Fast Food Review: Strawberry “Triple Thick” McCafe Shake from McDonald’s
If the classic, all-American milkshake is an essential part of Utah’s cultural history, then McDonald’s is a disgrace to my beloved home.
Let me explain. Last Sunday we had ridiculously beautiful and unseasonably warm weather here in Cache Valley. This being the case, a nice slow-poke jog was in order for me during the afternoon. After working up a bit of a sweat I conveniently found myself on Main Street (aka, fast food row) with a hankering to complete the iconic picture with yes, a milkshake. They are, after all, kind of a big deal out here, with many local fast-food style places serving them up extra thick. Problem was, my go-to location, Arctic Circle, isn’t open on Sundays, while I didn’t feel like breaking out the money for a Wendy’s Frosty-shake. Luckily I had a gift card to McDonald’s with just a few bucks left on it, and the Golden Arches were upon me.
Now, apparently McDonald’s “reformatted” their shakes a few months ago, and I had heard about this. I had also heard that they are suppose to be “triple thick.” I also heard that the Strawberry Shake which I ordered (and which may or may not have been “triple thick”) would be served up with berry deliciousness. I heard a lot of things, but none of them seemed to live up to the hype. After ordering my shake, I watched the employee do a 180 and whip out a small McCafe cup. She added what appeared to be soft serve ice cream, some syrup, and then whipped cream and a cherry. It look all of 45 seconds, and there was no hand-spun effect. But hey, I can keep an open mind. I’m a Frosty addict, and those things come straight from a machine too, so how bad could it be? Besides, it’s sunny outside and it’s a strawberry milkshake! Life is good!
Wrong. Life is $2.09 poorly spent. To be fair, my first taste was exactly what I wanted. I stuck my straw in an took in a thick, sweet strawberry syrup amidst McDonald’s soft serve, and even detected what could have passed for a strawberry chunk. It was cool and dreamy, and right then and there the over-the-top sweetness seemed to perfectly match the beautiful day.
Then my milkshake turned into a soft serve ice cream and melted whipped cream Slurpee, and started to suck. I can certainly appreciate soft serve ice cream, but ice cream should in no way resemble soup, which is more or less what this turned out to be. But that wasn’t the only thing wrong with it. As I mentioned, this flavor is sweet as all get out. I’m a sugarholic, no doubt, but the strawberry flavor was really artificial in this case, like the super cheap swirl you gets in those Carnival Strawberry Ice Cream cups. The whipped cream, while actual cream, didn’t mesh well with the soft serve, and proved to be too heavy in taste profile to match up to the light and sweet soft serve flavors, which really turned to liquid sugar after all of 15 seconds out of the store. I even found it necessary to forcibly remove my dissolving whip cream. The cherry? I didn’t see the point, except for adding possibly the only tint of red on this otherwise forgettable strawberry shake. Triple thick it was not, and at the risk of compromising my vast arsenal of culinary descriptions, I would even suggest it was “negatively” triple thick. Yes, that’s right. Robbed of the last remaining dollars on my Arch Card, I’ve resulted to second grade insults. It happens.
“Triple Thick” and “McCafe” sound nice, but this milkshake is an abomination to milkshakedom. If you’re in Utah and want a real shake I can only suggest the northwest chain Arctic Circle, which makes milkshakes so thick that you can turn ’em upside down, take a lap around the parking lot, and still get back to a shake which hasn’t dripped from the top. McDonald’s may offer a “cheaper” shake at only $2.09 for a small, but when it comes to replicating a classic American icon, the classic American fast food joint has failed miserably.
Pros: One of the cheaper milkshakes you'll find. Good for at least one slip of sugar-high inducing bliss. A great deterrent against milkshake overdosing and eventual Type II Diabetes. Texture: 1.50
Cons: Propensity to turn into soup. Overpowering artificial strawberry flavor. Dissolved whipped cream tastes nasty. 79 grams of sugar. Doesn't even appear to be red. A greater insult to Utah history and culture than Big Love.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50/10
Price: 2.09 for small (12 oz)
Overall GrubGrade: 4.50 (Poor)
More Info: McDonalds.com
McDonald's McCafe Strawberry Shake (12 oz cup)
Total Fat: 17 g
Saturated Fat: 10 g
Trans Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 50 mg
Sodium: 170 mg
Total Carbs: 92 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sugars: 79 g
Protein: 11 g