"What is a frappe?" we ask as we study the drink section of the posted movable-letter menu above the counter at Borden's dairy bar.
"That's frapp-AY," replies the mixologist, a soda-fountain veteran to whom the differences among a shake, malt, freeze, flip, frappe, and soda are elementary. She explains that here in Lafayette, a frappe is four scoops of ice cream and your choice of flavor, all blended together. It is like a milk shake without the milk. "You eat it with a spoon," she advises.
Nice as that sounds, we go for a traditional chocolate malt. It is a pleasure to watch her assemble ingredients in the tall cup with aplomb, then tend the cup as the mixer strains to whir them all together. She works hard rearranging it round and round, up and down and at a cant so that unblended clods of ice cream get hit by the blades. The ultimate result: a classic malt, served with spoon and straw, with nary a single hunk of unmixed ice cream.
Sundaes are masterfully made, too – but served, alas, like the shakes, in paper cups rather than traditional soda fountain glassware. Among the broad choice of toppings, we are partial to hot fudge, marshmallow cream, and syrupy "wet nuts."
This old ice cream shop with its deco-stucco exterior is a blast from the past, and not only for the soda-jerking expertise of the lady behind the counter. It is in fact a genuine Borden's Dairy store, complete with cartoon images of mascot Elsie the Cow above the entryway and seating at 5 booths upholstered in lipstick-red leatherette.