I can no longer count how many times I’ve cursed commuting via the MRT, in the small fraction of my lifetime as a commuter. In fact, it has gained me such distress that it has many times merited spotlight in my conceited networking page, through my equally conceited status messages. What’s on my mind? Let me tell you what’s on my mind. “I’ve been to hell and it’s right out there below EDSA, aliased ‘Ayala Station.'” But you can’t reach hell at any given time. You have to be there a little past 6PM, the time I (and the entire Makati apparently) usually leave from work. That is, if you can manage your way past the queue upstairs, which is by the way the hardest test your deodorant can ever face. (Tip: If you stink by the time you enter the turnstiles, better think of changing brands.)
But off the slew of angered status messages, I found myself thanking the MRT one time — that one and only time I’ve managed to mutter something positive amidst the unremitting inconvenience. Thank you, MRT. I found White Cow.
I wasn’t in Ayala that time, though. I was at the Magallanes station (one station away from Ayala) waiting for something better than the past two ginormous sardine cans in wheels that went by. Third and fourth passed before I gave up and decided to try my luck a little later when everyone else isn’t too excited to go home. I had time to kill, so I went to the Alphaland Southgate Mall conveniently linked to the station.
I saw a familiar Japanese thrift store logo from afar — great news, since 30 minutes can easily pass me by while looking for random stuff. But on the way to it, an all-white kiosk caught my attention.
Something as immaculate as that won’t have a hard time standing out against its neighbors. In fact, it looks almost out of place set side by side with a shirt printing kiosk or the darkly lit coffee counter nearby. The mall, as I’ve observed, is a messy mêlée of shops, from tiangges, perfume stands, fast food chains, to ubiquitous food carts. Finding a concept kiosk such as White Cow, then, was a welcome surprise.
I checked their chromatic menu: Old Time Milkshakes, Soda Fountain Fizz, Ice Cream Soda. “Oh great!” I told myself. All the while I thought White Cow was another fro-yo place. Not that I’d shrug it off if it were, it was just doubly exciting when I found out it wasn’t.
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I went around the milkshake kiosk. Old pictures of diners in America are framed and hung on its walls, as well as other iconic clippings that refer to the soda fountain store era. Not many store owners of kiosk shops bother with design since they hardly have any space, but White Cow’s was well-thought of, if I may say. Now, it’s become triply interesting.
Among the 13 milkshakes listed, the masking-taped “Chunky Monkey” caught my eye. “Miss, ano yung Chunky Monkey?” I asked the lady in red and white uniform. “Ay, out of stock po.” “Yeah, pero ano siya?” I replied. “May banana slices, coffee syrup, chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream po.” Awesome, if only it weren’t out of stock!
So after much thought, I ordered Vanilla Malt, which was labeled as an Extra Mile Milkshake, and therefore priced at P120 for 16 oz. and P140 for 22oz. I got the smaller serving, since I wasn’t planning to stay long.
There was a previous order for an ice cream soda before mine, so they had to attend to that first. The counter, bright and wide, allowed customers a window to the hustle and bustle of preparing drinks. It was a treat to watch them prepare the soda manually: putting tube ice into the cup, pouring some syrup, fizzing in the carbonated water, and mixing everything. In place of the bulky and black vendo machines pasted with soda brand logos, sleek and silver long neck dispensers are used. It took several minutes longer than the time modern vending machines require, but it certainly was more charming to watch.
The shutting of the freezer stole my attention from the soda preparation. It must be my milkshake’s turn. I saw the lady I talked to earlier scooping out vanilla ice cream from the container. She did that thrice — or even four times, if I remember correctly. Therefore, I’ll be gulping down all four of those scoops. I immediately shut down the calorie calculator in my head. Just not now, I said to myself. This is not a fro-yo place after all. After scooping, she added something else which I presume is malt, then she finally attached the stainless container to the mixer.
A couple of minutes after, the blender’s done buzzing. My milkshake is done! She emptied the contents into my 16 oz. cup, and guess what? She added another ice cream scoop on top!
The result? Heaven. I’d merely torture you by lavishly describing how crazy good four scoops of thick blended ice cream with a whisper of malt tastes like. Typing that sentence alone was enough to make my mouth water! Classic milkshake is classic. No fake malt flavorings in there. I’d say it’s well-worth my 120 bucks.
Needless to say, it wasn’t the last time I went back for the obscure milkshake stand in Alphaland. It took me several trips to there before I decided to give Vanilla Malt a rest and ordered for something else. I once tried the Blue Heaven (P95 for 16 oz. and P125 for 22oz.), which was supposedly their blue-colored, gum-flavored shake. It was okay, but I thought it still lacks enough gum-flavor to merit the name. Well, the color wasn’t even that blue.
A friend, whom I politely dragged one other time, tried their ice cream soda line and ordered the Purple Cow (P55 for 14oz. P65 for 18oz. and P78 for 22oz.), which according to her tasted of fruity hints, mostly apple, peach and grape. Maybe the next time, I’ll try their Mocha Float.
I haven’t gone to White Cow lately. It may be because the weather had been gloomy these past few weeks and milkshakes aren’t exactly my must-drink during the gray, chilly season. But I somehow miss taking a detour to neighboring Magallanes just for my dose of Vanilla Malt. I miss entering the mall while everyone else altogether lose their patience in the station, and heading to a secret soda fountain place I assume not many people know of.
Though I’d love to see White Cow in much more accessible malls (Serendra and Greenbelt would be nice, I think), I secretly want it to stay sheltered in that confused transit mall amidst the flurry of commuters passing by unremittingly and loud TV sounds (yep, there’s a public TV nearby, don’t ask me why). I’d like to think that White Cow is a gift to commuters who constantly have to battle their way through rush hour. Trust me, their serving of milkshake many times saved me from head-splitting frustration. After a comforting serving of White Cow, I can now easily walk back to the station already deserted of bullies who tackle people just to get in, and patiently wait for the next train to come.