When I was in Southern California earlier this month, I learned for the first time that date shakes were available at the Crystal Cove Shake Shack. Date shakes had become a must on my visits to Palm Springs, and I was curious to try the OC version.
The Shake Shack has been open since 1946. Perched on the bluffs along PCH, it offers expansive ocean views and throwback diner fare. It had been managed by Ruby's, but that name is no longer on the signage and this location has been dropped from Ruby's website, so presumably there's been a change. You order and pay at the counter, are given a number, then the food is delivered to your seat.
The Date Shake, $5.99, did not do much for me. I did not care for the artificial vanilla flavor, gummy texture, cloyingly sweet taste, nor the inadequately blended date fibers and hard bits that stuck in my teeth and clogged up the straw.
However, the Chili Dog, $8.99, was great. I had not expected it to come with fries, which made it a bargain as well. The hot dog's grilled, making it on the salty side, and has a snappy casing. The generous topping of chili was in the mild range yet complex in flavor and I was so happy that this was bean-less. Some finely grated cheese melted on top and fragrant chopped scallions garnished the dog. The bun was toasted and buttered and was not quite big enough to contain everything. The skinny fries were greaseless and delicately crisp. This turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise.
Even though it was gray and overcast that day, a view seat here is still special. I enjoyed watching the surfers below. I was there mid-afternoon on a Monday, certainly an off-hour, but still had three cars ahead of me waiting to get into the parking lot. On weekends, I wouldn't even try to park on-site.
Crystal Cove Shake Shack
7703 East Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92657