Did You Just Order A Five-Dollar Shake?

Perhaps it’s because I’m guilty of having been rather proficient behind the fountain counter at the old Beverly Hills Swensen’s Ice Cream Shoppe where I worked during high school, but the $5 milkshake that I had Saturday at the vaunted Milk on Beverly Boulevard left a lot to be desired.

Like a shot of bourbon in it. Or my five dollars back.

I’m telling you back in the day I used to whip up some awesome heavy-handed stuff that was not for the weak or sugar/lactose intolerant. There was no subtle artistic blending of flavors with notes of freakin’ sandalwood or some such nonsense. Just good old-fashioned American sledgehammer ice cream. At the top of the list was a Vanana Fudge Malted (my own creation; it wasn’t on the menu) with a splash of milk, 12-ounces of French vanilla ice cream, a whole chopped banana, a strong dose of hot fudge sauce and three heaping scoops of malt powder that people used to come in and specifically ask for. Served up extra special thick and rich and dellish in a large frosted shake glass with whipped cream piled high and covered chocolate sprinkles and a mary cherry and the extra in the stainless steel cannister on the side…? Damn Sam, that’s how a shake is done!

And never mind my You Got Your Chocolate Ice Cream In My Peanut Butter And Banana Malted. I made that oooooonly for myself with my own peanut butter imported specifically for the occasion. Heaven.

In so knowing way around a shake machine and ice cream scoop when we stopped on our way back home from the Hammer Museum I took it for granted that with the buzz reputation that the popular Milk has developed, they would too.


Sure, the over-the-counter ice cream sammich Susan had was wonderful, but by the time she’d more than halfway finished it was when they finally delivered my confection to our table, which is violation of Rule No. 1: Don’t give the customer any time to regret his order.  Shortly after its arrival I discovered they also blew Rule No. 2: Know how the hell to make a shake.

See there are certain things that are necessary for a shake to qualify in my book and this failed on all counts. Of utmost importance is that starting out it has to be thick enough where you have no choice but to go to the spoon; using a straw for extraction is just too labor intensive if not downright impossible, at least right away. Not mine. I used a spoon for the whipped cream and a little bit off the top, but it was so liquidy — like there was more milk used than actual ice cream — that I went right to the straw and in seconds was vacuuming up at the bottom. Second it’s gotta be big, or at least give the illusion of big. While Milk’s glass I’d been served had been appropriately tall (I’d guess eight inches), it suffered from a diameter no large than a soda can. Gotta double that. Third, pony up the overflow. It takes a very retentive person or business to make a shake that will fill up the confines of its serving glass no more or no less. There’s always some leftover (or there should be) and pouring it down the drain is not only wasteful but cheap.

With my once-bitten mentality should I ever deign to return to Milk I certainly won’t waste time nor money on their fountain offerings. Instead I’ll just keep to their simple scoops or their ice cream sammiches.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."