Photo by Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons.
The beginning of each fall semester marks a turning point in our college experience. As autumn flaunts its turning colors, we too are left to reflect on our own. We’re free to mull over past loves, flourishing passions and the stale musk of repressed dread for post-graduate life. With the changing of the seasons comes a change in our cravings. In the air, subtle wafts of yearning penetrate a tame — yet vibrant — backdrop of pumpkin-spiced hayrides and cinnamon-scented frollicks through orchards of waning green and burgeoning orange. We’ve patiently waited while yet another of our increasingly long summers draw to a close and with that, an air crisper than ever fills our lungs.
The ushering in of a new, layer-based wardrobe sees us donning our scarves, hooded sweatshirts, Doc Martens and just short of excessive flannel usage. Autumn is about aesthetic. It’s about visions of weekend drives to pumpkin patches, treks to Peddler’s Village and long walks with no purpose other than to quietly observe the landscape in all its transitory beauty.
Among the entirety of this visceral experience, one of the most anxiously-awaited features is the seasonal food and drink: from deliciously garnished soups to coma-inducing pumpkin cake parfaits and comfortingly warm teas to sweet-yet-bitter hot toddies. Vendors lick their lips as they prepare to wring every last drop from the ornamental, comforting and nostalgia-inducing qualities of this time of year. We gleefully devour the fall flavors and shamelessly fall prey to the pumpkin-flavored frenzy before us.
As we prepare for our seasonal gorge, we find that there’s one summer treat that seems to overstay its welcome: the beloved milkshake. Vaguely chilly, early-darkened evenings are just as ripe for this iced concoction as any sunny, mid-july boardwalk stroll. Before we say goodbye to this year’s warm weather, we must allow ourselves to wallow a few final times in the delightfully satisfying sugar trance that a nice, quality milkshake can put us in. West Chester teems with restaurants that are just waiting for you to fulfill these desires. I have sought after compiling the absolute best ones for doing just that. What follows is a brief recapturing, in no specific order, of the tastiest contestants in the West Chester borough milkshake pilgrimage:
Nearly hidden away behind the glare of a tiny High Street storefront window, behind which is a room surely no larger than the standard shed, Baked is home to a novel but genuine gamechanger: the edible cookie dough. While this fad surely does scratch the age-old itch of gliding one’s spoon directly through incredibly rich and raw cookie dough, and immediately depositing said spoon into one’s mouth, it’s ultimate form is that of a shake. This dense wonderland perfects the textural balance between the thick, almost granular characteristics of raw cookie dough and the creamy goodness of softened ice cream. Since all dough is made without eggs or egg substitutes, they’re perfectly safe to enjoy! Flavors vary each visit, including seasonal treats like Apple Cider Cookie and Pumpkin Roll, but the perineal classics of Chocolate Chip, Brownie Batter and S’mores are always present and ready for blending. Baked is certainly not the first establishment to be so brash as to attempt the edible cookie dough formula, but you’d be hard-pressed to find another local spot that rivals this joint in competence when it comes to the cookie dough milkshake incarnation.
Welp! You’ve pressed. Not three storefronts down, a competitor in the seemingly niche market of edible cookie dough exists and stands ready to be the subject of a forever unsettled debate of “Who has the best cookie dough?” While this article will certainly not choose sides here, it must be said that the rivalry is real. Baked takes on a more simple, tidy approach in their selection while Cookie Dope actively evokes your creative side, as it offers a mixture of both traditional ice cream and cookie dough in a myriad of options.
Oh! A town favorite; Amore has been the setting for many late-evening-to-early-morning outings. For such unwavering adherence to the weekend student’s schedule, we owe an insurmountable debt — make that two insurmountable debts. Many may not be aware that this popular venue is also the setting of one of the most earth-shattering milkshakes you’ve ever feasted on. These no-frill delights come in four flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Cookies N’ Cream and the intriguing — if not menacing — “Occasional Surprise.” These shakes are among the most talked about in town and it doesn’t take long to realize why. These bad boys are smooth. At any hour of the night, you can find this premium products ready to tickle your sweetest fancy.
Coffee and Ice Cream Bar
Coming in at the most quaint spot on our list, the affectionately named Coffee and Ice Cream Bar steals the show with both its elegantly designed layout and exquisite ice cream selection. Serving ice cream from Pennsylvania creameries in Chester Springs and Fishtown, the quality of this establishment is only bolstered by its local sourcing. The chill spot carries a multitude of delectable flavors from the standards like Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry and Cookies N’ Cream, to the more obscure finds, such as Caramel Stout and Black Raspberry Chip. As for our vegan friends, the likes of Lime Toasted Coconut may just be enough the furrow the brow of even the most seasoned thinker, as if to give the impression of some great internal searching or the sudden reliving of a repressed memory.
All of this is to say, if you haven’t experienced such unparalleled pleasures as the ones gifted to you — upon purchase, that is — by a milkshake crafted by this shop, then visit Coffee and Ice Cream Bar today.
Justin Bifolco is an English major with a minor in journalism. JB933932@wcupa.edu