Wendy’s and I have an interesting relationship with each other. I don’t mean to sound like an old man, but when I was growing up, there wasn’t a Wendy’s to be found in New Jersey, lending it a mystique not found in your more prevalent chains like McDonald’s or Burger King. I remember the only one I knew of was on the way to Snowvania, which is what they called Vermont in those days. We would go there on our annual ski trip. You couldn’t get real skis because of the war, so we had to buy two snowboards and tie them to our feet.
Now, we’d stop at the Wendy’s on our way every year or so, and my sister and I would each get a Frosty, or as we called them in those days, thickshakes. “Give me five thickshakes for a dollar!” you’d say, and a smiling Ella Fitzgerald would bring them out to your motor car. Oh, did she have gams, that Ella! Anyway, once we finished our thickshakes, my sister and I would hollow out the bottoms and wear them on our ears, which was the style at the time.
But the point is, I’ve always liked Wendy’s, partially because of their scarcity when I was a kid, and partially because they actually make their burgers plain in the first place instead of what McDonald’s used to do; i.e., making them with the works and then just scraping that shit off when you dare to ask for a plain burger. Like that’s the same thing, jerks. Anyway, Frosties have always held a special place in my heart due to my childhood memories, so when I heard they were rolling out new Frosty Shakes, I was all over that like reality show stars on professional athletes.
But then I learned something that tempered my enthusiasm: Frosty Shakes were actually replacing my beloved Twisted Frosties, where they would blend M&Ms or Butterfingers in. I have mixed feelings about that, because those things were seriously damn good, yet are also the reason I can no longer comfortably fit into 28-inch waist jeans without my Strippercize DVD. But it does create some pressure on the Frosty Shake, because if you’re not as good as what you’re replacing, well, SOMEONE is in for a few curse words muttered into my dashboard and a scathing blog review. I’m just saying.
This isn’t the first time Wendy’s has offered Frosty Shakes, but they have added two new flavors — in addition to the original chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, you can now get your fill of caramel and wild berry. As always, I will be reviewing the one that doesn’t even play at being healthy. It does, however, aspire to a higher class of caramel by name-dropping the Ghirardelli brand. I sort of question the wisdom of that — you don’t go to Wendy’s expecting kobe beef and watercress on your burger, so are you really going to care that the caramel in your two-bucks-and-change shake is associated with the finest chocolatiers in the world? I’m not sure it was worth shelling out for the brand name, but that’s the ghost of Dave Thomas’ business, not mine.
For starters, I have to give Wendy’s credit for sheer visual appeal. You know how fast food always looks great in the ads and then like a lump of reheated turds when you pull it out of the bag? Well, I’ll be damned if this shake didn’t look nearly as good in real life as it does on TV, which is impressive. This probably varies by the server, but the whipped cream on mine was plentiful and even had criss-crosses of caramel covering it, a nice touch. (Mind you, it’s summer, so that’s going to last about 3 minutes before it melts into a blob of goo.) But taste is what really matters, and this… this tastes good.
It’s thick enough that I initially had trouble getting some through the straw, though this would likely be substantially less difficult for groupies, congressional aides, and certain Jersey Shore cast members. But once I did, I was impressed by how vivid the flavor was. This isn’t watered down in the slightest — that’s pure caramel.
It’s almost a little overwhelming, and I can see people who are just kind of “enh” about caramel thinking it might even be a bit too strong, but I really dug it. It’s rich, very sweet, and lingers on your tongue like a dog who won’t go away after you feed him scraps, but it’s okay because he’s pretty cute and doesn’t look rabid. Also, the whipped cream melts into the shake and dilutes things a bit while lending an extra little creaminess to the whole thing. I would’ve ordered another if not for the fact that it’s so filling, and also because there’s a warning label cautioning that two will cause instant cardiac arrest.
Though the caramel Frosty Shake is the main attraction, I also sampled the chocolate variety just so I could give you a broader accounting of the overall line. I know, I really spoil you guys. Though not quite as impressive, it’s still pretty good. It’s nearly as thick as the caramel variety and has copious whipped cream with chocolate sauce drizzled over it. Also very creamy, but while it’s not quite as sweet as the caramel, it tastes very distinctly of chocolate syrup. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like it quite as much — familiarity breeds contempt and all that, and it’s almost like someone just emptied half a bottle of Hershey’s syrup into a vanilla milkshake.
I don’t know that I’ll ever stop mourning the loss of my Twisted Frosties (you could mix M&Ms into a chocolate Frosty!), but the shakes go a long way toward healing that rift. It’s convenient to be able to expand the size of your ass without having to burn all those precious calories lifting a plastic spoon to your mouth again and again. Assuming you’ve got belt notches to spare, pick one up with your next plain cheeseburger — I don’t think you’ll regret it.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 small shake – Caramel – 680 calories, 15 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 330 milligrams of sodium, 126 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 102 grams of sugar, 11 grams of protein. Chocolate – 610 calories, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 109 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 98 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein.)
Other Wendy’s Caramel Frosty Shake reviews:
On Second Scoop
Item: Wendy’s Caramel Frosty Shake and Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty Shake
Size: 12 oz.
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Caramel)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chocolate)
Pros: Five different flavors. Ella Fitzgerald’s gams. Fast food places that make your burger plain. Visually-appealing whipped cream. A milkshake that brings me to the yard. Copious quantities of caramel. Rich chocolate syrup.
Cons: The war. Sacrificing Twisted Frosties. Pointless corporate name dropping. Difficult to get any through the straw unless you work in the entertainment industry. Ridonkulously unhealthy.