The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Shopsin's, cookies, and a sad puff

Shopsin's (photo taken last summer)

Last Saturday I met up with Joe at Shopsin's, the legendary "this menu is too freakin' huge" restaurant that has a list of "rules" (no parties larger than 4, or else someone will have to die), kitschy decor and FREE CANDY. Calvin Trillin wrote a great article in The New Yorker about the restaurant a few years ago, but alas, Google is failing me and I can't find it right now. EH WELL. (edit) which you can read on their website (thanks santos).

We stared at the menu for possibly 15 minutes. Or longer?

"Should we get pancakes?"

"...I dunno?"

"French toast?"

"...I dunno?"

"Combination plate?"


"How about a milkshake?"

"Sure!...Which milkshake?"

"Whatever you want."

"...I dunno? Well. We definitely need ebelskivers."

"Sure. Still need something else though."

"...Real food? Hell, I would just eat desserts."

Gee, guess which one I am. You know I just made that all up, right? However, if you replace the ellipses with drawn out Uhhhhhhhhs, you can recreate "dialogue with Robyn" to 99% authenticity. It's just that exciting.

We decided to share an avocado milkshake (more of a curiosity than a craving for mashed avocado and dairy products), an order of sliders (small burgers, in this case with cheese and onions) with fries, and whipped cream-smothered apple ebelskivers. Does that sound like a weird order? Well. You're wrong! It's perfect and so damn tasty. YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT. We rocked at composing a meal out of the pseudo incomprehensible menu, yes.

avocado milkshake
avocado milkshake

Our light green milkshake was brought out in a frosty metal tumbler along with two paper cups and straws for sharing. The indentations from ghostly froth-bubbles excited me (because it really doesn't take much to excite me...ooh look, a squirrel!!!); I had the feeling this milkshake was gonna be goooood.

avocado milkshake
avocado milkshake pouring

AHH, LOOKIT IT POUR! YAY, waterfall of milkshake! If only that were real. ....Man, that'd be pretty disgusting. But it would be cool for a while, yes? "Milkshake Factory Explosion Causes Waterfalls and Rivers of Milkshake: Everyone Rejoices. Today's Advice Column: Where To Buy Gigantic Buckets to Fill With Milkshake."

So, what does an avocado milkshake taste like? Not avocado. Not not avocado. Not...not...not not not. I can tell you for sure that it's really good, a little fruity, perhaps melon-esque (that's all I could come up with). Besides the "somewhat unidentifiable, but I think fresh tasting" flavors, the texture was one of the best I've ever tasted. It wasn't so thick that you'd suffocate trying to suck it through the straw, but it wasn't so thin that it was like flavored milk (those made me sad). It wasn't heavy, just rich enough to wrap your insides in my belly...


...I'm probably making it sound better than it actually was, but I really enjoyed it to the point that I'd order it again. I'm actually sad because if I went back to Shopsin's, I'd feel the need to try a different flavor (seems liked it'd be dumb not to), while all I'd really want is the avocado. Surely, the avocado plays a part in the milkshake's texture, being all full of tasty fat. Mmmmmm, faaaat. Yes'm.

I'm going go to talk about something else now. Food! Yes. Real food. Food that resembles the "solid" state of matter more so than the "liquid".

sliders and fries
sliders and fries

Joe's recommendation to get the sliders was a good one. I rarely eat hamburgers, not because I don't like them, but because I'd rather eat something else (and such is the case for many tasty foods). The last time I had anything resembling a slider was when I was a wee little girl and my mum--for some reason not having to do with motherly love--tortured me with lunches of frozen White Castle Burgers. Yes, she prepared them so that they were at least room temperature (and by "prepared" I mean "nuked"), but I can still remember looking at the tiny sandwich containing a limp, gray patty, topped with some onion-y substance because god knows that would make the patty taste better. I doubt she gave these to me for very long, but the experience was harrowing enough for me to remember it; hell, I don't remember stuff that happened yesterday, yet the memory of frozen White Castle burgers is taking up valuable space in my memory bank, currently with a balance of -$19902132.898noodle.

slider innards
slider innards

Oooh, these were some good sliders. The meat was juicy and flavorful (...well, it had to taste like something) and the bun was...I swear, "cute". Yes. Cute. Soft and fluffy equates to cuteness, and the bun was soft and fluffy. Trust me, I wish I had a better description of it too. I keep meaning to flex those nonexistent "food review" muscles, but then I remember that flexing requires movement, which doesn't fit into my closely regulated regiment of "sitting around".

sliders...from the side

Oh, no funky onion-y substance here. Real onions! Processed cheese! Together as one! Even though the onions were spilling out of the little burgers, they were somewhat held in place by the cheese, thus making for a tidy slider-eating experience.

apple ebelskivers with whipped cream
apple ebelskivers

I don't remember how many ebelskivers came to one order, but there were definitely enough. One word of advice: get the whipped cream on the side., if at all The whipped cream melted over the fresh hot ebelskivers, forming bubbly rivulets over the convex ebelskiver surfaces and creating an unintentional sweet, creamy bath for the ebelskivers. (Mm, whipped cream bath...wait, that's disgusting! Is it? Wait. Lemme think about that one.) The whipped cream died right before our eyes. Oops.

inside the ebelskiver
inside the ebelskiver

The ebelskivers were kind of like tiny pancake dumplings with little apple chunks. Do you like pancakes? GOOD. (I know you said "yes" because if you didn't, you' evil. I know you're not evil.) You will like ebelskivers. Bite-sized pseudo-pancake is what the world needs. That, and peace. And less McDonald's...s.

I'd be perfectly happy eating a meal of milkshake, burger, and ebelskiver all over again. The food is probably artery clogging, but hey, we're all gonna die someday. [thumbs up]

free candy
free candy

And with a pick from the "free candy" shelf, we went on our merry way. To...

cookie display
cookie display

Milk & Cookies! Where'd you think we'd go? A place that doesn't serve food? Vomitorium? Need food! No vomiting! (I think we both felt rather comfortable stomach-wise after Shopsin's. Not that the food was healthy in way way, but it wasn't that heavy [okay, that's debatable] and we didn't eat a crapload so that our removable from the restaurant would require smelling salts and a lift truck.)

ginormous fortune cookies
ginormous fortune cookies

As Milk & Cookies specializes in cookies, they're making custome macro-fortune cookies for Valentine's Day. It's for that special someone who realllllly likes fortune cookies. Does anyone really like fortune cookies though? I'd much rather just get a giant American-style cookie. The fortune could be written on a $100 bill: "Today you will receive $100 and a cookie." Ah, how true. But I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. I can't say I celebrate Valentine's Day, not since the obligatory "everyone has to get a card" celebration that happened in grade school. Fun times! Everyone must get a card, EVEN IF YOU HATE THEM.

cirspy chocolate chip cookie or something
crispy chocolate chip cookie

We shared a plate of three cookies, staring with a crispy chocolate chip cookie. I wouldn't prefer this buttery, crunchy cookie over a soft, chewy one, but the flavor was good. Butter is the win. I think it could've used more chocolate chips, but it was good enough.

sugar cookie
sugar cookie

Next up was the humble sugar cookie. Joe asked if it was a bit redundant for there to be a cookie called "sugar cookie". Hm...perhaps. I mean, you need some kind of description aside from plain ol' "cookie", but cookies better have some kind of sugar in them. I guess you can also have "butter cookie". "Tasty cookie"? "Delicious cookie."

"What's in the 'delicious cookie'?"



Um. So! This cookie was a delicious cookie. Soft, chewy, blah blah, think of other things you like about sugar cookies and fill in my laziness-induced blanks.


Last was the snickerdoodle, one of my favorite cookies that I first discovered at Whole Foods (they make good cookies!) and certainly one with one of the most fun names. A snickerdoodle is like a "sugar cookie +" in that it has cinnamon. I guess it could be a "sugar cookie -" if you don't like cinnamon, but the cinnamon makes it awesomer. Lilke the sugar cookie, this cookie was awesome, although I think it coul'dve used more cinnamon. Or butter. How gross would it be to spread butter on a cookie? ...No, I'm not going to try it, although I'll admit that the idea is now in my head and god knows where that'll take me.

Milke & Cookies is great little homey place to hang out at. If you like cookies. OF COURSE YOU LIKE COOKIES. It's like a cookie bar. The world needs more cookie bars!

We did some more fooding, but I'll put that in "part II". I actually have to go to sleep now; sucks being human.


Marvo / February 8, 2006 1:17 AM

I've never heard of ebelskivers before. I'm so uncultured. :-(

Ebelskivers sounds like another name for long underwear.

See, I'm so uncultured.

Kathy / February 8, 2006 2:43 AM

Ok. Need to go to Shopsins over break. Calvin Trillin's article was awesome indeed - sigh, it ended up being on my list of restaurant I had planned on eating at but never followed through. But that's what spring break is for! Ebelskivers - who the heck came up with that name? All I know is that it looks mighty good and I'm craving one now! Avocado milkshakes are so popular with the Asian community in Southern California. People drink avocado, durian and taro milkshakes in such great quantities I'm amazed they're not all obese!

Chubby Hubby / February 8, 2006 10:09 AM

I love Shopsin's! I used to live in the West Village and would visit Kenny's fabulous place all the time. I loved the food there and loved the bizarre ambience and the freaky service even more. God, I miss being able to go there whenever I feel like it.

santos. / February 8, 2006 10:39 AM

okay, first, omg, that so isn't bags of tea in that peanut butter, y'all. second, here's your calvin trillin article, ms.boppy. third, nothing says 'i love you' like a fortune cookie??! wtf?!

need an ebelskiver so i can make takoyaki at home. or ebelskivers. i'll bet australians have buttered cookies before, and i'll bet a buttered snickerdoodle would be fabulous.

mike king / February 8, 2006 12:48 PM

Love Shopsins. Love it, love it, love it. Though I haven't seen either of Kenny's daughters around lately, and they were part of the charm, for me.

Wei / February 8, 2006 5:04 PM

Mm.. those sliders remind me a lot of In-and-Out burgers (except they're bigger) in California.

A friend of mine said avacado milkshakes were really tasty, but I never tried. Looks like that's another item on my to try list.. heh

roboppy / February 8, 2006 5:13 PM

Marvo: Whaaa? No ebelskivers? Damn, you gotta connect with your Danish roots!

...I didn't know what they were either, haha. Googling them came up with aebleskiver. Mmm, Danish pancake! So tasty! Better than underwear! (I mean, to eat. Um.)

Kathy: Danish people! Oooh. They make tasty pancakes. I've never seen avocado milkshakes before. :( Did you ever have it in NYC?

foodcrazee: Haha, sorry! I hope you got to eat something yummy? :)

Chubby Hubby: I think I'd love Shopsin's more if I went more often. :) Joe said that they used to hold ping pong games (when the opening hours were longer), before Kenny's wife passed away. :( I passed it today but that was AFTER I ate lunch, thank god.

santos: Ooookay, I'm just gonna delete that whole paragraph to prevent too many people from seeing my stupidity (worse than even in class, whoa). I'm one of the most naive people on Earth. Thanks for the link! (I wonder why I couldn't find it...okay, add that to the "stupidity" list.)

Ahh, Australians are officially SO AWESOME.

Mike: How many kids does Kenny have? :O One of his daughter's took our orders; she's soooo cute! I remember her from the last time I ate there. Definitely part of the charm.

Wei: I'll have to try In-and-Out someday. And yes, you gotta try the milkshake! Mmm!

Mila / February 8, 2006 9:31 PM

Avocado milkshakes were a childhood treat for us here (Philippines talking) - we'd mash up ripe avocados with full cream milk and sugar. If the blender was working, we'd toss it in there, but otherwise it was hand mushed and blended. For me, an avocado was always a fruit to mush and eat in a milkshake, not as a vegetable or eaten with chips. Course, now that I'm older I have learned how to adjust my palate for both the sweet shake and the savory dishes. Hmmmm, makes me think of making an all-avocado meal....

santos. / February 8, 2006 10:40 PM

oh in my chocolate-induced haze, i meant 'ebelskiver pan' or 'ebelskiverer' maybe. to make takoyaki and ebelskivers. and to belabor a point now moot, one of the things that they teach the drug-sniffing dogs to sniff out is peanut butter, because it's a favourite hiding place for tea bags.

From Our Kitchen / February 8, 2006 11:58 PM

I haven't had an avacado milkshake or an ebelskiver before, actually I haven't even heard of those. But they sound like my kind of thing, I'm dieing to try them. I have no idea where I can find them though... or how to make them. I'll have to go on a search.

roboppy / February 9, 2006 7:36 PM

Mila: My god, WHY couldn't I have been from the Philippines?! It sounds like my kind of place. ;D I've never had avocados in a sweet form before the milkshake. I'd just peel it it. :D Not really into guacamole. I remember Mexico having the yummiest avocados, which of course makes sense, but then it's, I don't want to eat any avocados from here; they won't taste as good.

santos: Mm, I'd love some takoyaki and ebelskivers. Not to make myself though. :P

From Our Kitchen: I've only seen these things at Shopsin's! :O I guess with so many eateries in NYC there's gotta be another place to get my avocado milkshake or ebelskiver fix, but I have no idea. You could probably make this stuff on your own.

lori / February 9, 2006 10:25 PM

I LOVE milkshakes, and honestly, they're a good food substitute. To my mind, it's difficult to make a bad milkshake since even the bad ones taste good. I prefer them thick, and then I let them sit for a while and then I suck 'em through the straw ... just like melted ice cream! :p

mike king / February 10, 2006 1:44 PM

I've seen three kids - the busboy is, I think, his son, and two daughters who look somewhat alike (only one of whom generally works there.

Next time you go, try the orange julius...

roboppy / February 10, 2006 9:55 PM

Lori: HAHA, yes, milkshakes = food! I'm not sure if a milkshake should be considered a liquid or a solid. I mean, it is a liquid...but..well. Sure ain't water. Thicker is better!

Mike: Thanks for the recommendation, I'll try it!

kitchengirl / February 14, 2006 4:39 PM

I totally forgot about Shopsins!! I used to go there years ago when they were tucked away in that hole in the wall place. The owners used to yell at us if we didn't order fast enough! Love it!

roboppy / February 15, 2006 6:52 PM

kitchengirl: Aw, I wish I had seen it back then! I may have been scared by the owners though. We were left to mull over our order for a pretty long time, hehe.

Something random from the archives