Friday, July 6, 2018

Taking out the Summer Favorites

I finally have something to promote on this blog and I'm definitely not above shamelessly plugging things.  I have recently gotten into investing the money I have left after eating my milkshakes in hopes that one day I will be able to eat even more milkshakes.  I've gotten into the app Robinhood.  It offers free trades and has no minimum balance.  If you're interested in investing this is truly the millennial way.  If you sign up with this link: https://share.robinhood.com/landonp82 we both get a free stock to start our portfolio out and who knows it might even be an ice cream stock
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4.  Despite all the menu changes it looks like I am only four Blizzards away from ending the challenge.  Hopefully I can knock these out quickly before they re-do their entire menu and I'm left looking dumb.  It's a real race against the corporate clock.  I hope to emerge victorious.

To ensure my success I focused on the summer Blizzards and the one new candy one.

I started off with the Cotton Candy blizzard.

The cotton candy blizzard was very disappointing.  The flavor is achieved with little pieces of candy that kind of remind me of pop-rocks.  These are supposed to give the vanilla ice cream the flavor of cotton candy.  It kind of achieves this but honestly the sensation of fake pop rocks in ice cream isn't an appealing one.  This candy was also crunchy and just did not mix well with the vanilla.  Whatever blizzard was replaced by this should be re-added.

Taste: 3.5/5- It kind of tasted like Cotton Candy but even that was vague.

Consistency: 3.5/5- The pieces of candy stood out and didn't blend well like a good blizzard does.

Overall- 7/10- I forgot my scoring system so hopefully the two sub-categories are correct. This one was forgetful and hopefully disapears forever once summer ends.

I followed it up with a Twix blizzard.


I feel like this is going to be a hot take but I was so so disappointed with this thing.  Firstly, when the Twix was mixed up it created pieces that were far more different than left and right twix.  This created a really weird dynamic when you never knew what the texture or taste of the piece would be.  It created chunks that were mostly just cookie but also parts of straight up frozen caramel.  It just didn't work in my opinion.  A good blizzard is fairly uniform throughout and this one was full of conflicting pieces and some even kind of hurt to bite into it.

Taste: 3/5- It just didn't work.  I can't express that clearly enough.

Consistency 3.5/5- Very different consistency based on the bite and it was not great.

Overall: 6.5/10- I wish the new candy they added to their blizzard lineup would have translated better.  I enjoy Twix but really didn't enjoy this blizzard.

The last one for this time is the Summer Berry Cheesecake Blizzard.

Man, I dislike being negative in this things.  This one might have been the best milkshake in the bunch but it still wasn't that great.  Apparently summer berries consist solely of blueberry. I actually really liked the blueberry part of it and it permeated the vanilla ice cream really well but they couldn't have thrown another berry in or something?  Why not just call it a blueberry cheesecake blizzard.  You'd think that would sell just as much as summer.  I guess summer is such a marketing buzzword that you can't not use it.  My main gripe was the cheesecake.  It was fine.  I've mentioned I'm not a huge cheesecake fan but it didn't blend well with the ice cream or the blueberry at all.  The blueberry milkshake from Cookout is far superior. 

Taste: 4/5- It get's docked a point because I was expecting some strawberries or some other berry.

Consistency: 4/5- The blueberry part was good the cheesecake part just did not blend well at all.

Overall: 8/10- This was one of the better entries in the summer blizzard series but that series will hopefully only last another few months.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dairy Queen and Flubs

We're almost to a milestone team.  It's been a long journey but this post should push this blog over the 10,000 view count.  While at least a few thousand of those were me desperately trying to pump up the numbers, it means that some of you still care about what an official ice cream connoisseur has to say about the best milkshakes out there.  My official Cookout ranking has almost 2,000 views alone.  So thank you guys, I never imagined 10 people would read this thing. I've enjoyed writing this blog for you and I appreciate you guys reading it, typos and all.

The Dairy Queen situation keeps getting murkier.  I still intend to complete it but there have been more setbacks than I could ever imagine.  I was in the home stretch but then Dairy Queen went and redid half the menu.  I guess the good news is that I will have more blizzards to rank.  I just hope the menu doesn't get overhauled again and I at least have this summer to knock out the new flavors.

The first new blizzard I tried was the Jurassic Chomp with Peanut Butter Blizzard.

What a name.  I like Dairy Queen but someone really needs to help them with conciseness.  This blizzard worried me at first.  It seemed like a poor mans Reese's Cup and while it never approached that level of perfection, that would also be a poor comparison.  This blizzard really got better as I ate it.  The fudge and peanut butter bites mixed well with the vanilla ice cream, even causing some bites of ice cream to make me question the flavor.

Taste: 4/5- At first I thought that this was going to be a mistake but it got a lot better as I went on.

Consistency: 4.5/5- The chunks weren't quite as good as a peanut butter cup but this was pretty good consistency wise.

Overall: 8.5/10- It's probably redundant in the lineup but at least the actual blizzard was pretty good.

The second new blizzard I had was the S'mores Blizzard.

This blizzard was actually really good too.  It tasted just like a s'more.  My only complaint is that I wish it would have a had a bit more of a marshmallow flavor.  It essentially substitutes the marshmallow for the vanilla ice cream.  While the graham cracker and chocolate are represented with chunks of both the marshmallow is missing.

Taste: 4.75/5- Great overall taste, with just a little bit of marshmallow this could have been perfect.

Consistency: 4.5/5- Overall really great as well.  The chocolate bars were kind of thin which was surprising.

Overall: 9.25/10- Very good new blizzard that perfectly captures a different summer treat.

Flubs

My other summer goal is to find the best creamy whip in the greater Cincinnati area.  The first that I tried was Flubs.  Flubs is a chain in Hamilton/Fairfield area.  They have three locations and they also run a few trucks. 

The one in Hamilton is only a few minutes from where I work.  When I got there, the line for the drive-thru was wrapped around the building and the line of people standing in front of the building was several people deep.  Unfortunately, the line moved quickly and I really didn't get a chance to look over the massive menu.  They have 44 different types of cyclones (blizzards) which may be a challenge for another day.  They have Italian ice, milkshakes, and sundaes but they do not have actual food besides that.  I really wanted this delicious looking cyclone involving a ton of peanut butter and I still might.  This overall grade will likely change if I go back and have another visit, but for this first visit I decided to have something that most other places would have.  I settled with a strawberry milkshake.  Below is the rating both of my experience and the milkshake!

Menu: 4.5/5- The menu is truly massive.  The good news is that you could eat here for multiple summers and never get the same treat twice.  The bad news is that it is overwhelming.  You can't see the menu until it's almost time to order and for those that get anxiety when they have to order under pressure, this place causes the stress.  For those reasons I bumped it down a little.

Food: 4.5/5- In the food section the location has a chance to get some bonus points.  While a place won't necessarily be penalized for not having normal food, I believe that adds to the experience of these places so I'm willing to give some bonus points.  Flubs has no food but the milkshake was pretty good. I'm a big fan of strawberry.  This one was made with vanilla and strawberry topping mixed together. Overall, it was pretty good although it left some strawberry chunks that didn't mix well with the rest of the ice cream.  I got a 16oz one for $3.75 which is a good price point.

Overall: 9/10- Overall a solid first entry.  It will be interesting to see if this can hold up once other challengers are introduced.



Sunday, March 25, 2018

Finally an Update!

It's been almost 6 months since the last update but we're finally back. Tons of things have changed since November, I have a new job and live in a new city.  It took me a while to get accustomed to the new city but for months I thought I had made a big mistake. It seemed like the closest Dairy Queen was half an hour away and the challenge was dead in the water.  Luckily, thanks to Google Maps I have found a Dairy Queen within a reasonable driving distance and we are back on whatever poorly constructed tracks we were originally on. I finally had the self imposed requirement of the third Blizzard this past week so I can provide you all the reviews that you've been waiting for and my haters can get off my back.  Quick shout out to you all as well.  The Cookout ranking blog post has hit over 1,000 views and still gets tons of views a week.  I never thought I would reach 100 views so to have something that is still checked means something to me. Not much but something.

The first blizzard I had for this review was eaten a long, long time ago. Fortunately, I know this frozen treat like the back of my hand.  I conquered the legendary Reese's Blizzard for this challenge.

The Reese's Blizzard is the gold standard of ice cream as far as I'm concerned.  The only even slight drawback is the disbursement of Reese's throughout the Blizzard but even that is not enough to take away from what is always a magical experience.

Taste- 5/5- Chocolate and peanut butter mixed together was the greatest invention that man had ever created. It has since only been surpassed by throwing that concoction into ice cream. The taste is incredible.  If I didn't care about my integrity as a milkshake reviewer I would rate this above 5.

Consistency- 4.75/5- I want to give this a perfect score but in this instance, there was some ice cream at the bottom devoid of man's greatest creation so a slight doc from an otherwise superb treat.

Overall- 9.75/10- The standard of Dairy Queen Blizzards.

The second blizzard I had was the Royal Ultimate Choco Brownie Blizzard.

I've never felt more ridiculous ordering ice cream.  The name is an absolute mess.  I feel like once you reach the age of 12 you should be allowed to order this monstrosity.  Luckily, that's not a rule because this thing was actually pretty good.  It is sooo much chocolate.  The ice cream is chocolate, there are chunks of brownie spread throughout and in the center is a direct line of fudge.  Surprisingly the chocolate overload works here.  It's kind of nice to mix the fudge with the brownie chunks and make the chocolate ice cream even more chocolaty.

Taste- 4.5/5- Pretty good taste. The brownie chunks are nice and in an treat that's made for chocolate overload somehow this treat doesn't provide that.

Consistency- 4.25/5- The essential flaw of the ultimate blizzards are that you are promised a line of fudge throughout and that's not always the case. While it seems like a nice little surprise, I somehow wanted more of the fudge.

Overall- 8.75/10- Potentially the best of the ultimate blizzards.

The last blizzard I had was the Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard.

This was slightly disappointing.  I didn't know what made up a chocolate xtreme blizzard but I expected big things. Unfortunately, it's milder than the name implies.  It consists of chocolate ice cream, which seemed to be created with hot fudge mixed with vanilla soft serve ice cream, chocolate chips, and brownie pieces.  The only xtreme part of the blizzard is the wildly different texture of the chocolate chip and brownie pieces. Unfortunately this wasn't a welcome distinction.

Taste- 4.25/5- The chocolate ice cream was pretty good especially considering it was fake chocolate ice cream.  The only real negative is the fact that you didn't know if you were getting brownie pieces or chocolate chips.  The fact that texture-wise these are vastly different didn't enhance the blizzard experience.

Consistency- 4/5- The blizzard is brought down by the fact that I could tell the ice cream was really vanilla and the inconsistency of chocolate chips and brownie pieces. If they would have meshed better it would have been different.

Overall- 8.25/10. The only xtreme thing about this milkshake is the spelling.  It leaves thrills on the table.

I only have a few more blizzards left and since I have found a Dairy Queen close by I hope to not go another 6 months between blog posts.  I have another side quest for the spring/summer.  There are tons of creamy whips in this area. Easily 6 or 7 within 20 minutes of me. My goal for the summer is to try them and determine the best of Butler County/surrounding area so stay tuned for that!



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Almost Halfway There

Hey team, it's been a month since my last update and I've finally eaten enough Blizzards to give you guys a proper update.  Although it has been much slower going than I would have liked I'm at about the halfway point of this mini-challenge.  The Thanksgiving Weekend provided me with enough motivation to knock out two blizzards in two days though.  Things are looking up as we roll into the holiday season.  Who knows just how many blizzards Santa Claus will encourage me to put down?  Another point that shouldn't be understated is that with Cookout's massive menu I would have to hurriedly check to see if I had the milkshake or not, but with DQ's much more reasonable menu, I actually know all the ones that I've knocked out.  Makes the challenge a lot easier on both my brain and stomach.

The first blizzard I had the M&M blizzard.

This blizzard had awful presentation.  When I got it the employee didn't flip it over which should mean a free blizzard coming my way, but honestly, I was scared that if she flipped it, it would all come out.  The ice cream was so melted, you'd think it was made 15 minutes before I even ordered.  Also, the blizzard machine must do a number to the M&M's because the ice cream was streaked heavily with brown and then an assortment of rainbow colors to a lighter degree.  Honestly, this was kind of disappointing overall too.  I just expected more and while it was fine, it didn't really deliver anything special.

Taste- 4/5- It tasted fine but as I stated nothing special, just ice cream with an assortment of M&Ms that were poorly mixed together and half destroyed.

Consistency- 4/5- The good news is the blizzard machine is a lot more consistent than McDonald's ice cream machine.  The bad news is it doesn't mix the M&Ms as well.

Overall- 8/10- It was alright but certainly nothing special.

The second one on the list is the Royal Oreo Blizzard.

I don't know why such a perfect idea struggles to be utilized properly.  As unhappy as I was with the Royal Reese's Cup, this one might have been worse.  First of all, for a blizzard that is supposed to be injected with fudge, the fudge leaves a lot to be desired.  You have to go way to deep to get to the fudge and it tastes like chocolate pudding once you get to it.  It might just be the congealed similarity between the two substances but that's exactly how it tastes.  Also you look super weird if you try to spread some of the fudge around.  I didn't appreciate looking like a madman stabbing a blizzard because I wanted a consistent taste.

Taste- 4/5- The Oreo's were nice though.

Consistency- 3/5- The essential flaw of the Royal Blizzard line, it just lacks consistency that makes a milkshake good.

Overall-7/10- I don't know how this rating compares to the Royal Reese's Blizzard and I'm too lazy to compare scores but this one was worse.

The last one on the list is the Butterfinger Blizzard.

I'm not a huge butterfinger fan.  I don't like the fact that it gets all stuck to your teeth while your eating it.  That might be a different story for a different day but I think it's important to mention because I actually really liked this blizzard.  The butterfinger meshes well with the ice cream and are in small enough pieces that they don't get as stuck into your teeth.  Once you get over that part, the candy is actually pretty nice.  I don't despise butterfingers or anything but this was still a pleasant surprise.

Taste- 4.5/5- It was close to perfection.  Good work Butterfinger Blizzard.

Consistency- 5/5- Perfect consistency, plenty of butterfinger distributed throughout and pretty small pieces which is appreciated.

Overall- 9.5/10- One of the top blizzards DQ has to offer.  I did not expect to be saying that.



Monday, October 23, 2017

Dairy Queen News

Well team, this challenge started with so much promise.  I thought I could easily start destroying the short list of Dairy Queen blizzards and while I still plan to complete the list it has been slow going so far.  Momentum has been hard to gain but I will keep plugging away.  Luckily, studying for the CPA exam is pretty awful so I've decided to take a break and update you all on my progress so far.  Also, if you can think of a better blog name let me know or we'll just ride this thing on out right here.

While progress has been slowed by my own laziness we do have four wonderful Blizzards to review at this point so we'll dive right into that.

The first blizzard I had was the Blizzard of the Month months ago.  Luckily it wasn't that great and the review of it probably won't be that great as well so you're really not missing much.

I'm talking about the Triple Truffle Blizzard.

The concept is that this blizzard featured three different types of truffles, fudge, peanut butter, and caramel.  You would never know which kind you were biting in to, making each one a magical surprise.  This was mixed with chocolate ice cream as well.  This could have been a good strategy but at least two of the truffles tasted terrible.  The peanut butter was the only one that was any good but it made this blizzard surprise into a blizzard minefield with your tastebuds being the causality.

Taste- 2.5/5- The whole concept of this was the truffles but there were so many poor tasting truffles in there I actually got truffle fatigue.  Not good when that is the whole point of your blizzard.

Consistency- 4/5- While this was kinda really bad the consistency was actually alright.

Overall- 6.5/10- Hopefully it never comes back.

Next we have an originally classic, the Oreo Blizzard.

I'm not gonna lie, my blizzard experience was extremely limited coming into this challenge.  I'd only really had a Reese's Blizzard.  I feel like the Oreo is the classic blizzard experience though so I was happy to experience it.  The Oreo cookie mixes well with the ice cream and makes for a very enjoyable experience.

Taste- 4.5/5- This one could definitely give the Reese's a run for it's money.

Consistency- 5/5- It mixes very well.

Overall 9.5/10- While Oreo markets itself as milks favorite cookie, ice creams favorite cookie might be a more accurate label.

Then I had the Cookie Dough Blizzard.

I thought the cookie dough was the first blizzard I really had that was enhanced by the filler in the ice cream.  The cookie dough flavor really permeated the ice cream and led to a taste that was just vanilla ice cream more unique than usual.

Taste- 4/5- The cookie dough chunks were nice and the flavor took on that cookie doughish taste which was fun too.

Consistency- 3.5/5- Although the taste permeated the ice cream the chunks of cookie dough did stand out.

Lastly, I had the Reese's Brownie Royal Blizzard.

This one is going to be hampered by high expectations.  When I received this blizzard they had to ask for it back to replace the iconic red spoon with the royal gold spoon.  Given the nature of the Blizzard I ordered I understood, it was a concoction meant for a king or at least one that would make you feel royal as the treat killed you off.  This thing had Reese's Cup, chunks of brownie, and the center was filled with peanut butter.  It sounds like an all-time classic but unfortunately this was a case of too much of a good thing hurting it overall.  The chunks of brownie did not mix well with the Reese's or peanut butter mix.  The peanut butter also tasted weird.  It's super hard to explain but it didn't taste like normal peanut butter and really didn't mix well with the blizzard.  I found myself left with two or three spoonfuls of almost straight peanut butter by the end.  All in all, this had high expectations and under delivered.

Taste- 3.5/5- The strange peanut butter taste and brownie chunks bring this rating down.

Consistency- 4/5- Probably should be lower honestly, things just didn't really mix well together.  Although I loved the idea of mixing the peanut butter center with the ice cream and throwing in some brownie chunks it wasn't mixed well throughout and hurt it.

Overall 7.5/10- Could have been in the pantheon of ice cream treats but will instead have to settle for middle of the pack when it comes to Blizzards. 


Saturday, July 22, 2017

A New Challenge

If you haven't heard I have undertaken a new ice cream treat journey.  I have decided to make a post about it here, talk about the future of this blog, and leave my first Dairy Queen Blizzard review.  This will be a much shorter entry featuring about a fourth of the content and about a sixteenth of the wit but I'm all about click bait so it will probably be hyped up a whole lot.

The new challenge is to eat every Dairy Queen Blizzard on the menu.  I've had a few questions about what the Dairy Queen menu actually consists of so I felt the need to clarify that I will be eating the core menu and will try to eat the monthly special that Dairy Queen puts out but I'm making no guarantees on that front.  The goal is to eat one Blizzard a week but that could change as well.  

After this review the blog will more than likely move to one that better represents the challenge.  I should have thought about the future when making my original blog but I was to scared about the daunting task before to think that I'd want to tackle another resturuant so fast.  So if you have a good name for a potential blog leave a message in the comments or shoot me a Facebook message or something.  I'm relying on your wit to create something good.

Lastly we have the first review.  In the future expect 3-4 Blizzards in a review but I was so excited to update the blog that we only have one for today and boy is it a good one.

The first blizzard I took down was banana split.

Wow, the presentation of this blizzard was not good.  It had already started to melt and you know how they have to turn the blizzard upside down when they deliver it to you?  I thought that was going to be the end of the blizzards life.  It was close too.  But I got it and ate it and it was alright until I dropped my spoon.  I then had to ask the DQ worker for a new one.  Not a good start for someone I'm sure I'm going to become familiar with.

The blizzard itself was alright.

Taste- 3.5/5- I expected a lot more banana flavor in this to be honest.  It had a strawberry base and chunks of fruit in it but the banana was lacking.  I think there only two pieces of banana in the entire blizzard.  It was outweighed by pineapple chunks which I already don't believe mix well with ice cream so I was a little dissapointed.

Consistency- 4.5/5- The consistency wasn't bad.  Everything was mixed well and there were always chunks of fruit mixed in the ice cream, no long fruitless stretches although sometimes the fruit that I found were hard, a byproduct of improper thawing.

Overall- 8/10- This was probably a bottom-tier blizzard.  I had really high hopes because I like banana splits and even higher when I saw that strawberry would be prominent but there were too many nasty chunks of pineapple and cherry to bring this to the next level.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ranking The Cookout Milkshakes

Well team I promised that I would rank all the Cookout milkshakes as the preeminent expert on the subject so I'm back to do just that.  A few notes on the rankings.  The most important factor is memorability of the shake either good or bad.  I had 40 plus milkshakes over almost two years.  If I can remember the milkshake then it will rank over one that might have scored higher initially.  That is not to say that those ratings don't matter.  They will come into play but those numbers aren't the end all be all.  Lastly, I'm ranking from worst to best so you all have to read everything if you want to find out what the best is.  Gotta get my click rates up somehow!

46. Walnut- Gag-worthy

45. Peach- This contained peach pits and that wasn’t even the worst part of the shake.

44. Watermelon- It didn’t waste like anything really and you had chunks of watermelon in it still.

43. Banana Fudge- Perhaps the first shocker on the list but it was so bad when I had it deserves a low spot.

42. Cherry Banana- Mostly because cherry shouldn’t be classified as a berry.

41. Cherry Cobbler- Disappointing

40. Cherry Cheesecake- Cherry might be the most disappointing flavor in Cookout history.

39. Caramel Cheesecake- Cheesecake is a close second.

38. Hershey’s Chocolate- Regular Hershey’s Chocolate needed something more.

37. Banana Pineapple- They just don’t mix.

36. Pineapple

35. Banana Nut- You’re nutty if you think this should be higher.

34. Red Cherry

33. Peach Cobbler

32. Strawberry Cheesecake

31. Blueberry Cheesecake

30. Double Chocolate- Just adding double the chocolate makes this shake ten spots better.

29. Vanilla

28. Egg-Nog- You’ll have to wait until December to see if you agree.

27. Caramel- High initial rating but the cheesecake really hurt this one.

26. Chocolate Cobbler- The top cobbler milkshake but far from the top milkshake.

25. Mocha

24. Cappuccino- These two are so interchangeable it’s not even funny.

23. Snickers- My haters probably won’t like this ranking I’m sure.

22.Heath- I don’t like Heath that much but it is great in shake form.

21. Chocolate Nut

20. Peanut Butter Banana- This might be my most controversial placement.  It truly is an enigma though.

19. Chocolate Cherry- Never thought I’d have cherry this high until I got halfway through this list.

18. Banana- It’s tough to get fresh banana but when you do, this is on another level.

17. Chocolate Chip Cheesecake- I never thought I’d have a cheesecake milkshake this high.

16. Hi-C Punch- This shake could be higher but was hindered by Cookout’s inability to remember I ordered it.

15. Chocolate Chip Mint- Not quite as good as Mint Oreo

14. Mint Oreo- This shake failed to reach my lofty expectations but was solid in the end.

13. Chocolate Malt- Cookout’s version of the Frosty.

12. Strawberry Banana

11. Caramel Fudge- Not quite peanut butter fudge but a quality mixture nonetheless. 

10. M&M

9. .Reese’s Cup- Never in my life would I think I’d rank Reese’s this low but when you have a perfect blizzard to compare to, the impossible becomes possible.

8. Blueberry Banana

7. Strawberry- People always sleep on strawberry.

6. Oreo- Never would have guessed this would be my top candy choice but it was truly impressive.

5. Peanut Butter- Smooth peanut butter and ice cream with some extra peanut butter at the end makes this a strong entry.

4. Blueberry- Who would have known that the 2nd most popular berry produces a better milkshake?

3. Banana Pudding- Another shocker but it deserves it.

2. Orange Push-Up Pop- A creamsicle in everything but name, the surprise of the challenge but a very good milkshake.


1. Peanut Butter Fudge- I wanted to find something that would dethrone the champ, but I'm still looking for a worthy challenger.

Well team there you have it.  Let me know what you think of the rankings and the blog in general.  What did you like?  What did you hate?  I think I've milked this whole Cookout thing for all I can so I ask you what should I tackle next? Let me know in the comments here on Facebook or send me an email or something I don't know but I'm open to ideas now that there is a whole in my life where Cookout used to be.