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Shake it up 

Chocolate, vanilla, jackfruit?

The end of summer in the Carolinas can drive anyone to drink. One way to alleviate the stickiness of steamy afternoons is to indulge in an icy cold, frothy drink. While ice cream, gelatos, beer and icy coffee drinks have their followings, for some nothing beats the tradition of a late summer shake.

In addition to the ubiquitous tea and beer, a lassi is considered one of India's national drinks. A lassi is as thick as a milkshake and is made with a fruit puree and yogurt. In the US we have co-opted this ethnic drink and given it an American name: the smoothie. The mango lassi is quite common at many area Indian restaurants. One of the best is found at Sangam in Cornelius. As with other dishes prepared in this expert kitchen, the refreshing mango lassi is worth the trip to exit 28.

Sangam, 20910 Torrence Chapel Road, 704-655-9600.

Vietnamese restaurants also specialize in thick cold fruit drinks. Saigon Bistro specializes in frothy tropical fruit shakes and the jackfruit shake is so good you'll need to get two: one to share with the table and one to drink. Jackfruit is difficult to grow in the US and fruit from this tree is imported. Jackfruit can grow to 80 pounds, 36 inches long and 20 inches in diameter. The interior has edible bulbs of yellow with an oval, light-brown seed within. When fully ripe, the fruit doesn't smell inviting, but once opened the fruit has the smell palette of bananas and pineapples.

Saigon Bistro: Fine Vietnamese Cuisine, 3145 North Sharon Amity, 704-536-5888.

Even after Pike's Old Fashioned Soda Shop moved out of its historic digs on Shamrock years ago to SouthEnd, the owners and subsequent owners have managed to keep the concept of the old styled ice cream parlor alive. In addition to the almost too thick to sip milkshakes, Pike's excels in root beer floats, an almost extinct childhood treat.

Pike's Old Fashioned Soda Shop, 1930 Camden Road, 704-372-0092.

In Davidson, The Soda Shop is the popular place for thick shakes. Deluxe brand ice cream, made locally in Mooresville, is used in the milkshakes, Black Jacks, Brown Cows, and ice cream sodas and desserts. Chocolate is their most popular shake.

The Soda Shop, 104 South Main Street, Davidson. 704-896-7743.

Downtown's funky Therapy may be best known for their martinis, but you can get a mean milkshake there as well as. Sure you can get a vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or graham cracker shake (all made with Breyers ice cream), but Therapy also sell "Spirited" milkshakes: a shake with a shot of booze.

Therapy, 401 N. Tryon St. 704-333-1353.

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