We’re on a mission.
For months now, we have been searching for the best cookie dough milkshake. It started after devouring a cookie dough milkshake at a new place in Rexburg, Idaho called SodaVine. It was delicious! Since then, we’ve come back to Utah and have been craving that milkshake…but since we can’t drive 4 1/2 hours each time we want one, we set out to find the best cookie dough milkshake closer to home. With all the restaurants around here, there has to be one that is as good, right?
Well, it hasn’t been as easy as we expected it to be. So far we’ve tried a bunch different shakes and still haven’t found one that is quite as good…though we have come close. So I thought we’d give a rundown of each of the ones we’ve tried, as a kind of “research” project. 🙂
So, without further ado, here is the lineup:
1. SodaVine, Rexburg Idaho
Where it all started: SodaVine. Its a new place, and full disclosure: is owned and run by my parents. But we are being completely honest here and only going by taste and experience – it was great! The ice cream flavor and texture was fantastic! We asked and learned that they use Reed’s Dairy ice cream – delicious. And the cookie dough was a winner! There was just the right amount of cookie dough chunks in the shake, and the cookie dough tasted great too.
2. Leatherby’s, Draper Utah
This was the christening of “Weakness Wednesday”. We were craving a cookie dough milkshake, so wen’t with our parents to Leatherby’s to see if they would have a cookie dough milkshake that made the cut. They have great ice cream and great hot fudge, so they were bound to have a good cookie dough shake, right? Since they didn’t have a cookie dough shake on the menu, and our waiter was impressed with our mission, he said he would have one made. They used their cookie dough peanut butter ice cream, and we were quite impressed! This is the second best milkshake we’ve had so far, second only to the SodaVine milkshake.
3. Straws, Midvale Utah
Love it! Top five for sure.
4. Santa Queen, Santaquin Utah
Really quite good! My wife loves it. For me, its definitely one of the best we’ve tried. We have been back several times.
5. Iceburg, Draper Utah
Iceburg has been a go-to place for Corinne for a long time. Its just a classic-shake type of place. We were quite impressed with the look of the shake, and it was huge, but as far as taste it was just so-so. The cookie dough flavor was really lacking, and no chunks! It was all ground up. The ice cream was really tasty and really thick. Corinne liked the thickness of the ice cream, but it was a bit too thick for me.
6. Arctic Circle, Draper Utah
We were about to buy a milkshake at a not-to-be-named restaurant, but my dad insisted that we not go there. If we were going to go there, we might as well go to someplace similar but with good milkshakes, and he recommended Arctic Circle. Thats an all-around good place, right? Well we were pleasantly surprised by their cookie dough milkshake. This was the first, the first, place to actually have enough cookie dough in the cookie dough to ice cream ratio. We had cookie dough in every bite! The cookie dough was not quite as real-deal as we like, but pretty good, and the ice cream was pretty good too. Just the right consistency. Well done Arctic Circle – a solid performance of good taste, good consistency, and the right amount of cookie dough.
7. Glade’s Drive In, Spanish Fork Utah
Glade’s is one of those classic drive-in burger and fries places that has been around since the good ol’ days. My dad loves the place and is especially fond of their fries and fry sauce.
We took our whole family there and we ordered – you guessed it – a cookie dough milkshake. Good consistency, decent cookie dough, but the ice cream wasn’t that great. It was pretty good, and a nice place to go overall, but the cookie dough milkshake wasn’t something we’d drive a long way for.
8. Mille’s Burgers, Sugarhouse Utah
A bit better than a typical burger joint milkshake.
9. Dairy Keen, Heber Utah
Typical burger joint milkshake. Throw it in the box with all the others.
Disappointing. Not great. The ice cream was pretty good, the cookie dough was not
We have a good audio recording of us trying it.
A bit better than Granny’s.
10. Granny’s Drive In, Heber Utah
Such a let down! We made a recording of us tasting it for the first time and I’ll add more details soon.
11. Pace’s Dairy Ann, Woods Cross Utah
Such a let down. Typical burger joint milkshake…but even a bit worse
Fairly good, but not great. Didn’t even want to finish.
12. Purple Turtle, Pleasant Grove Utah
Decent, not impressive. Typical burger joint milkshake. Okay, but on the lower of the okays.
13. Sammy’s Cafe, Provo Utah
Sammy’s Cafe has been a solid place in Provo for many years, famous for its pie shakes and hamburgers – so we were excited to go. The cafe has a cool atmosphere – polaroids on the walls, visitors have signed the walls and ceilings, cool decor.
The cookie dough milkshake we ordered really shined by way of cookie dough – big chunks of tasty cookie-dough goodness – but after that, the lights went dim. The ice cream seemed like a failed attempt at custard – the flavor was odd, the texture was a bit icy. Then the shake was only mixed about 2/3 down. They employee that made our shake explained that the blender machine didn’t have fixture long enough to reach the bottom of the shake – so it was just solid ice cream for the final 1/3.
Cool place, but we won’t be going back for their cookie dough milkshake.
14. Coldstone, Draper Utah
Frankly, we were a little nervous to get a milkshake at Coldstone because its one of our favorite places. We go there often and always order their cake batter ice cream with Oreo. Its amazing. Once of the few things we really missed while we were in Italy. We just didn’t want to have anything compete with our favorite ice cream.
Well, we don’t have to worry. The cookie dough milkshake was nothing to write home about. The cookie dough was not that great, and the ice cream (we chose sweet cream) didn’t really match…its not the classic vanilla ice cream flavor that needs to be in a milkshake.
15. Baskin Robbins, Sandy Utah
Baskin Robbins has been a classic, dependable place for ice cream for a long time. They deliver quite well on solid ice cream. But after giving their cookie dough milkshake a go, we learned its probably best to keep the ice cream “shake-less”. It just wasn’t that great. Now we both agreed that the cookie dough was good, and the mini-chocolate chips were better than we expected, but the shake was far too milk-ey, and the taste of the ice cream was a bit bland. So overall, it was just decent. The workers were nice though. 🙂
16. JCW’s, South Jordan Utah
Corinne’s friend heard about our quest and brought her a milkshake during volleyball practice (some place to eat a milkshake, right!?). Corinne’s verdict? Good ice cream, but the cookie dough was too small and the cookie dough taste was disappointing.
17. Sonic, Sandy Utah
We thought Sonic would be a hit, but we weren’t impressed. No chunks and a very artificial taste. I think they just poured in cookie dough flavoring instead of using real cookie dough. Bleh.
You know it happens, but has it happened to you? You show up at the airport, and your luggage is gone. Missing. Stolen? Broken? Still on the airplane?
This is a quick story about my lost luggage after my Ryanair flight. I’ll explain how it was handled by Ryanair staff and the process of receiving a reimbursement for the items I bought to get by until my bag arrived. Then I’ll list 2 important steps to follow if your luggage is delayed or lost from a Ryanair flight.
(To skip the story and jump to the section: “2 steps: What to do when your luggage is lost on a Ryanair flight”, click here)
On 3 February I flew from Milan, Italy to London, UK. I arrived in Stansted Airport and couldn’t find my bag at the baggage claim area. I waited and waited, but it never showed up. I walked over to what I thought was the Ryanair lost luggage desk, but quickly found out I was at the wrong desk when the worker not-so-kindly told me I was in the wrong place. I located the Ryanair lost luggage desk, and told the lady at the counter, named Teresa, that my bag seemed to be missing.
First, she apologized for actions of the angry worker from the other desk, expressed her concern for my lost luggage, and I handed her my boarding ticket with my luggage sticker.
After checking the details on the luggage sticker and in the computer, she told me that unfortunately, the employee at the check-in counter in Milan had mis-tagged my bag, and it had been sent to Brindisi (a city on the southern tip of Italy). She told me that most likely, the bag wouldn’t make it back until the next day, she apologized for the trouble I was sure to have since I’d be without luggage for a whole day, and asked me about my situation and to describe the bag (so they could be sure to identify it). She then immediately logged the details into the tracking system called World Tracer – which allows them to track the location of luggage, and sent an email to the staff in Brindisi.
She filled out a form and explained the process of returning my bag to me. The staff in Brindisi would place my bag on the next flight to London, it would arrive in the evening, and then it would be sent by courier directly to my hotel. Unfortunately the daily courier would have already come and gone by the time my bag arrived, so it would be sent out the next day. She asked for my contact information and told me she would keep me updated by email as soon as she heard any updates on the location of my bag, and that the courier would call me when he was on his way with my bag.
“If I buy a toothbrush and razor and things, will I be reimbursed?”
“If you have travel insurance through your credit card, you may be able to receive a reimbursement from them. Otherwise you can submit a claim to Ryanair, and in most cases, you can get reimburesed, as long as its for essential items like toiletries, etc.”
She then explained how to request the reimbursement online, and handed me the form she had filled out and highlighted a few numbers to make note of. She said she was sorry about my bag, and I was on my way.
I received an email from Teresa that evening apologizing once again for the trouble of my lost bag and to let me know my bag had arrived at the airport and would be delivered the next day. That evening, I purchased some hair gel, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant and made sure to keep my receipts.
The next day, I wore the same clothes which were rather casual, unfortunately. I had a few important business meetings, but those I was meeting with understood. In the afternoon, I called the courier to ask about my bag and was told it would be delivered between 3pm and 6pm. I returned to my hotel that evening and found my bag, safe and sound, at the hotel check-in desk. I had also received an email from Teresa asking me whether my luggage had arrived. I thought that was very kind of her.
The day after I returned to Milan, I went about requesting a reimbursement for the purchase of my essentials. I went to this page, and with the information on the paper that Teresa gave me, I filled out the form. This is what that form looked like:
Just an hour later, I received an email from Ryanair Customer Support informing me that they had received my request, reviewed the information and approved it, and would be sending me a check to cover those costs.
It was definitely a pain to be without my luggage, wear the same clothes, etc. but I’d say the whole process was quite smooth and handled very well by the customer care team at Ryanair.
2 steps: What to do when your luggage is lost on a Ryanair flight
Has your luggage been lost of delayed after your Ryanair flight? If so, be sure to follow these 2 steps:
STEP #1: Go to the Ryanair lost luggage desk before you leave the airport and report your delayed/lost luggage. You’ll need the form they will give you, and reporting the issue at the airport is the most important part. In most cases you cannot report the issue later. You need to do it at the airport.
STEP #2: Submit your reimbursement request here: Ryanair: Loss/Delayed Checked Baggage (Submit within 7 days for lost luggage. Within 21 days for delayed luggage)
Will you receive a reimbursement for everything you buy? Not necessarily. While you can receive compensation for lost/delayed luggage, (read here for more info), the amount varies depending on what was in your bag, the circumstances of the loss or delay, etc. It seems to be up to the airline to decide what is an “essential cost”. (Be sure to read the disclaimer here.) I doubt that new clothes, new luggage, etc, will count as “essential” in the case of delayed luggage. Its up to the airline to make a decision on what they will reimburse you for on a case-by-case basis. My advice is to just buy what you need and don’t abuse the system.
If you’ve had a hard time finding a place to stay in Cinque Terre using many of the common methods (Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb, etc.) and haven’t found anything, here are a few additional options:
www.hotelclelia.com – email@example.com
www.cinqueterreriomaggiore.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
www.cinqueterre-camere.com – email@example.com
www.5terre-marmar.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
www.riomaggiorereservations.com – email@example.com
Il Boma B&B – firstname.lastname@example.org
www.the5terre.it – email@example.com
www.sollevante-5terre.it – firstname.lastname@example.org
I came across these options via a combination of my own searches on a few forums and websites and also based on the email chain of recommendations that followed the first four or five emails I sent.
Lets talk about Verified by Visa for a minute. Ever heard of it? I hope not – because if you have, you’ve likely had the same lousy experience that I have had in dealing with it.
Verified by Visa is a system meant to “help protect you against online fraud”. Basically it adds a password that you need to enter when making a purchase with your Visa credit card.
They may think its a good idea to give us this “unique service”, but really, its not. Why? Well for one, it seems to me that its not for you, its for them. In the unlikely event that someone steals your credit card information, Visa already protects you from unauthorized transactions! They will pay you back if this ever happens, and already have a slew of security measures to prevent and fix stuff like this. So, you are already protected. It seems that to reduce the odds that they will have to reimburse you, they are asking you to remember a new password and enter it every time you make a purchase “at participating online stores”.
“Unique service” indeed.
Additionally, since the Verified by Visa program is in effect for only a fraction of the transactions you’ll make, the odds that you’ll use it very often area quite low. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars in online transactions over the past few years and have only used it twice – both of which have been within the past few months. If I take their recommendation create a unique password for my Verified by Visa account, and don’t write it down, its unlikely I’m going to remember the password when I want to make a purchase. Then I’ll need to go through the pain of resetting my password. And believe me, its a pain. I’ve had to go through it once already.
And the cherry on top: in my experience, the Verified by Visa user experience is so poor, that it makes me feel like my information is being stolen while I’m signing up for it! The user experience seems to be managed by the vendor, so the experience can be awful. Allow me to share my own experience:
First, I went to a website with the intention of purchasing airline tickets for my wife and I. I ran my search, selected my flight, and proceeded to the checkout process.
Second, I entered my contact info, which takes extra time since I must be extra careful to get things correct – – – due to the exorbitant fees charged by airlines when you need to correct a mistake on an airline ticket.
Third, I entered my CC info and clicked “submit”
Then, unexpectedly (because usually step 3 is the final step), I’m redirected to a new screen that tells me that I’m required to enroll in Verified by Visa in order to complete the transaction. Woah, wait, what!? What is Verified by Visa? and why didn’t they tell me this before I started the process? I called my bank long ago and told them I’d be living overseas, and I’ve made many international transactions up to this point, so I don’t understand the point for this new security feature.
If I click “Back”, all of my information will likely be lost and I’ll have to start over again. Seems like I either have to exit the page and go to another site, or continue on. And also, I’ve already hit “submit”, so I wonder if my credit card has already been charged. But I sure don’t want to enroll is some weird thing. Why do I have to enroll in this? I’ve made hundreds of secure transactions without needing this…and the URL is “secure2.arcot.com”…ummm, who are they? I wasn’t on their website to begin with. They are saying they want this to be secure and they are trying to help me…but this seems like a very sketchy way to do it. I feel like I’m being led down a dark alley by a man with a pearly white grin and a black coat who wants to sell me a life insurance policy. It sounds good…but I get the feeling that something fishy is going on…
Then I realize something else: they are asking for ALL of my credit card information: name on card, signature panel code, expiration date, PLUS my zip code, the last 4 digits of my social security number, and my email address! Are you kidding me? Sounds like just the type of information someone would need in order to rip me off.
Awesome, so I’m been redirected from a site that I barely know, to a completely new, sketchy-looking URL, and being asked to give a bunch of personal information to enroll in a program I don’t want. Not to mention the webpage has the look and feel of a webpage that some hacker would whip up in 40 minutes. Nice.
I don’t know what’s worse, thinking I don’t need extra protection from online purchase fraud, or actually signing up for extra protection through a website that looks like its sole purpose is to steal my identity.
Visa, Wells Fargo – – – please explain yourselves.
And self, please explain yourself. Why did you go ahead and enroll in this again? The mere fact of writing this post has made me question why I actually went through with it.
Who in the world would book a 15 hour flight instead of a 2 hour flight? Really, who in the world would do that?
A 13 hour layover!? You have got to be kidding me. The fringe cases are so few and far between that I don’t understand why flight search websites would even show results like that.
Ok, ok, I can think of a few cases where someone would buy a flight like that, and one of them goes something like this:
“Hey there Ed, whatcha doin’ on Thursday afternoon?”
“Well, I’ll be workin’ Bill, why do ya ask?”
“Well I bought one o’ them layover flights between Kansas and Colorado, so I’ve got about 17 hours of extra time in the Atlanta Airport, so I was thinkin’ to meet up with ya’ll and go get some lunch or play some pool or somethin’, seein’ that you’re the only relations I got in Atlanta and I couldn’t think of nothin’ better to do.”
“Shoot Bill, that’s mighty kind of ya to think of me, I think I’ll just take the day off and join ya. I’m sure we can find somethin’ exitin’ to do with all them extra layover hours.”
“That’d be might fine. Golly, I’m sure glad these sites show flights like that, I sure get to see a lot of country that way.”
But really, do you know of anyone who books flights like that and then just makes the most of the long layovers? I’d love to hear about it.
In the mean time, I, and the rest of the population who would never book a 15 hour flight instead of a 2 hour flight will wade through the search results, muck and all.
England is green! No, not the recycling, environmentally-friendly kind of green (I don’t know the country’s stance there). I’m talking about the beautiful, luscious, vegetation kind of green. Its more beautiful than I expected!
As we drove from London to the Forest of Dean (near the southern part of the English-Wales border), we were amazed at all the green. Layers upon layers of it, and of all different shades.
We expected the drive to be along main highways…and part of it was, but much of it was on two lane roads that were quite narrow. The bushes and trees were often trimmed back at the roads edge to ensure cars could pass. So if you’re driving in the area for the first time, just be aware that the roads are a bit narrow.
The whole drive was beautiful.
I’ve been doing my best to keep a good journal as we travel. To give a little insight into our daily life at the moment, I thought I’d post a journal entry from today:
After an oatmeal+flavored honey+greek yogurt-for-breakfast-fail, we headed out to the big long Rethymno beach for the afternoon. Its like 12 km long, crazy. It took a while to get there through the crazy traffic and streets (who stops in the middle of the one way road, and casually blocks traffic while he unloads boxes…c’mon people!). We made it to the beach, averted our eyes from the few topless ladies, and layed our hand towels on the sand. Yes, hand towels…we saved our big towels for our showers. The sun was lovely, we read our books, then went out to play and swim in the water and the waves. It was rocky at first, but about 10 meters out (yes meters…I’m in Europe you know) it became sandy again. We had a good time launching off the waves and doing a little body surfing. I caught one of the best body surfing waves I’ve ever caught today.
After we dried off, we headed back to our airbnb, stopping for groceries on the way. Corinne and I split up to each buy stuff for a dinner of our choice – and lo-and-behold, what did we both choose? A dish that included sausages and vegetables. We can’t seem to get enough since our discovery on Lake Como!
We got ready for the day, then I worked on some freelancing projects and coordinated with my friend Parker to buy an iPhone – because we/I really need it. Really…for maps when we travel, for writing in my journal with a journal app, and for pictures and videos. All the other stuff is really just a bonus, but those things are quite important for me. Corinne worked on booking and planning some stuff for out upcoming travels. Our goal is to have everything in order by the time we meet dad so we can spend our evenings really soaking up our travels instead of researching and booking and planning for our travels. We were happy to some family members today. We love our families and are so happy we can keep in touch.
Looked for a church to go to tomorrow…and guess what….there is no church in Crete. Not on the whole island!! In fact, I did some research and found that there are less than 1,000 members in the whole country of Greece! The whole country!! Wow. I’ve never been in an area where that is the case. Reminds me of the importance of missionary work and spreading the gospel.
I should have seen it coming.
For months now, I’ve experienced a pain in the bottom of my left foot in some of the most epic cities in the world. Prague, Budapest, Paris, Rome…was it “epic city syndrome”? No, its something called plantar fasciitis – basically tiny tears in the fascia (connective tissue) on the bottom of my foot – and the pain coincided with my visits to epic cities simply because it was there where I walked for long distances.
I was seeing and doing some amazing things, but I was paying the price for it.
Now, I’ve finished up an international work contract and have started a three month trip around Europe. Italy, Greece, Turkey, England, Scotland, Ireland, Amsterdam, Switzerland, and the list goes on and on. Yet I may be sitting in our Airbnb rental icing my foot as my wife, family, and friends enjoy the sights without me.
I’m a stupid idiot and should have listened to what my body was telling me.
You see, it all started a long time ago. I can’t pin down the exact date because it didn’t “register” with me that something was wrong. At a minimum, it was 4 months ago. I can remember walking towards the opera house in Prague and saying to my wife: “My foot is about to pull” meaning that I could feel an “event” coming on where the bottom of my foot, having started aching for the past 30-45 minutes, would finally reach the breaking point. Something would happen and I would feel like I had just pulled a muscle on the arch of my foot. It would leave me limping and taking half-steps, just to ease the pain.
Now, after months of this, I’m finally realizing that unless I fix this now, I’m going to miss this whole summer. So I went to the doctor, I stayed off of it for several weeks, I used crutches for two weeks after that, and I purchased a pair of Superfeet inserts to give my feet better support. I’m icing, taping, resting, and gently stretching and strengthening my foot. But it might be too little, too late. I’ve read that the injury I have can take months…even a year or more…to heal.
I’m worried I won’t be able to fix it in time, and I’ll be sitting back wishing I had done something earlier.
If you looked hard enough, I bet you could recognize signals in your own life much like the pain in my foot. Things that if you continue to deny and/or ignore, they will eventually jump up and bite you…hard.
You’ve felt exhausted every day for the last three weeks.
You feel sick every time you eat too much junk foot.
You feel distanced from your spouse or child.
You hate your job.
These types of things don’t just go away, people. You need to make changes. More than that, you must make changes. Otherwise you may end up missing the most epic trip/event/opportunity/chance/experience of your life.
In a book called The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris, Tim applies Pareto Principle (also known as the “80/20 rule”)
to gaining conversational proficiency in speaking and understanding a language. He states the following:
95% proficiency with conversational Spanish = 2,500 words = 5 months
98% proficiency with conversational Spanish = 100,000 words = 5 years
Thus, learning 2.5% of the words in the Spanish language would yield 95% of the desired result – – – in this case, the desired result is to both join in and understand conversations in a particular language.
“The trick is finding that 2.5%” – Tim Ferris
How can I apply that to learning Italian, and later, to learning Spanish? Well, quite simply: find the 2.5%. I would think that this 2.5% would be easily found on the internet, but not so. After searching and reading a bit, I’ve learned that the problem isn’t in finding it as in a game of hide and seek, its to identify it as in: many people claim they know that 2.5%, and are willing to share it with you, however, each of these options are different in some way, thus its clear that the 2.5% hasn’t been exactly identified.
But thats not a problem really. Instead of 5 months, I’ll just need to study for 7 or 8 to make up for the inefficiencies in the identifying of the 2.5%.
Of course, this is not saying one would merely need to memorize 2,500 words in order to become 95% conversational in a particular language. This process would include learning the grammar and sentence structure that goes along with it.
After thinking about all of this, I’m bit frustrated that I haven’t learned Italian yet.
Very frustrated actually.
To think that I could have spent the first 7 or 8 months of my time here, studying for 30-45 minutes per day, and have become 95% proficient in conversational Italian…well, its quite disappointing. Many opportunities have been missed as a result. Yet, its not so much that I’ve been lazy and not taken that time, its more of an issue of other things taking priority over that time – including traveling, freelancing, exercising, and spending time with my wife. All of which, of course, are good things.
I have another 1-2 months until I finish my day-to-day time here in Italy (I’ll be finishing my contract with Vivocha and then traveling for several months before returning to the United States). With that 1-2 months, I could spend time each day studying Italian…specifically the 2.5%. I won’t reach the 95%, but I do have a head start since I have been learning some Italian, and have been around it and listened to it quite a bit over the last 8 months.
This effort is going to be an exercise in efficiency more than anything. There are a lot of activities I need to optimize, and if I do so, I’m sure I can find the 30-45 minutes each day that I need to study Italian.
I think my plan will be this:
- Identify the 2.5%
- Review the current use of my time, and find ways to act more efficiently
- Schedule the 30-45 minutes each day
Step #4 is to execute. If you haven’t realized already, its the most important of the 4. 🙂
I read an article on images of Japan’s nuclear zone via Google Street View.
Amazing to see the destruction there. The power of nature is incredible. My heart goes out to those people whose lives were and are affected.
Click on that image to go straight to the street view and look around.