Thursday, September 06, 2012

Milkshake from Bistro Burger

I go through a lot of phases.  As you know, I spent the entire months of May and June eating foie gras basically every night.  Ok, slight exaggeration, but not much.  I think I averaged at least 5 out of 7 days most weeks.  I didn't get sick of foie exactly, but I did get sick of fine dining.

So I've been on a more casual kick lately, particularly inspired by birthday freebies, LevelUp promotions, and GoPago credits.  I recently had even more LevelUp money added to my account, to spend at a small number of SOMA specific merchants.  Its been burning a hole in my pocket, and I just received an e-mail saying it was going to expire.  I just had to go use it.

It was a particularly glorious afternoon (yes, San Francisco summer is almost here!), so I was craving something like ice cream, or ... a milkshake!  I quickly determined that a handful of the SOMA places had milkshakes, including Bistro Burger.  I've walked by Bistro Burger a zillion times, as one location is very close to my house, and there is one in the mall, and there are two others in the FiDi.  But I've never been, as the burgers and fries don't look particularly good.  But I do always notice the big signs they have out front advertising the shake of the day!

I quickly checked out the website, and saw that they offered milkshakes in two sizes, one for $2.99 and one for $4.99.  Since I had just over $3 left in my SOMA credits, this was perfect.  They also had a number of flavors to pick from.  I strolled out into the sunshine and headed to the closest location.  The menu listed only the $4.99 size.  I asked about it, and the girl told me they come in only that one size.  And it was 20 ounces.  Now, I like milkshakes, but 20 ounces was a little much given that I'd just had a giant froyo sundae an hour before.  And ... I only had ~$3 worth of credits!  I told her the website said they had two sizes, and asked if she knew if the other locations carried more sizes.  She just shrugged.

So, I started walking to the next one, calling ahead on my phone.  They also told me they only carried the 20 ounce size.  And then I called the mall location, and they said the same thing.  Finally, when I thought all hope was lost, the last location told me they have a 12 ounce and a 20 ounce size.  Perfect!

But ... that location wasn't listed in LevelUp, so I wasn't sure if they actually used it there.  And they were closing in 10 minutes.  I high-tailed it there, saw the LevelUp device on the counter, and then saw that the menu only listed the large size as well.  But, given that I'd just talked to someone on the phone who said they had two sizes, I decided to just play it cool and ordered a "small".  The cashier didn't even do a double take, ringing up a "mini shake" for $2.99.

Then I went to select my flavor.  The online menu listed a bunch of flavors.  The first location I stopped at had those, plus a few extras, including Oreo, which sounded appealing, as I'd recently been remembering the Oreo Vanilla Bean Coolatta from Dunkin' Donuts.  But of course, the location that I was now at didn't list that flavor.  I asked if they had any other flavors, and she told me that the special of the day was coffee.  So I specifically asked, "do you have Oreo?" And she said "oh, yeah".  So again, why does their menu not list what they actually have?

Anyway, I found the whole experience rather frustrating.  I don't understand why only one location has both sizes, perhaps the others do as well, and it just depends who you ask?  And I don't understand why it isn't listed on the physical menus anywhere.  Or for that matter, why it is on the online menu if they don't really offer it.

Grumble grumble.

I later tweeted to Bistro Burger asking about the sizes, and got a reply that two of the locations should have the smaller sizes (Sansome and Bush), and that the others just don't have the facilities to make them yet.  I appreciated them looking into this for me!
Mini Oreo shake.  $2.99.
This was a pretty generic shake, made with Dryers ice cream.  I'm pretty sure it was vanilla ice cream and crushed Oreos blended in, rather than just an Oreo flavored ice cream made into a shake.  I give them credit for that.

It was incredibly thick at first, somewhat hard to drink.  As it melted, it then turned into just thin milk.  It didn't ever seem to be at the perfect consistency.

There was a plentiful amount of Oreo in it, which was great, except that kept clogging up my standard size straw.  It would be better to serve with a large straw, or break the pieces up more.  Given that I enjoyed the chunks of cookie, I'd opt for a larger straw.

The whipped cream on top was generic, but a nice touch.

Overall, this was nothing special, but $2.99 for a 12 ounce shake is actually very reasonable for SF.  I liked it more than my free birthday shake from Del Taco, as it was at least made from real ice cream, but the one I had a few weeks ago from Roxy's Cafe was definitely better.
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