Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard et al.
Sticking to my current theme of writing about frozen treats, such as popsicles and snow cones, I now turn my attention to the St. Louis institution that is Ted Drewes. Today, Serious Eats inspired my topic of choice by posting about concretes, which brought back memories of my three years spent in St. Louis.
In the twenty-three years prior to my jaunt in the Midwest, I had never heard of “frozen custard,” much less a concrete. One of my classmates, who grew up with a Ted Drewes outpost practically in her backyard in South City, took me there for the first time and explained to me what made a concrete special, especially for St. Louis natives.
Apparently, the entire city grew up eating Ted Drewes. Current St. Louisans spend their summers (and pretty much all year round) eating frozen custard and concretes. This naturally pairs well with baseball, and since the folks in St. Louis are also extremely loyal to their baseball team, the Cardinals, you are likely to encounter long lines after a game.
So, you ask, what makes frozen custard special? (If you ever find yourself visiting a Ted Drewes, do not — I repeat — do not say that it “tastes like ice cream.” Yours truly got a very dirty look from her hostess/friend when, upon tasting a concrete for the first time, I let those words slip out of her mouth.)
Frozen custard is made with egg yolks and a higher percentage of butterfat than ice cream, giving frozen custard a thicker and creamier texture. While some places flavor their frozen custards, Ted Drewes only offers vanilla. But if it’s flavoring you want, all you need to do is to ask for that frozen custard to be turned into a concrete.
I was familiar with the concept of a concrete in the abstract. In the South, we spent our summers after baseball/softball games at the local Dairy Queen, where we would order up a Blizzard. Blizzards are made with soft serve and blended with your choice of add-in ingredient. I usually went for the Heath bar.
The Ted Drewes concrete takes the frozen custard above and blends it with a wide range of ingredients. The resulting concoction is so thick that servers often turn the concrete upside down to prove that neither the spoon nor concrete are going to fall out of the ubiquitous yellow cup.
Even though I’m not a huge dessert person, I always favored the Cardinal Sin, which mixes in hot fudge and sour cherries — the perfect combination of sweet, sour and a slight hint of saltiness from the frozen custard.
And for those of you living in New York or Washington, DC, those prices you see on that menu board are for real. I don’t really miss St. Louis, but I really do miss the cheaper cost of living.