Friday, May 27, 2005

Meet Me in St. Louis--for Custard

I made a lightning fast trip to the outskirts of St. Louis this past week--in and out in less than two days. I didn't get to see much of the city, since I spent my time across the river in west-central Illinois, but you get a good look at the Arch on the way to and from the airport.

I must say it's darn impressive. It's right there smack in the middle of downtown St. Louis, not out on the prairie in a separate theme park. I think we should get one for Boston. We can put it near the Zakim Bridge, the most beautiful bridge in America. But instead of calling it the Gateway to the West, we'll call the Boston Arch: Gateway to a Lot of Overpriced Real Estate.

But what I really want is a Ted Drewes Frozen Custard stand. New Englanders eat more ice cream per capita than anyplace else in the country, and we have some good ice cream around here. Nevertheless, my friend Ruth, a St. Louisan currently exiled to Dallas, raves and raves about Ted Drewes, Ted Drewes. How good could it be?

Dear Readers, it's that good. And in many ways, simple. The secret to Ted Drewes is taking really good vanilla ice cream (okay, frozen custard--whatever) and stirring it gently (paddles attached to a power drill) till it's soft but not liquid. Then the servers mix in any number of fine incredients and make what's called a "concrete" (you can choose one of their pre-selected combos or pick your own). I chose a Fox Treat--custard with fudge, raspberries, and macadamia nuts. Oh. my. god. Ice cream heaven. I know that Marble Slab and such places do "mix ins," but there was something exceptional about this. Probably the quality of the frozen custard.

My host and hostess (a person from work and his wife) kindly drove me 20 miles each way to get my fix when I told them how Ruth said I must try it. They also told me sometimes the lines stretch a hundred deep in the height of summer--which I believe. Sue had her concrete with pieces of fresh apple pie mixed in. Mmmm.

According to the Ted Drewes website, the company will not expand and will not franchise. So I'm asking the sellers of ice cream in New England to take the next plane to St. Louis, head out to a Ted Drewes, and watch the guy with the drill and paddles soften the ice cream. Also, grab a menu because I'll need you to learn the ingredients for the Fox Treat. Then, head back here and for goodness' sake, start mixing!


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