Serious Eats' Erin Zimmer risked gullet and gut to sample a "F'Real Shake," some sort of gas station make-your-own milk shake machine.
Something like a DIY malt shop from the future, it lets you pick from a mini-freezer of ice cream cups (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or a limited-edition egg nog) and thickness settings (extra, regular or less thick). After dropping my vanilla into the sleek blue machine and choosing extra-thick, the cup levitated to a shake-making heaven. Some bzzt noises later, and it dropped back down to our mortal world.
Creamy and chalky-white, it wasn't much more sophisticated than McDonald's vanilla soft-serve, but very satisfying with all that buttercream and host of scary chemicals. Cellulose gum, maltodextrin, carrageenan and dextrose.
My favorite flavor of ICEE is maltodextrin. (Although I usually stir in a little from the xanthan gum nozzle for viscosity.)
Route 29 Roadtrip Highlight: F'Real Shakes [SeriousEats.com]