Great Shakes

TAKEOUT

August 13, 2008|By ROB KASPER

When professional ice-cream tasters visit their franchise locations, they sample the vanilla. It is the benchmark ice cream, the one other flavors spring from. It is hard to hide flaws in vanilla.

So when I recently went around town on a milkshake search, I ordered vanilla. These shakes were made with hand-scooped ice cream - no soft stuff here. They were blended with a shot of milk and an occasional dash of vanilla syrup, in genuine milkshake makers.

The sounds, the aromas and the effort of digging hard ice cream from the bottom of the freezer reminded me of how I spent one summer of my youth, making milkshakes at a drive-in restaurant.

Best Sip

North Pole Ice Cream

Address : 3713 Eastern Ave.

Phone: 410-534-2700

Hours: Noon-8 p.m. daily

The consummate vanilla shake, made with whole milk and a shot of vanilla flavoring, is served in a colorful, old-time ice-cream parlor setting. Smooth and loaded with vanilla, it was $4 for a 20-ounce serving.

Best Bargain

Charlesmead Pharmacy

Address: 6242 Bellona Ave.

Phone: 410-435-0210

Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday

This was a sweeter shake with an egglike consistency, made with whole milk by a pleasant lad working the pharmacy's vintage lunch counter. At $3.50 for 20 ounces, it was generous.

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Also Tasted

Hometown Girl

Address: 1001 W. 36th St.

Phone: 410-662-4438

Hours: Noon-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday

This was the "lightest" shake I sampled. It was a frothy mixture made with 2 percent milk. The vanilla ice cream was so hard, pieces were still frozen in the shake. Served at the shop's Andrea's Parlor of Sweets, a 20-ounce shake was $4.50.

Know of a good carryout? Write to rob.kasper@baltsun.com.

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