Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Need to Start Frequenting Country Fairs

Corn Dog -- Shake Shack
Shake Shack

Shake Shack has become a bit of a New York institution, which is odd for a place that serves food one could pretty much find at McDonald's.  Don't get us wrong - Shake Shack is good and all, but is it good enough to counteract the excessively long lines, jam-packed space, and screaming children?

Let's just say that neither of us are frequenters of the place.
Cropped to Remove the Legions of Strollers Parked Outside
However, when our BFF Claire Robinson tells us to go eat something on Best Thing I Ever Ate, you can be sure that we will follow orders.  So we go to the Upper West Side Shake Shack in search of an elusive corn dog, which Claire spoke of on the ON A STICK episode.  Said corn dogs are only available over long summer weekends (Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day), which is clever marketing in terms of hype but seems somewhat unnecessary.  It is just a fried hot dog, after all.

Blessedly arriving at the place ten minutes before noon, we figure we are in the clear from the onslaught of the lunch crowd.  Wrong.  The place is teeming with other folks who apparently eat on a schedule akin to the Golden Girls.  Children and strollers block every turn, and we are becoming displeased and mildly claustrophobic.

Ginger lines up to order us a corn dog while Vodka goes on the prowl for condiments and a table.  By some miracle, a table opens up and Vodka, being without the hindrances of a stroller and/or anklebiters, nabs it.  Ginger returns with our Olive Garden-style shaker which will inform us when our corn dog is prepared, and we settle in for what we assume will be a five-minute wait.  We mean, how long could it possibly take to fry ONE hot dog?

THIRTY MINUTES is the answer.
Good Things Better Come in Small Packages
For once the one harassing the waitstaff, Ginger inquires throughout this half hour as to the fate of our corn dog, and she is finally informed that there is a "delay on corn dogs" because they "only have one station open for them."

Good job, Shake Shack.  Solid planning you did there. 


Finally, our buzzer lights up, and Ginger fetches our dog on a stick.  A wooden skewer emerges from a crispy doughy skin of enveloped hot dog.  Ginger bites in and almost burns her mouth off, so we subsequently drown the thing in mustard to cut down on the heat.
We Assume Corn Dog Pictures Never Win Photography Awards
To be fair, we are not really corn dog people.  As far as we can remember, neither of us has ever had one.  Not hailing from families that were prone to visiting country fairs as children, we have nothing to compare this corn dog to.  And frankly, we kind of don't care.

The hot dog itself is delicious - plump and juicy.  The dough around it is crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside, which we assume is a good thing.  This wrapping is mildly sweet, like corn bread, and we're not sure how we feel about the combination of it and the savory hot dog.  Plus, we are generally paranoid about poking our eyes out and/or stabbing the roofs of our mouths, so we don't really like eating off of wooden spears.
The Inner Workings of a Corn Dog
Perhaps if we had eaten a great number of corn dogs in our youth, we would revel over this "upscale" version of the delicacy.  But as it stands, we'd much rather our hot dog be served in a bun.

And in less than thirty minutes.

Shake Shack's Corn Dog: 3 stars

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