A few days ago we made our debut in the great city of St. Louis! My team and I spent two days teaching science and math-based workshops to middle schoolers, but last night (and all of today) we had some free time to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feels of the city.
It was a hot, humid evening and we had just come from an afternoon exploring the great City Museum (I highly recommend checking it out), so we looked for a cool treat to rest with. One of my friends read online that Ted Drewes served some highly-lauded ice cream that people from all places come to visit. Naturally, I was excited.
The first thing I noticed when we got there was the MASSIVE crowd (somehow) legibly lined up at the 10+ windows all managed by frantically moving cashiers. The shop had no indoors; everything was served and ordered outside. Seeing the throngs of people standing around eating their ice cream reminded me a few similarly old-style ice cream shops I’ve visited in Southern California.
The lines were long, but the line was shorter than I expected. Probably only a half-hour passed before I was at the front, still wondering what I should decide to order. Ted Drewes has so many wild ice cream combinations and names that I would have probably found something tasty, or at least interesting, about any option. I settled for a Concrete Turtle – a blend of caramel, fudge, and pecans in a sea of vanilla ice cream.
Right off the bat, I was rather put off by its presentation. The fact that it came inside a tall, plain soda cup was not a problem – no, not at all – for I felt it supported the classic vibes of the place. Plus, I knew it was the dessert itself that warranted the most attention, not the container. But when I peered into my cup I noticed a melting heap of milkshake ice cream. I knew it was a hot night, but I didn’t expect the dessert (called a “concrete,” to say the least) to already be served melting. I used a spoon, but I probably could have just as easily used a straw.
I really did enjoy the ice cream though. The fudge and caramel was so thoroughly blended with the ice cream that the entire thing was simply a pale brown color, and not a single bite lacked flavor. I half-expected it to be too sweet for me, but I found it pleasantly sweet. I ordered a large cup, but even towards the very end I didn’t feel much discomfort, which was a relief.
My favorite part of the Turtle is definitely the pecans. The uniformity of the color and texture of the melted vanilla ice cream, fudge, and caramel would have made for a very boring dessert, but the satisfying, soft crunches of the pecans accented the work. Not every bite had them, but although some might deem that an unforgivable stinginess on part of the shop, I chose to appreciate that as a random, rare gift. After all, one can appreciate things more if they don’t take them for granted.
I loved the pecans, and I heartedly ate all the ice cream, but unfortunately I cannot attest to Ted Drewes’ ice cream with the same hype it seems to usually draw. I think if the ice cream wasn’t so melted it would be far more interesting texture-wise and appealing appearance-wise, but this was my only impression thus far, so it’s all I can review with. Ted Drewes has such a diverse menu that it would take me several weeks staying in St. Louis to fully explore, so I’ll definitely try it again the next time I come, if I ever.