Angela Cash
It is one of the universe's greatest quandaries: Summertime is the season when we strip down to our Daisy Dukes and bare as many square inches of exposed flesh as possible. Yet it is also the season when we indulge in the fattiest of foods, from greasy bratwursts to one billion calorie milkshakes. Summertime is also the most carefree season, though, so why worry about contradictions? Here are some Portland spots to hit and skip.

Coffee People
Various Locations

Get ready for a shock: Coffee People has the best milkshake in Portland. CP scores big on all the ingredients that make a great shake: delicious, robust ice cream (chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, Oreo), a perfect consistency (thick, but not so thick your straw and head implode), and variety (including espresso laden joys such as Black Tiger and Velvet Hammer). But here's Portland's best kept secret, go off the menu and order the "chocolate banana" mix. It's so good, you'll be furious--furious that you hadn't tasted this delicacy sooner. WSH

Anna Bannanas
1214 NW 21st, 274-2559

This is not a milkshake for the go-go-go crowd. Instead the chocolate peanut butter banana milkshake is a wonderful way to slow down. Pull up a seat on the outdoor deck, dunk your feet into the funky coffeehouse's wading pool, and wait for the blender to crank through this muddy, thick, creamy mix. The peanut butter's heavy sweetness is the ideal compliment for the bananas' zing. Blend all that goodness into chocolate ice cream and you have a rich, heavy, slow sipping treat that could very well take up the entire afternoon. PB

Dairy Queen
Various Locations

For years, Americans have been putting ice cream on pie, why not put the pie into the ice cream? In Vermont, where I spent several summers, there were a few roadside stands that did exactly this. You order a slice of pie--apple, peach, chocolate--and they plop it into a blender with a few scoops of ice cream. As a twist on their trademark Blizzards, Dairy Queen has tried to replicate this genius. But unfortunately what made the Vermont pie-shakes so tasty--namely, the buttery piecrusts--has been lost in translation. They boast three promising flavors--key lime, French silk, and banana cream--but their crusts are chunky and flavorless. Stick with the standard blizzards--and anyone else who wants to attempt pie shakes, make sure you call me. PB

2811 NE Glisan, 233-0511

Soft, light, and smooth, the mango shake from this northeast sidewalk cafe is a Cuban treat. The mango is understated--giving a subtle undertow to the taste--and the shake is not too sweet; more milky than creamy. Order it for dessert after you devour oxtail. PB

526 NW 23rd, 542-3400

Not surprisingly, the most elegant and carefully crafted milkshakes come from the city's best chocolatiers, even though the company has strayed a bit from their hometown roots and into the territory of mass-production. (Truth be told, I'm pissed at those corporate bean counters who've pulled the best milkshake from their menu--a zingy chocolate and orange blend.) But still, Moonstruck has a wide menu of winners. At the top of the list is the "Brown Cow," a chocolate drink that is lifted by a splash of root beer. The plain old chocolate is silky smooth. And, bat your eyelashes enough at the staff behind the counter and they may even blend a chocolate truffle into the shake for you. PB

Various Locations

Sure, if you're from Gresham, why not settle for this overrated shake? While Burgerville gets solid points for their fresh berry flavor (this month's is raspberry) and a sweetness that isn't overbearing, their shake's consistency is way off base. Its overzealous thickness originates from its paste-like texture--a byproduct of fresh ingredients being pumped through a machine. Plus they are skimpy on the whipped cream topping, AND THERE ARE NO MALTEDS ON THE MENU. Heresy! WSH

5101 N Interstate, 283-9093

While this Interstate hiphop hangout may serve a snappy breakfast, their shakes are nothing to sneeze at. Constructed with just the right consistency of thickness, they also feature a range of freaky-fun ingredients including Snickers, cherry chocolate, and fresh strawberry. And they're only $3. WSH