The Milkshake Taste Test: Dairy Queen

Ever since I learned that one of my good friends used to work summers at Dairy Queen, I have developed a sense of loyalty to the “DQ.” Dairy Queen is one of those chains that I am happy to pay a visit to and since I have been recently trying as many different places’ milkshakes, I knew a visit to this establishment was in the books. Thankfully I was finally able to go to one of the many locations a couple weekends ago. I ordered a Hot Fudge shake- a flavor I had not yet seen in my many milkshake visits elsewhere.

Now, I have only ever gotten a Blizzard from Dairy Queen. With so many flavor and add-in options, it’s difficult to ever get tired of these delicious frozen treats. This time would be different though. This time I would try one of DQ’s less popular cold treats- the milkshake.

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VALUE: 9/10  Milkshakes here come in three usual sizes. It costs $2.29 for a small; $2.59 for a medium; and $3.19 for a large. All of these prices are on the pleasantly low end. These are some totally doable prices.

SIZE: 7/10 I opted for a small, and yes, it was. I was a little disappointed that it was a tad too punitive, however. The other sizes looked like they were on the smaller side of things too, though while still being somewhat respectable especially for the inexpensive price.

FLAVOR VARIETY: 6/10  Dairy Queen offers The Standard Three (Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry) as well as Peanut Butter, Banana, Caramel, and Hot Fudge. I thought it was interesting that they offer hot fudge in addition to regular chocolate. My intrigue led me to try the more unique of the chocolate flavors. I only wished the flavors offered were as exciting as the Blizzard options.

DRINKABILITY: 10/10  Definitely drinkable. Dairy Queen did not disappoint. It was the ideal milkshake consistency. I was afraid that perhaps ordering a hot fudge shake would entail globs of goopy fudge sticking to the edges of the cup, not properly mixed in. But in fact, the hot fudge seemed to be its own flavor, with only hints of fudge remaining in the shake, rarely if ever coming up the straw.

OVERALL SATISFACTION: 9/10  Although I would have rather had a few more sips of my milkshake, I really enjoyed the shake. I thoroughly appreciated how the hot fudge flavor tasted significantly different from a standard chocolate shake. I only wished that there were more flavors offered. It was as if Dairy Queen’s Blizzard was the star of the show and the milkshake was the shy best friend who worked in backstage roles. Worth trying a chance at, but not as attention-garnering.

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Tasty Homemade Shake & Smoothie Recipes

While having a broken jaw and my mouth wired shut for a month, I made the best out of a terrible situation and grew to become quite an experimental and creative drink maker. I made countless smoothies and milkshakes, some that were easier to drink or tastier than others. I tried to make these drinks contain at least one or two healthy ingredients, so I didn’t feel completely guilty while indulging in these dessert-like cold drinks. I didn’t always write down the recipes, although some of the drinks I made were too good to forget. Below are all the ingredients you need for each drink. Combine all into a blender and blend for a few minutes until your desired liquid consistency. Happy blending!

The Tropical:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 Fage yogurt w/Lime fruit on side
  • 1 C “tropical” fruit juice (I used V8 Splash Tropical Blend)
  • 1 packet pomegranate & lychee supplement powder (I got this as a gift. Not sure where you can purchase it.)
  • 1/2 C frozen pineapple & mango  chunks

Super Chocolate:

  • 1 C chocolate ice cream
  • 1 C (Non-fat) chocolate milk
  • 1 soup spoon of Nutella
  • 2 scoops/2 Tbsp. chocolate flavored supplement powder (I used Ensure)

Chocolate Coke:

  • 2 C Cola
  • 1 C chocolate milk
  • 1 scoop/Tbsp. chocolate Ensure

Double Chocolate Berry

  • 1 C chocolate ice cream
  • 1 C strawberry ice cream
  • 1/4 C frozen cherries/blackberries
  • 1.5 scoops/Tbsp. chocolate Ensure
  • 1.5 C almond milk
  • 1 soup spoon of Nutella

Peanut Butter Banana

  • 1 banana
  • 1 soup spoon of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 container any vanilla/plain yogurt
  • 1 C milk (almond or cow)
  • 1 scoop/Tbsp. vanilla Ensure

PB&J

  • 1 banana
  • 1 container any vanilla/plain yogurt
  • 1 soup spoon of creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp. strawberry jelly
  • 1/2 C milk (almond or cow)
  • 1/4 C frozen strawberries (optional)

OMG PBJ sneakers!

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Things I Learned From Having A Broken Jaw

Yesterday was (hopefully) the last page in the book of having a broken jaw. I got all of the metal removed from my mouth and finally look back to normal. It is strange that having a metal-free mouth feels normal, after getting used to so many days of being uncomfortable. I want to share some things I have learned from this terrible experience that I wish upon nobody. However, if you find yourself with a jaw wired shut, here are some valuable things that I learned:

This is what my mouth looked like all wired shut.

This is what my mouth looked like all wired shut.

– Strawberry seeds are a product of the devil. Anything that is strawberry flavored or has strawberry in it will be guaranteed to have strawberry seeds in it. Even if you are sure there will be no seeds, you will most likely be mistaken. Strawberry seeds are unavoidable unless you are personally cutting the strawberries. Strawberry seeds are the worst because they are just tiny enough though unable to go through your teeth. They will instead congregate in the pockets of your cheeks/gums and you will have to dig them out. I didn’t try it, but I would imagine this is the same with chia seeds (which are suggested for many smoothie recipes) or any seeds for that matter.

– Surprisingly, it is most difficult to suck whipped cream through a straw.

– Not all milkshakes and smoothies are created equal. Lumps and bumps can not be sucked through a straw nor can go through your teeth. Make sure these drinks are extra blended.

– Being able to use your tongue is underrated. You can’t with your jaw wired shut. That means no [licking] ice cream, no licking the spoon of leftovers from making smoothies, soups, yogurt, etc.

– It is beyond frustrating when you are trying to say something but nobody can understand you. It’s super easy to get mad about this. Patience is a virtue. As a quiet person, this was especially difficult for me to grasp because when I do speak, I reserve those times for things of importance or especially funny comments. But I had to learn that it was just easier to keep many more of my thoughts to myself. Another option is to text/write down everything you want to say, but that requires more effort.

– Keep dental wax on you at all times. I rarely used it but when I did it was a life saver. It cushions your cheeks/lips from getting constantly poked by metal, which became more painful than anything else I had to deal with.

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– On the topic of sneezing: it is possible to go a month without sneezing. And I say that about ANY month of the year, any season. I was restrained from sneezing during the most pollen-heavy month and I have the worst hay fever. And I managed. I only half-sneezed twice and it felt more just like a cough with a tight pulling or pinch on my throat. I have now become really good at holding in sneezes. I once read that looking at a bright light when you need to sneeze, will help suppress it, and whether or not this is true, it did help. Also, in most situations I just focused really hard on not sneezing and although it may have looked like I was having a mini convulsion, it was a great alternative.

– Regarding yawning: I needed to yawn all the time. This is possible to do with your jaw shut. Every once in a while though, my jaw moved a little bit open when I yawned which was caused a twinge of pain. Try your best to keep your jaw closed, though it is ok if it is unavoidable.

– You CAN lose weight and still have a milkshake every day. When I was on a liquid diet my appetite decreased. So having a milkshake really filled me up. Plus, exercising helps too- I took a lot of long walks because it wasn’t too strenuous or shook my face.

– I got really upset when I was around people who were eating normal foods. It is really nice if friends and family are able to eat their own normal foods not around you. This is asking a lot but it makes it much easier to deal with the diet restrictions.

– Your diet doesn’t have to be all sweet. Many people think of a liquid diet as only consisting of fruit smoothies and milkshakes and sodas and juices. Don’t forget soup (broths) and vegetable juices/smoothies!

FullSizeRender (5)– After the 3 week mark, talking gets easier. Trust me.

– Take this opportunity to get really creative and adventurous with your homemade smoothie/milkshake recipes. As much as I may have really enjoyed some that I made, I rarely wrote down successful recipes so I could change it up and have something new every time. (I did however write down some of my favorite recipes which I will be sharing forthcoming.)

– If you make your own smoothies/shakes you are now an expert. You might as well open your own business.

– Even when the wires are cut, and even with all the metal is removed, you will still need to practice opening and closing your jaw. Think of it as jaw exercises. It will feel stiff and thus be a little painful, but if you ever want to regain your muscles and return to normal, this is necessary.

– When your wires are cut, nothing feels better or more relieving than a good, hearty sneeze. Or a yawn. Yawn till the cows come home. It will feel so good.

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The Milkshake Taste Test: Potbelly

Last Wednesday I got my wires cut on my broken jaw, which was one of the greatest feelings. While I was still limited to soft foods, I was finally able to open up and stretch my jaw after having it shut for a month. So to celebrate, I got a milkshake… naturally. I was recommended the milkshakes at Potbelly, so I decided to check out this sandwich chain.

Now that my mouth could open, I no longer had the restraint behind creating the Drinkability category, so I opted for an Oreo milkshake; a flavor I assumed would be chock full of little pieces of cookie. This is not to say however that this category no longer needs to exist. Milkshakes can still be more or less drinkable, but now that the situation has changed, this should be an easier way for milkshakes to gain points. I took a visit to the Potbelly located around the corner from the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C…

VALUE: 10/10  Potbelly ranks super high with the cheapest shakes around! The shakes are one price at a mere $2.90. I was very pleasantly surprised.

SIZE: 10/10  I was afraid that for such a low price, the size would match, but actually the cup is quite large and a great size for a milkshake.

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FLAVOR VARIETY: 3/10  The flavor selection is extremely limiting, although Potbelly does offer a slightly different selection than your Standard Three (Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry). There are only four choices here: Chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee, and Oreo. I was at least expecting Strawberry and/or Peanut Butter -especially since they have a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.

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DRINKABILITY: 9/10  This shake was full of tiny Oreo pieces, which may not have even been an issue with a closed jaw because it was ground down so fine. The texture did get a little too frozen towards the end, which was difficult to drink up a straw. That would have been better suited for a spoon-ended straw/spoon. On a somewhat related note, all of the shakes come with two little sugar cookies on the straw. Apparently the Oreo shake comes with two Oreo cookies. I was unable to enjoy any of these cookies but for future visits, this little bonus is quite appealing.

OVERALL SATISFACTION:  10/10  I was so thrilled with the milkshake experience at Potbelly. The value is extremely good and the shake was blended very well. I really enjoyed the Oreos in my shake, especially since I could not have had this flavor beforehand. This might not be the place to go if you want a flavor other than what they offer, but if you are easily pleased or open to slightly less exciting flavor options, it is well worth it.

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The Milkshake Taste Test (Beach Edition): Hopkins Farm Creamery

To continue my unique beach locations to get a milkshake, today I’m highlighting a farm on the drive to/from the Delaware beaches. Hopkins Farm Creamery is in Lewes, Delaware which neighbors Rehoboth- a favorite beach spot for many on the Eastern Shore. If you go to a dairy farm and they have an ice cream shop onsite, you should go. And chances are it will be a fun time for all. The Creamery has an ice cream stand/shop on their premises and in the summer months usually has a long line of people eagerly awaiting fresh, cold sweets. A bonus is that while waiting for your dairy treat you can head around the corner and see some of the dairy’s cows lounging around.

A few weeks ago I was returning from a weekend at the beach and stopped here for a different place to get a milkshake. The wait was tedious, but being able to watch the cows at the farm made the time pass by quicker. (When I went, one of the cows had started to give birth! And it was Mother’s Day which made the occasion so appropriate.) I was still in a tropical mood from being at the beach and ordered a banana shake…

VALUE: 10/10  The shakes a $5.75 (no tax) a pop and for a freshly made, local product, I’d say this is a pretty good deal.

SIZE: 10/10  The milkshake cups are pretty large, and since there’s only one size, this is a pretty good deal.

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FLAVOR VARIETY: 9/10  The Creamery offers a surprisingly extensive list of flavors. I only wish more of the flavors did not have chunks in the ice cream, to make for an easier time drinking a milkshake through a straw with a wired-shut jaw.

So many flavors on the menu!

So many flavors on the menu!

DRINKABILITY: 9/10  The shake was a tad thick, but overall pretty easy to consume. The texture was not so thick that the drink could not be consumed in longer than an hour. Also, when I ordered the shake, I explained about my unique situation and the employee understood their “special instructions” to please blend the shake more than usual. You can see on the receipt that they really tried:

THIN THIN THIN THIN THIN

THIN THIN THIN THIN THIN

OVERALL SATISFACTION: 9/10  Overall, this was a great experience. The shake was quite large, the flavor was on point, it wasn’t too difficult to drink, AND I got to watch a cow start to give birth (which apparently is a very lengthy process)! Dinner and a show. I would definitely go back for a change of scenery and some cool treats.

Cows lounging around in the shade at the farm.

Cows lounging around in the shade at the farm.

 

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The Milkshake Taste Test (Beach Edition): The Ice Cream Store

It’s almost officially summer (next weekend is Memorial Day!) and it’s a lovely Friday afternoon and I don’t know about you but if I could, I would definitely be heading out to the beach this weekend. I have already been out to the Delaware beaches twice this year and have sampled some fine milkshakes out there. If you find yourself heading out to the beach and hankering for a milkshake, I can help point you in the right direction.

This must have been the off-season, because there is empty space where even more flavors would normally be displayed.

If you have ever strolled the boardwalk and main downtown street of Rehoboth Beach, you may be familiar with a certain ice cream shop one shop off the boardwalk. The Ice Cream Store is known for featuring wacky flavors such as Booger, Viagra, Stifler’s Mom, and Crack. In addition to the ice cream flavors, there are also flavored syrups and a sprinkles bar. Most of the flavors have pieces and chunks in it so I got a Nutella shake with Kalua syrup. Here’s how it stood up…

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VALUE: 8/10  The milkshake was kind of pricey at $7.75 but when you consider that 1) there’s no sales tax in Delaware and 2) you can pretty much get any flavor imaginable, this isn’t such a bad price.

SIZE: 9/10  This was a really good size. This cup had a bubble top lid and the shake came part-way up the height of the lid, which is more than other places that have had this same cup top. You can tell that you’re getting more than the average milkshake.

FLAVOR VARIETY: 11/10  This one goes to 11! The Ice Cream Store has just so many flavors, it makes the experience a lot of fun. Anything you get will be good, too, because The Ice Cream Store specializes in… (yes-) ice cream. And even with a mouth wired shut, there were plenty of options that didn’t have chunks and bits in them.

DRINKABILITY:  10/10  This shake was mixed perfectly. It is served with a jumbo straw but I was able to get a regular sized straw, so that was not an issue. The shake required no extra effort to drink and the texture was how a shake should be.

OVERALL SATISFACTION: 10/10  I very much enjoyed this milkshake. The flavor combination was great and the size was just right. I could imagine going back many more times. This place is fun and delicious. Let’s face it-everything is better at the beach. A+

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The Milkshake Taste Test: Shake Shack

With a name like Shake Shack, one would expect this place to serve the epitome of milkshakes. Or, people may think that it is a small little shack that serves milkshakes every now and then. As it turns out, Shake Shack doesn’t really fit the bill for either of these descriptions. Yes, Shake Shack serves milkshakes, but in my experience, people mostly flock for the Concretes- more closely in the Dairy Queen Blizzard or McDonalds’ McFlurry family. As someone with a jaw wired closed and unable to have such mix-ins, the Concretes were not why I had come to Shake Shack.

A few days ago I visited the Shake Shack location in Chinatown, D.C. to sample their shakes. I have eaten the burgers and fries before, and I have gotten their other ice cream drinks, but this time I was focusing on the shakes. I got a simple chocolate shake. Let’s see how it faired in my categories…

Kind of dinky looking.

Kind of dinky looking.

VALUE: 6/10  The shakes are $5.25 (25 cents more for the Flavor of the Week) which is not a bad price for a milkshake from a popular chain. But the shake is kind of boring, so I’m not sure the price accurately reflects what you end up getting.

SIZE: 5/10  This shake was much too small for the price and the hype coming from a restaurant whose name features this unremarkable-looking product.

FLAVOR VARIETY: 5/10  Shake Shack offers the Standard Three (Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry) plus four other regular flavors which are all pretty normal too: Black & White, Caramel, Coffee, and Peanut Butter. (Plus the special Shake of the Week flavor.) The flavor selection wasn’t very exciting or out of the ordinary. Meh.

DRINKABILITY: 10/10  Well, at least Shake Shack knows how to properly prepair a milkshake! This was exactly the right texture that a milkshake should be. It wasn’t soupy or too thick to drink through a straw. I was so pleased with how incredibly drinkable this shake was.

OVERALL SATISFACTION: 7.5/10  This shake was just so boring. It might as well have been something from McDonalds, although I guess the take-away from getting a shake from Shake Shack is that many fast food burger chains have similar milkshakes and maybe I shouldn’t have expected anything more. It wasn’t a bad experience though- just not what I was expecting. So much hype (from the name of the restaurant) and not enough to show for it. Oh well.

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