Who doesn't love a milkshake??? Ice cream blended with milky goodness, all frappe'd up into a deliciously smooth, silky drink. Perfection in a cup. Especially from Shake Shack in New York City. Can you believe that I only recently discovered this foodie haven? I don't eat burgers and a fry is a fry...but a milkshake? Now that's what I'm talking about!!!
Every month Shake Shack changes their daily flavor and my personal favorite in April was Nutter Butter (peanut butter and marshmallow --- what's not to love?!?!) In May it was Gianduja, a Peruvian blend of hazelnut praline and chocolate. Think of it as a Nutella milkshake. This is the stuff dreams are made of. I promise you, if you haven't already been there, you MUST try it. Which is precisely how I ended up there with my phenomenal "cup".
I say phenomenal and I use that term so rarely, I feel that I must clarify the statement. He's tall, gorgeous, incredibly smart, funny, sweet, and Australian (yes ladies, that means accent). We have established how I feel about men with accents, yes? We met at an improv class and I teased him about how long he could keep up the fake accent. He assured me it was real, unlike my English accent which I can bounce around for no more than a few sentences. The funny thing was, living in England for 4 years made me THINK in an English accent, yet I was always completely astonished when I opened my mouth and this American voice came out. Everyone at home thought I sounded sooooo British yet everyone abroad spotted me off as a Yankee from a mile away (or in their case, a kilometer.)
I told him of my travels in London and the world being a small place after all, he tells me that we both worked in Covent Garden at the same time. Ho. Ly. Crap. I must follow up with this one. So we exchange Facebook information (which thank goodness for, otherwise I wouldn't know how to talk to people) and decide to meet up in the park the following week.
Fast forward to the present time: he's never been to or even heard of Shake Shack despite having spent the last 7 months in New York. I insist that this place is an institution which simply cannot be missed (avoiding the mention that I only discovered it a month ago and I've lived here my entire life.) I remind my inner voices to stop planning an international wedding as he is leaving the States at the end of the year, and frankly, I don't want to get attached to any more foreigners. I have an up-to-date passport and visa so I COULD live just about anywhere...
I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the park.
Madison Square Park is one of those overlooked Manhattan treasures which you should definitely put on your list of places to spend an afternoon in at your earliest convenience. It's only a few blocks away from my theatre but I inevitably walk down 7th from Penn to Chelsea. The day I took 5th instead changed my life. The intersection of 5th & Broadway is breathtaking. No matter how many times I meander down those boulevards, it never ceases to impress me. There is always something new to see, something I didn't notice before. It's a place you can go to just stop and let the world continue spinning around you. Which is exactly how I felt sitting across the table from my Aussie companion. Like the world was happening on every side of us but we were somehow in a protected bubble of intrigue, attraction and new hope.
He showed up in a suit (fresh from work) and looked dapper. There is no other word for it. Jacket, tie, really long pointy umbrella. Dapper. Definitely dapper. We ordered our milkshakes and he confesses he's been searching all over this island for something malted to no avail. Search no further my friend, it's right here on the menu. We pick a table near the fountain and people watch for a few moments. I could normally make a whole day out of this game but right now, there is only one person I'm interested in and he's sitting right across from me sipping his vanilla malted.
We chat about everything. His time in New York, what life is like back home, my living in Europe, our shared time in Covent Garden, family, friends, improv, theatre, money, politics, sports, music, apartments, furniture, books... I got so lost in the conversation that I didn't even realize how much time had passed. Or how badly I had to go to the bathroom.
We are not talking about a Level One alert here people. We are talking about a Code Black. Khaki pants, middle of the park, sudden realization that I've become lactose intolerant... Oh yeah. It was BAD.
I tune out to almost everything he says after that. I look around for a Starbucks, a bar, a restaurant, a store I can duck into to relieve the cramps in my stomach. There is nothing. I start shaking. Chills. Sweats. Feverishly feeling my entire body begin to shut down. The gurgling coming from the depths of my intestines is so loud that I swear half of Manhattan can hear it. He politely chatters on about the value of money and importance of success and I can see his mouth moving but all I hear is "wah...wah wah wah... wah wah.. wah... wah wah..." I need an out. Quickly. But I don't want him to think I don't like him. What do I do??? What do I do???
I fake a foot cramp. Have to get up and stretch. And of course, walk it off. Which is why I'm walking kinda funny. Sort of hunched over-y. For 5 blocks. 5 blocks which feels like forever because I am sure I am going to die any moment from milkshake overload. And if I don't die right here on the street, I will die of embarrassment once he realizes I'm about to shit in my khaki pants. The article will read: Kimberly Spice died of embarrassment today when she got explosive diarrhea at 4 in the afternoon at the intersection of 21st and 5th. Her death was reported by a dapper Australian fellow holding a malted vanilla milkshake. He claims not to have known the victim very long, saying that this was their first (and obviously last) date.
Epilogue: Fortunately for all, this story has a (somewhat) happy ending. I made it to a bathroom eventually but despite the great beginning to our date, the dapper Aussie hasn't called me again. I can't really say I'm surprised. I guess for once, my date was wondering what was wrong with me! Can safely say that milkshakes in the park is off my list for future cups. As are khaki pants.