple flavor either (really too bad because I love maple). But I had tons of chunks of walnuts which were terrific. I also liked the kick from the "spice". But I tasted a little smoky flavor in addition to the kick. It makes me wonder what might make up the "spice" part.

                              Does anyone know?

                              On a side note, I usually think their fries are just okay. But last night was the first time I thought "wow, these are really good". I think it's because they were fresh out of the fryer. (In fact, though there was no one there, I had to wait a few minutes for the fries to be done - that must explain it.)

                              1. re: LNG212

                                It's possible the pimento is smoked.

                                On the maple flavor: did you and ellenost have the ice cream soft and tempered? The maple flavor was really pronounced last week while the ice cream was soft.

                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                  My ice cream was soft. Also I didn't get any walnut chunks. Do you think they'd give me a refund?

                                  1. re: ellenost

                                    I'd say they should. Tell them Food Dabbler said so.

                                  2. re: FoodDabbler

                                    The pimento being smoked makes sense. I got both heat and smoky flavors from the custard. I enjoyed that part of it.

                                    I bought the ice cream and took it home. At home it went into the frig (not the freezer) for probably 30 minutes. So, yes, it was rather soft when I ate it. I still wasn't getting the maple flavor.

                                    But I did get tons of walnut chunks. Perhaps each batch is slightly different???

                                    1. re: LNG212

                                      It would appear that there are big variations. I'll try some maple walnut spice next week and see how it compares with what I had last week.

                                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                                        Tried the maple walnut spice again. Left it out of the freezer until it was very soft. Definitely no hint of maple flavor. No walnuts at all. Definitely a smoky taste (almost acrid). Threw out the remainder of the container. Maybe the UES location received a bad batch. Still have the "Bee Mine".

                                        1. re: ellenost

                                          Sorry about your experience. Now I *must* try it next week to see if it's different from the container I got last week.

                                          Has anybody else noticed big variations in batches of their special flavors? Normally I'll have a special flavor once in a while, so I don't usually taste the same flavor twice. As noted above, custard, as they say of blood in Godfather I, is a big expense. I usually indulge sparingly.

                                          1. re: ellenost

                                            I tried the maple walnut spice twice this week: once as the special flavor yesterday, and just now from one of their day-old pints. You know you have a custard habit when they recognize you at SS and call out "Back for more?" There wasn't a big difference between the taste yesterday and the taste today, but there was a huge difference from two weeks ago. The spice was subtle the first time I had it, more a faint tickle at the back of the throat. I didn't even notice it right away. This week you can't miss the spice and smoke. It's a kick in the throat, not a tickle, and the taste lingers. And lingers. It overpowers the maple. I can still taste maple on my first spoonful, and there's the mouthfilling quality that maple has. But once you get that spice/smoke taste kicking in a second later, that's what stays with you. The second spoonful doesn't taste of maple. Your tongue is too busy reeling from the spice. A pity, because spiced with restraint this is a terrific flavor.

                                            Oh, and I had lots of walnuts in both samples. They're still crisp and good.

                                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                                              Thanks for the update on the maple walnut spice. So it seems that the UES Shake Shack had a defective batch with no nuts last week. I'll try it again next week to see if the final batch for the month is better than what I had last week. Did your tastings have more spice than smoke or more smoke than spice? My batch from last week had only a smoky taste, and definitely no or insignificant maple flavor.

                                              1. re: ellenost

                                                More spice than smoke, I'd say, but the two tastes hit different spots, and at slightly different times. The spice shows up, as I said, mainly as a back-of-the-throat sensation. The smoke lingers as an aftertaste (this week). That is what drowns the maple in the second spoonful. I'm curious what your reaction will be next week, but if you hate it again I hope it will not come between us as hounds.

                                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                  It'll never come between us FoodDabbler :-).

                            3. Had the Snowball today. Simple vanilla frozen custard with coconut shreds on top. A classic dessert that wowed, rocked and made my SS lunch memorable in this 60 degree weather that we had today.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: RCC

                                Oooh, that sounds delicious. I'll have to try that. That and bananas foster flavor too - not too many days left in the month!

                                1. re: uwsister

                                  I don't know if this will reduce your enthusiasm or raise it, but I think the base snowball ice-cream is coconut with a hint of almond. I believe they put coconut shreds on top if you get a scoop, but not (I know this for a fact) if you get a pint.

                                  1. re: FoodDabbler

                                    Sounds good to me!

                                    I never get a pint at Shake Shack - a pint is a single serving for me so not a good idea.

                              2. I tried the Maple Walnut Spice again today at the UES Shake Shack, and it was much better. Definite spice but no smokiness. There are some walnuts, not overloaded, but again, much better than my first pint that had zero walnuts. I'm glad I tried it again. Look forward to next month's flavors.

                                EDIT: do you think that the Shake Shack folks read our posts, and maybe corrected the problem? Hope so.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: ellenost

                                  Well it did seem like there was quite a wide variation from the differing samples (different people, different locations as indicated above). So maybe if they are reading this, they realized that they had a quality control / consistency problem.

                                  If so, I'm glad it got fixed. And glad you got some walnuts this time!

                                  1. re: ellenost

                                    Whew!