Perpetually #huangry. Occasionally #huangover.

#Huangry: Cook-Out Fancy Shakes

I’ve been waiting a long time to write this column. Ever since I started doing Huangry, I thought it would be totally delightful and slightly insane to justify a Cook-Out milkshake binge in the name of work. And today, I’ve finally done it. 

It wasn’t easy waiting this long. I would have written this column in the winter, because in my opinion, there’s never a bad time for a milkshake. (Unless you are lactose intolerant, in which case, it’s always a bad time.) But in the interest of seasonality—and to allow for the availability of Cook-Out’s signature fresh watermelon shake—I waited nine months. 

Despite having all this time to haphazardly plan this endeavor, I still ran into a few obstacles. First, I’m not as young as I used to be, and that means I’m also not as good at putting down an insane amount of food. But that’s a problem easily solved. Just invite a friend, say, Community Journals’ own Caroline Hafer. Four shakes for one person might be terrible, but four shakes split between two people is only half as terrible. 

Secondly, there’s the overwhelming, paralyzing amount of choice available at Cook-Out. There are 40 individual flavors available, and on top of that, Cook-Out allows you to combine as many flavors as you desire. Just counting single and double-flavor combos, you’re looking at over 800 unique options. That amount of choice can drive someone crazy. So for the purpose of this shakestravaganza, Caroline and I simplified things and settled on summery flavors: fresh watermelon, peach, mint chocolate chip, and Oreo cheesecake.

The peach shake is kind of like Katy Perry or Kesha. You sort of know what they look like, but you don’t really know what they look like.

Here’s a few hot takes on these cold treats. Oreo cheesecake is everything you want in a milkshake: dense, sweet, a little texture, and supremely satisfying. The mint chocolate chip is about what you’d expect: green and minty, with thin chocolate flakes that really punch up the whole crispy-cool motif. All in all, pretty standard, inoffensive, and delicious. But when it came to the fresh watermelon and peach shakes, things got kind of weird. 

“It’s kind of like Katy Perry or Kesha. You sort of know what they look like, but you don’t really know what they look like,” Hafer said about the peach shake. “This shake kind of reminds me something, but I can’t really tell what.” Apparently not peaches, which are the oversweet, canned variety anyways. Regardless, Hafer still ended up eating spoonful after spoonful as she tried to figure out what the shake really tasted like, so I guess it wasn’t bad.

As for the fresh watermelon shake, Hafer and I pretty much had the same reaction: it’s weird. In fact, I’m pretty sure I said, “Whoa what the EFF that is weird” in the middle of my first taste. There’s just something kind of unsettling—cognitively dissonant, even—about watermelon chunks floating about in a thick, creamy, dairy base. But then something even stranger happened. The super cold watermelon bites began tasting like sherbet chunks, and the cognitive dissonance gave way to pure refreshment. I started liking the shake, weirdness and all. Hafer, on the other hand, remained unconvinced.

But that’s okay. Because with this many flavor combinations, you don’t have to get the weird fresh watermelon or the nondescript-but-addicting peach flavors. You can get Oreo cheesecake, or caramel fudge-Heath toffee, or peanut butter fudge-fresh banana. 
It’s a milkshake. Just get one. Or four.  

(+) PROS 

  • So many flavor combinations. On a bad day, maybe even too many combinations.
  • Fresh watermelon grows on you.
  • It’s a Fancy Shake. I don’t know what makes it fancy, but it is, and that makes it better than normal, non-fancy milkshakes. 

(-) CONS

  • Fresh watermelon is weird as heck.
  • Not sure Kesha is a flattering analogue for a peach flavored milkshake, but it’s still kind of delicious.

1560 Laurens Rd, Greenville, SC
1513 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC
Fancy Shake, $2.19

Originally published in the [Greenville Journal] on July 29, 2016.