Several months ago, I heard former Top Chef contestant Richard Blais was developing an upscale Atlanta diner called Flip Burger Boutique, featuring oddities like corned beef burgers, smoked mayonnaise and a nitrogen-cooled Krispy Kreme milkshake.
Repeat: A Krispy Kreme milkshake.
Molecular gastronomy — the use of unconventional chemicals, techniques and ingredients to prepare avant-garde food — is Blais' specialty. His creations include a foie gras milkshake and oysters with cocktail sorbet.
But so far, the trend hasn't spread south to Tampa. If you want to experience food the way Blais and other chefs believe it should be experienced, you've got to hit the road.
For a Krispy Kreme milkshake, I was prepared to do just that. So during a drive up I-75 for the holidays, I made sure to stop at Flip.
I sat at the burger bar, behind which Blais himself watched over his army of cooks. The menu featured shake flavors like sweet tea and Nutella and burnt marshmallow, but after nearly 500 miles, how could I order anything but the Krispy Kreme?
It arrived still steaming from its nitrogen freeze, and was cream-colored, with tiny flecks of what must once have been doughnuts. I wish I could say it was an otherworldly culinary experience, but frankly, it tasted like a very sweet (almost glazelike?) vanilla shake. That's it.
Still, I relished the looks I got from friends after I told them I'd dined on a doughnut milkshake. Some wrinkled their noses in disgust. Others, curious souls like myself, seemed envious.
I could see them plotting their own pilgrimages to Atlanta in their minds.