There I was, in what felt like zero-degree weather, standing on a growing line. I wasn’t there for concert tickets or a sneaker release or something free — I was there for a milkshake. Not just any milkshake, mind you, but the monstrosity of a milkshake that the whole world currently seems to be talking about.
My journey to Black Tap NYC began last month, when one #foreveralone night I wondered where a girl might score a ridiculous milkshake to send her into a diabetic coma. My thoughts led me to Instagram, where I searched hashtag milkshakes and came across the most insanely crafted milkshakes I’d ever seen. Sour belts? Cotton candy? Gum drops? An entire cookie ice cream sandwich? My mind leapfrogged from, “How in the…?!” to “Get in my belly!” pretty quickly.
I took screenshots of the shakes and sent them to my equally milkshake-thirsty cousin with the caption, “I want to go to there!” Being more lazy than a pregnant sloth, my excitement waned a little when I realized I’d have to go all the way into the city… but nevertheless, there I was last Sunday morning, with 50 other gluttons, waiting on Black Tap to open up.
My cousin and I arrived about two hours before Black Tap’s 12 p.m. opening time. Three other patrons were ahead of us. As noon ticked closer, the three became six when a family of four moseyed up to the front of the line (and one person left). The family had paid someone from TaskRabbit to hold the spot. “Why the hell didn’t we think of that?” I wondered aloud, as I began to lose the feeling in my fingers and my nose started to get Roscoe from Martin-type runny.
It was now 12:06 and I was still on line — cold, tired and hungry. I’d skipped breakfast because I didn’t want to ruin my appetite, and I skipped drinking anything because I didn’t want to have to use the bathroom while in line. At that point, I’d also been up for 10 hours already. I had intentions of getting a goodnight’s rest before this little adventure, but binge-watching the latest season of House of Cards seemed like the move to make at 2 a.m., so that’s what I did. I regret nothing.
A couple of minutes later, the security guard ushered us into the intimate restaurant. Being that it was just me and my cousin, we were seated at the graffiti-stained bar where our cool server Christopher gave us menus. He also gave us markers to tag the spot. This was terrific because it allowed me to live out my ’80s NYC tagger dreams. Naturally, I wrote Uproxx with my green marker, as well as “Respect My Fresh” and “TSS.”
“What do you want to tackle first?” my cousin asked while I checked out the menu. “Well, milkshakes are sort of dessert food.” So, I started with the Texas Burger (because bacon) while he ordered the Bison Burger. We also both ordered cookie shakes.
About two or three bites into my incredibly tasty Texas Burger, the shakes came out. Mine was already melting into a gooey puddle of vanilla and chocolate slush. The menu said it was a “vanilla cookie shake with a vanilla frosted rim and cookie crunchies topped with a cookiewich, crumbled cookies, chocolate chips, whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.”
For the most part, that’s what it looked like, just much more sloppy. Sloppy food looks sexy on Instagram, but not really when it’s right in front of you.
Once the milkshake arrived, I was ready to take a sip and have the clouds open up and have God’s light shine down on me while the angels sang praises. “Alright. Here it goes! Sh*t better be worth it,” I told my cousin before taking my first sip.
“Goddammit, internet!” I said. “Where’s my epiphany? This is a regular-ass vanilla shake!”
I sipped through the striped-straw some more, focusing on the shake’s taste as if I were a judge at a wine competition. Except there was no, “Hmm, very complex layers.” My shake still tasted like a regular vanilla milkshake. Certainly, not one worth the $15 I was paying. A couple of more sips in, it was time for me to eat my cookie sandwich, which was nearing an angle I had only seen when T.I. used to wear baseball caps. Even the cookie sandwich tasted like the ones I used to buy at my local corner store after school. Again, not worth the price.
I finished my burger because that was way yummier, and took a few more swallows of my milkshake and ate my cookie ice cream sandwich (just because it wasn’t transcendent doesn’t mean I was going to waste it). The milkshake weirdly left me craving something sweet. So, I asked Christopher to make me sweet lemonade ruined with rum. He made my lemonade and handed it over to me in a mason jar filled with ice and a lemon slice. Now this was exactly what I needed. I would’ve had more if I wasn’t already full, and if I wasn’t afraid that a drunk version of me would’ve found herself talking about the third rail with everyone in earshot.
All in all, I fell for the social media hype and ended up paying for a $15 milkshake that I very well could’ve made at home. Was my burger delicious? Yes. Was my drink tasty? 100%. But was anything at Black Tap worth standing for two hours in the blustery cold? Definitely not.