I love Instagram. Lately I've started following restaurants known for being very "food porn"-y, with beautiful and delicious photos of their food and behind the scenes in their kitchens. I follow the Gramercy Tavern, Del Posto, Rolf & Daughters, and the Cypress Room most of which aren't even located near me. I follow Waffle House, which surely looks more appetizing in the photos than in their actual restaurants (although at 4am on a road trip Waffle House always looks pretty appetizing). I follow Hash House A Go Go, a restaurant we ate at in Vegas this summer. And I follow Shake Shack.
I can't even tell you how much I have pined for Shake Shack since following them. They're a burger restaurant. Their photos are amazing. I don't eat meat, but no big deal - many of the photos are of their vegetarian portobello burger, their crinkle-cut fries topped in real cheese sauce, their shakes and frozen custards (seasonal flavors, different at each location), and their own brand of beer, Shackmeister Ale, from the Brooklyn Brewery.
Every time I've seen a post, I've thought, "I must have this." The closest ones were in NYC but you know I hate going into the city. Then Shacks just opened up in King of Prussia PA and Paramus NJ, both of which are close enough to go to, but I couldn't justify driving all the way out there just for this food.
And then my mom informed me that there are two (2!) within 45 minutes of my parents' house in CT. While we were in Connecticut, my parents, my gentleman, and I drove over to the Westport CT Shake Shack to realize my dream.
OK. It's pretty and organized and has hand dryers in the bathroom that dry your hands in 4 seconds. But it is, when it comes down to it, fast food. BUT! It's made with quality ingredients - delicious ingredients - that are not horrifically bad for you like its competitors. From what people have told me when I've told them about the Shake Shack, more and more places like this are springing up everywhere. And they're super socially- and environmentally-conscious. This makes me happy about the world.
Anyway, this is what we got from Shake Shack:
*Two portobello mushroom burgers (stuffed with Muenster & cheddar cheeses)
*One standard hot dog
*Two orders of cheese fries, to be shared amongst us all
*One chocolate shake
*One hot cocoa
*One Shackmeister Ale
*One banana frozen custard
My dad enjoyed his burger and my gentleman enjoyed his hot dog. Both felt they had ordered, and received, pretty standard food. My mom and I both really enjoyed our portobello burgers. It's rare to find a vegetarian burger that is creative and delicious without falling apart. The cheese fries were amazing, with real cheese sauce. My dad was not impressed with his hot cocoa, so that's fine. My mom said the milkshake "tastes like the Easter Bunny," which she then clarified meant that she thought it tastes like real chocolate (she was right). We all agreed the Shackmeister Ale tasted oddly like Welch's Grape Soda, which my gentleman attributes to the hops used. The frozen custard was also very good. It had a wonderful texture.
Do I think it was worth driving 45 minutes away to eat at Shake Shack? Well, yes. But would I do it again? No. Would I eat there if one opened up nearby? Of course. It's delicious and I will continue to happily look at their photos.