by Alicia Lieu
Be sure to check out the recipes at the end of this post!
A viral video known as the Harlem Shake and a new diner opening up in Harlem by the very same name is a coincidence? Not according to the owner, Jelena Pasic, as quoted in the New York Times. She had the name picked out for her new burger joint before the Harlem Shake video went viral. But the timing could not have been better as she rolled out publicity for this super hip, retro diner on the corner of 124th and Lenox. Harlem Shake first caught my eye in a Tasting Table newsletter, but then snagged my attention in a subsequent Pure Wow newsletter. They had me at Red Velvet Shake.I walked in and was immediately drawn into the retro decor. There are booths on one side, tables in the middle and counters along the walls. There is a larger than life poster of Miss Harlem on one wall and near the counter is a holographic action postcard of Miss Harlem, who does the Harlem Shake when you set the pendulum into motion.
I placed my order at the counter and waited patiently for my Harlem Classic with cheese and my Harlem Shake (Red Velvet), although I will be going back to try the Salted Caramel Shake at some point this summer. The burger was good, but the star of the show was really the Red Velvet Shake. It is made with local ice cream from Brooklyn and had real bits of Red Velvet Cake mixed in. It is rich and decadent yet not too sweet. Perfect! I guess I will be ordering two shakes when I go back–both the Salted Caramel and the Red Velvet. In addition to the typical diner foods, the menu also includes beer and wine, salads and fried chicken sandwiches.
Although Ice-T made it very clear on the Jimmy Fallon Show that he disapproves of the Harlem Shake videos that were spawned off of each other, I’m guessing he wouldn’t disapprove of the burgers, fries, and milkshakes that shake up the taste buds to form a party in your mouth.
There was a really great ice cream parlor in Cupertino that my dad would always take me to after my tennis lessons in the summer. I was always so happy to get one and always relished every last drop, but unfortunately, the parlor closed a while back. Nowadays, we usually share a milkshake from In-n-Out Burger. They are always nice and thick. It is really simple to make a milkshake at home. Using whole milk for a basic shake helps make it thicker, but of course, eyeballing it and using less milk or adding a bit more ice cream would also make it thicker. Adding mix-ins is a fun way to experiment.
I’ve been obsessed lately with Speculoos, ever since someone told me that it was made with magic, rainbows, unicorns and a bit of James Franco, but between candy bars, cookies, brownies, syrups, extracts, and fruit, the sky’s the limit!
10 ounces of ice cream (any flavor)
1/3 cup whole milk
Combine ingredients in a blender (or use a hand blender) and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
10 ounces of vanilla ice cream
2 tablespoons Biscoff Spread (or Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter Spread)
2 Biscoff cookies
1/3 cup whole milk
Combine the ice cream, milk and Biscoff Spread in a blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed. Break up the Biscoff cookies into rough pieces and place in blender. Pulse to combine the cookies. Serve immediately, garnished with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Top with an additional Biscoff cookie or two for dipping if desired.