Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Brownie Sundae from Buca di Beppo

Update Review, August 2013

Last year, you may recall that I went on a little journey to Buca di Beppo to enjoy a free birthday brownie sundae.  I didn't think any component of the sundae was all that successful, but all combined, and enjoyed while sitting in the sun at Yerba Buena Gardens, it was pretty enjoyable.  I sought to replicate that experience again this year.

Since I've reviewed it before, I'll skip the general details and focus only on what was different this time.  Summary: even though this was free, and I love my birthday freebies, I see no reason to return next year.  The staff was again very friendly though!
Birthday Brownie Sundae.
I laughed when I opened my togo bag.  You can't tell the scale in this photo, but this bowl was absolutely enormous!  Seriously, hugetastic.   Last year, my sundae came in a slightly more reasonable size container.  I guess Buca di Beppo doesn't serve anything in standard portion sizes, so it somewhat makes sense that they wouldn't have a regular size container.  But still, quite hilarious that this was the smallest container they had.

As I mentioned last time, the birthday sundae is a scaled down version of the Colossal Brownie Sundae.  Instead of 12 chunks of brownie, it has 2.  Instead of 6 scoops of both chocolate and vanilla ice creams, it has only 1 of each.  Basically, 1/6th the size of the colossal one, this one is designed for a single person, whereas the other is listed as "sharable".  Lols.

My brownie sundae contained two chunks of brownie, each large enough to be considered a full serving of brownie on their own.  The menu said "freshly baked", but I have my doubts.  The brownies were again not served warm.  Seriously, this dessert would actually have potential if they just heated the brownies up!  But as they were, the brownies were unremarkable.  They were loaded up with chocolate chunks, which gave a nice texture, but still somehow weren't that chocolatey.  They were dry both on the inside and the outside, except for strange little blobs that were a bit gooey.  I have no way to explain this strange inconsistent texture, other than to suspect that the brownies were pressed up against something and sweat a little, causing this.  They didn't look, nor taste, very good.

And then, just like last time, two tiny, tiny scoops of ice cream.  I honestly do not understand why the ice cream scoops are so tiny, given the size of everything else.  I think they must use a melon baller not an ice cream scoop.  There was a vanilla scoop and a chocolate scoop, both generic, not very flavorful, kinda icy, and they melted rapidly.  A bite of brownie with the ice cream wasn't bad, but it also wasn't particularly good.

And again, just like last time, tons and tons of whipped cream, clearly the kind from a can.  It was what it was.

Sprinkles on top were fun, a maraschino cherry topped it off, but ... yeah.  Brownie, two ice creams, whipped cream, sprinkles, a cherry ... should have been delicious, and I kept eating it hoping it would be, but it just really wasn't that good.  I almost brought one brownie home with me to try heating up and topping with my own ice cream and whipped cream, but decided it really wasn't worth it.  Meh.

Original Review, August 2012

Buca di Beppo is known for being a good place to go with large groups, since everything they do is family style and over the top huge.  I've been to wedding receptions, birthday parties, etc there, but I've never gone just to eat.  I remember somewhat liking their garlic bread and ravioli, but it has been years since I've been.

Anyway, for some reason or another, I'm on their mailing list, and I got a coupon for a free birthday brownie sundae.  So, I continued my quest of redeeming birthday freebie coupons, and went to get my sundae.  I couldn't convince anyone else to go with me, so I got it togo, and went to enjoy it in Yerba Buena Gardens nearby.  I don't have much to say about the actual restaurant, since I didn't stay long.  They do have a dedicated togo ordering area, which I'm guessing is sometimes busy, but I was the only one there.  The guy was nice, and wished me a happy birthday.

This was a scaled down version of the Colossal Brownie Sundae from the regular menu, which is designed to serve 4-6 people.  That monstrosity is composed of:
"Twelve decadent chunks of freshly-baked brownies layered with six scoops of vanilla bean and chocolate ice cream, topped with caramel and chocolate sauces then buried in mounds of whipped cream - and we won’t forget the cherry!"
ZOMG.  Like I said, they are known for big!
Birthday Brownie Sundae, togo.
I was very excited for this, as I love sundaes.  But ... there were a number of issues with the composition of this sundae.

The brownies were not warmed up.  Doh!  Key to a delicious brownie sundae is a warm brownie!  The brownie chunks were very fudgey, and loaded with chocolate chips.  Not particularly good, but not bad.

Then, there were tiny scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream.  Totally generic ice cream, nothing notable, except that there wasn't nearly enough ice cream to distribute amongst the brownie.  I wanted all my bites to include both ice cream and brownie!

The whipped cream was also just generic whipped cream.  Unlike the ice cream, there was a ton of it.  I was a little surprised that I ate it all, as there seemed to be far too much, but somehow, it disappeared :)

The sprinkles were fun and the generic canned cherry on top completed the package.  It didn't have the promised chocolate and caramel sauces.

Overall, this was about as generic as it gets, and nothing special at all, but put together, it was greater than the sum of its parts.  Who doesn't love a brownie sundae, and a free one at that?


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