Shake It ‘Til Ya Make It! Segment One: Airport Diner vs. Red Arrow – by Olivia Fink

As an addition to our school’s newspaper, and hopefully for the greater state of New Hampshire, we are proud to introduce a new segment that has never been seen before. One day at one of our newspaper meetings for The Crusader, we discussed what exactly the section of “Living and Arts” could cover, which is essentially anywhere from movies to music to anything in-between. We stumbled upon the topic of food, and the idea of shakes arose and turned into what you see here. You can consider this an extension of the Living and Arts section, or a mere excuse for a few teenage girls to try some milkshakes. Interpret as you will.

Our goal in our new segment, Shake It ‘Till Ya Make It!, is to try what the great state of New Hampshire has to offer in terms of shakes. We are no food critics by any means, but we aren’t so much trying to look for the negative aspects of shakes as much as we are a good time! The creators of this segment include junior Kayla Pinard, senior Jordan Card, and senior, Olivia Fink (me!). We have boiled down our investigations into a simple science. We rate the shakes based on three competencies: Presentation, Consistency, and Taste. We rate these each out of five for an overall score out of 15. After trying as many shakes as we can from each side (in this case, 9!), we choose the overall winner and see who succeeds out of the two.

For our first segment, we chose the two main diners in Manchester, The Airport Diner and The Red Arrow Diner. These are the “go-to” diners for breakfast, french fries at midnight, and post sports, dance, and football game festivities. The diners aren’t necessarily rivals, but we decided to put them to the test regarding their shakes; they act as a basis for the rest of our segments. We decided it was the best place to start.

Our first stop was The Airport Diner.

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Airport Diner Window

The waiters there practically know my order by heart— “I’llhaveachocolatemilkshakewithnowhippedcreambutcherriesandsprinklesplease.” That day, it was time to step out of my comfort zone. Armed and ready, we ordered the full seven milkshakes (“frappes” on their menu) and, despite the dubious stares from other families that busy Sunday afternoon, we enjoyed every slurp that came ready in a pristine glass cup. Here are our ratings and comments.

CHOCOLATE: 8/15

  • Presentation: “It was obviously made first…  they must be in a rush.” 3/5
  • Consistency: “Not quite mixed all the way… very liquidy and also very chunky.” 1/5
  • Taste: “It tastes like chocolate milk, but still a favorite.” 4/5

 

* VANILLA: 14/15*

  • Presentation: “The whipped cream was dripping, but I’m not that big on it anyway.” 4/5
  • Consistency: “Just right! It takes some effort to sip, but not too much.” 5/5
  • Taste: “Surprisingly, the taste is far from plain or bland. It’s perfectly sweet.” 5/5

 

STRAWBERRY: 10/15

  • Presentation: “By far the prettiest shake here.” “This shake is prettier than me.” 5/5
  • Consistency: “This is so disappointing!” “It’s liquid; it’s not frothy enough to be a shake.” 1/5
  • Taste: “Definitely tastes like strawberry milk, but you can also taste the ice cream.” 4/5

 

COFFEE: 11.5/15

  • Presentation: Overall, it had the basic diner look, albeit dripping whipped cream.:  3/5
  • Consistency: “A decent mix.”: 4/5
  • Taste: “This is for people who love coffee; it has an extremely genuine taste.”: 4.5/5

 

MOCHA: 12/15

  • Presentation: “This looks like it was also made first.” “A bit messy.”: 2/5
  • Consistency: A perfect blend, easy to swallow: 5/5
  • Taste: I don’t even like coffee, but this tasted great. “After a while, I tasted hints of caramel and toffee.” 5/5

 

BLACK AND WHITE: 9.5/15

  • Presentation: Dripping over the sides, a mess to handle: 1/5
  • Consistency: Blend of chocolate and vanilla match divinely: 4.5/5
  • Taste: After trying the chocolate and vanilla separately, we conclude it is a genuine mix:

 

MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP: 10/15

  • Presentation: “Freshly made… it looks like something you see in a movie.” 5/5
  • Consistency: “It’s not mixed very well. There are chunks of ice cream in some places, but the rest is extremely thin. I see why; it’s so the chocolate chunks can be sipped.”: 3/5
  • Taste: “Not minty enough.” “It has an aftertaste of too-strong tooth paste.”: 2/5

The winner for this restaurant was the Vanilla Shake! Never underestimate plain shakes, people. The sweet flavor, perfect blend, and near-immaculate presentation “wow”ed us from all perspectives, along with their many others! As a new rule of thumb, we have decided to ask whatever waiter or waitress we can find to answer our three main questions, which we will have listed below. Lucky enough, the manager, Kyle, approached us, and he was kind enough to answer our questions.

 

#1: “Which shake here is the most popular?”:  Definitely chocolate.

#2: “What is your personal favorite?”: I have personally never tried a shake here… (gasp!) I’m more of a food, like a cake-kind-of-guy. But if I were to have a favorite, I would guess it to be strawberry.

#3: “How would you describe the shakes, and how are they made?” The owner loves rebuilding old things. A lot of The Common Man restaurants are actually old buildings that he refurbishes; he doesn’t buy a brand-new restaurant, he goes in and he refinishes an old barn or an old mill building and builds his restaurant. So… in some ways it would be nice to have newer technology [to make the shakes]; but we love buying old plastic vintage things and then remodelling them and using them, so it’s kind of cool that it’s made on a very classic style machine. “It’s authentic.” Yeah! It’s not that they’re made any different, but it’s very cool, it has a little heritage to it.

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(Left to right) Jordan Card and Kayla Pinard ready to take down the shakes!

 

Overall review: For our first spot, this was a great place to start. The atmosphere was not as serene as it might have been on a Friday at midnight; it was hectic with the morning rush, which attributed to the rushed presentation of some shakes. Nevertheless, the glorious concoctions were genuine and authentic, like Kyle proved, and they certainly hit the spot. The shakes were not spectacular, but in all— they were a good, basic diner shake.

 

Our next stop just off the highway was the infamous Red Arrow Diner. From Adam Sandler to Donald Trump, you know they’ve sat in one of those cushioned red bar seats. This diner too has seen many groups of high schoolers rush over in a frenzy, in need of some diner fries and soda. This time, we asked for each of their two shakes, chocolate and vanilla. We didn’t bother to ask about which shakes were the most popular, since there are only two. Here are our ratings!

 

CHOCOLATE: 12/15

  • Presentation: Unlike the glass cups at APD, the plastic cups here were a little underwhelming. Nevertheless, the chocolate drizzle on the side made up for it: 4/5
  • Consistency: “A bit liquidy… but that lets you drink more!”: 3.5/5
  • Taste: Chocolate-y at it’s finest. The chocolate drizzle made it more rich: 4.5/5

 

VANILLA: 12/15

  • Presentation: With only minor drippage down the side, the artistic whipped cream made it all the more lovely: 4/5
  • Consistency: “Not too thick, and easy to drink.” 5/5
  • Taste: It tastes okay, but nothing special. (These reviews are critic-worthy… can’t you tell?): 3/5

 

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Co Editor-in-chief Olivia Fink tries the vanilla shake at Red Arrow!

 

Questions (altered)

#1.) Firstly, how do you make the shakes? Is there a certain process you go through?: It’s just ice cream and milk. The chocolate shake has a little chocolate sauce in it, and then just milk and ice cream. Same with vanilla, just with a little vanilla syrup.

#2.) Did you always have these? Or did you adopt them at a certain point?: Well, are you talking The Red Arrow as a whole or this particular Red Arrow? “Red Arrow as a whole.” We did not start with them. We’ve just had these for… about a year now. — Waitress Elaine.

 

What is a diner without a shake? That’s most likely what encouraged them to make some sort of shake, frappe, whatever you like to call it— and it was pretty good for one of their newer creations.

For this segment, the shakes for the Red Arrow were perfectly tied! Even so… our winner is The Airport Diner with their vanilla shake! We enjoyed every single shake we tasted, along with the lovely people who cared to answer our questions.

Keep up with The Crusader news online to see where we explore next, and remember: Don’t forget to shake things up. Consider these shakes shook.

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