Frozen custard from Old School Custard, with add-ins of sprinkles and Butterfinger pieces
I started the week with pie, so it seems natural to end the week with ice cream. Actually, custard, not ice cream, if you're keeping tabs. They're both frozen desserts, but frozen custard is so, so, so much better, I hesitate to even call it ice cream.
TNT Diner reader VibeGuy posted about Old School Custard in Bonney Lake on the pie thread Monday, immediately making me crave a taste. It's an independently owned and operated store right next to Jersey Mike's, which I rated high for meaty subs in this article here.
I can see why VibeGuy is an enthusiastic fan of Old School. Frozen custard is the frosty princess of the ice cream universe
(although custard purists may bristle at the categorization of custard in the same universe as ice cream). It's the eggs in the custard base that makes the frozen treat so creamy-silky – the woman behind the counter at Old School told me. That makes sense, eggs make every dessert they touch a little more rich. And, she was right, the texture really was supple and smooth, and far more luscious than ice cream. Comparing frozen custard to ice cream is like the unfair comparison between real cheesecake and that eggless no-bake "cheesecake" you can make from a box. Who's gonna pick the boxed stuff over the real?
As I ordered my custard, I watched as a worker made a fresh batch of chocolate custard, pouring the base into a big freezing machine. I like that they make frozen custard continuously throughout the day. Fresher always tastes better.
It occurred to me that with Little Holland closing this weekend (oh, please won't somebody buy it?) that custard fans will be shopping for a custard stand-in when the drive-in burger joint closes up shop Saturday and takes its custard with it. Little Holland fans - introduce yourself to Old School. You'll like it.
Old School serves custard in many forms - cup or a cone, sundaes and smoothies and milkshakes. You can also get what they call "concretes," frozen custard with add-ins like Butterfinger pieces, sprinkles, pretzels, chocolate chips, nuts and a number of other candies.
My son, being an 8-year-old boy, opted for a medium concrete with cloying add-ins of Butterfinger pieces and sprinkles ($4.69). I ordered a single scoop of chocolate custard ($2.20) and it looked so appealing, I spooned into it before I ate my Chicago style hot dog (more on that later). It was rich, delicious, chocolaty and smooooooth.
The sundae concoctions looked really interesting, but I'm more of a custard purist. A plain scoop is fine for me. Small groups may like the "the principal's office," five scoops of fresh frozen custard, three toppings of your choice, homemade brownie, banana halves, sliced almonds, whipped cream and a cherry on top for $7.59. The "home room," looked enticing with a homemade fudge brownie topped with two scoops of vanilla custard, hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry for five bucks.
I was surprised by the lack of variety in fresh frozen custard flavors at Old School – they only have three daily choices -vanilla, chocolate and a rotating daily flavor (a menu of the daily flavors is posted at the restaurant). If you're looking for more custard flavors, there is prepackaged custard in a freezer display case at the entrance of Old School. Quart containers in all kinds of flavors sell for $6.95. I fished out a quart of cherry vanilla.
Old School Frozen Custard
Where: 21210 State Hwy 410 E.. Bonney Lake
Hours: 12-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Info: 253-447-4555 or http://www.oldschoolfrozencustard.com
Hot dog quandary: I can never resist Nathan's hot dogs, which Old School carries. I ordered the Chicago dog and was surprised that the relish was dyed a neon green. It came with the appropriate trimmings to be considered a Chicago dog – onions, mustard, onions and tomatoes, and a finishing sprinkle of celery salt (no peppers or a poppy seed bun, though). I've enjoyed Chicago style dogs here with relish that had more of a natural green hue -- the kind of color commonly found in nature. I wondered about the vivid color of the relish, and sought hot dog counsel from a friend in Chicago. He shot me back a photo of an authentic Chicago hot dog and it had bright green relish. Although he's from Chicago, he didn't know the significance of the neon relish, but he said that it had to be that shade of unnatural green, and there has to be a pickle and sport peppers on it to be an authentic Chicago dog (then he went into a diatribe against ketchup that I won't repeat). He also described the relish color as "phosphoric," as opposed to my description of neon. I found this article talking about Vienna brand relish and its strange color. I also found this article reviewing neon green relish. Chicago natives: why is color added to the relish?