Frozen custard would rarely be eaten as a meal, but since AJ's Custard Cabana is now serving sub sandwiches from 11am-2pm daily, what a perfect reason to make this place a quick and nutritious stop for lunch.
To get a good feel of AJ's Custard Cabana, I made three visits over a four-day period, and while the service received was mediocre, I must say the custard and sandwich were very satisfying.
AJ's Custard Cabana offers many items and custard combos similar to other frozen custard places in town---they just go by different names, in this case to reflect a beachy "cabana" theme.
After beginning with two basic flavors, chocolate and vanilla (common among frozen custard establishments), the fun begins. Some toppings and flavors to mix into the two flavors of custard include pineapple, marshmallow, Heath Bar, Crunch Bar, chocolate chip, caramel, brownie, almonds, pecans, M&M's, hard chocolate shell, Reeses, cappuccino, blueberry amaretto and Butter Finger.
Specialty items include Island Sundaes (Peanut Butter Paradise, Sweet Dream, Crocodile, Beach Party, Volcano, Typhoon Turtle), Floats & Cows, Shakes & Malts, Cones & Cups, Big Trains, Smoothies, Hurricanes and Cabana Lattés. Pricing is reasonable; for example, a specialty Hurricane is priced at $3.13 for a Junior size; $3.69 for a Regular; and $4.33 for a Large.
For the benefit of those new to this frozen treat, custard is a type of cold dessert similar to ice cream, but made with eggs, as well as cream and sugar. Usually, custard contains 10 percent butterfat and 1.4 percent egg yolk. Custard is usually creamier, thicker and richer than an ice cream.
In a preparation process called overrun, air is blended into the mixture of ingredients until its volume increases by approximately 20 percent, while ice cream may have an overrun as large as 100 percent--which means that half of the final product is composed of air. The high percentage of butterfat and egg yolk gives frozen custard a thick, creamy texture and a smoother, softer consistency than its cousin.
In addition, frozen custard is most often served at 26 degrees Fahrenheit, 16 degrees warmer than the 10 degrees F at which ice cream is served.
On my first visit, I sampled the Cappuccino Latté---a rich, very thick blend of vanilla custard with cappuccino flavoring. It was almost too thick for a straw, so I began with a spoon until it was melted enough for the straw. The mellow coffee flavor was soothing and refreshing on this warm autumn afternoon.
My second visit was in the evening, for custard as dessert following dinner. I ordered a simple vanilla with sprinkles blended in. It was good, but the consistency of the sprinkles added a less than desirable chalkiness to the vanilla flavor.
My third visit included a 6-inch sub sandwich (only $2 with the UTW coupon, $3.95 otherwise) and a junior-sized "Lovely" Hurricane, which is vanilla custard with almonds and coconut.
Subs come in three types: turkey, roast beef and ham on white or wheat bread, mustard or mayo. I had a turkey on wheat with mayo. I did not know what to expect--what I found was a hearty sandwich.
The wheat bread was soft and very fresh, topped with many thinly sliced layers of turkey, a generous portion of shredded iceberg lettuce and a few sliced tomatoes. This made-to-order sandwich was very simple, but very good and very filling.
My "Lovely" dessert was laden with thinly sliced fresh almonds and coconut flavoring.
Fresh shredded coconut would have made this custard much more satisfying.
AJ's Custard Cabana is just west of 51st & Sheridan and has a cabana feel about it with outdoor seating under thatched topped umbrellas with window and drive-through service.
AJ's Custard Cabana
6147 E. 51st St
Share this article: