April 29, 2011

*Lights, camera* … Aaaannd we’re back! Yes, as promised here is my official tuttimelon rant, though it appears to be more of a photo essay. But who cares, I needed proof aplenty to validate my point. So here goes. Tutti Melon was delicious, fresh, vibrant and youthful five months ago. You would order your yogurt; there was honey, mango, chocolate, tart, vanilla, raspberry, and blueberry. A good variety. And then you’d move onto unlimited free toppings ranging from coconut flakes, mochi, mini gummy bears [tropical flavor], walnuts, fresh fruit, chocolate chips, etc.. Suffice it to say the good ole days are no longer. Charred memories reminiscent of a happy childhood now empty, tossed aside like a derailed boxcar. Poo. Just look at these photos taken pre-Tea Way. Simply gorgeous! Silky yogurt that glistened under those crisp fluorescent lights!

And now look—uggh! GAG. Two flavors now reign Tutti Melon, chocolate and original tart. Tapioca balls and jellied fruit are you’re choices for toppings, which is now an additional dollar!!!! They don’t even carry mochi anymore!! I have seen four tuttimelons make this awful transformation: San Mateo, SF [Chinatown & Russian Hill], and Burlingame. By the time you add the toppings, your yogurt doesn’t even look appetizing anymore. It starts to melt and bubble. And those translucent gobs of cornstarch [AKA “jellied fruit”] stuffed with artificial flavoring are too sweet and difficult to chew as they slide away from your teeth. These dyed strips of fake fruit are slippery and make your pearly whites squeak. And the aftertaste, let’s not forget about that. Its a strange type of bitter. Grubbers, you’ve been warned!

September 2, 2010

It seems the ‘Late Nite Grubbers’ have gotten themselves thrust [unknowingly] into a Peninsula-wide debate when it comes to today’s current craze—fro yo. If you’ve got the time, check the reviews that several customers have written for Yumi Yogurt. Personally, Sophie and I weren’t entirely satisfied with our visit, maybe we picked a bad day… or maybe ‘late nite’ service isn’t suitable for our ‘standards’. I think its safe to say that our loyalty lies with Yogurt-o-ville. Tell us what you think.

August 24, 2010

Sophie and I decided to kill two flies with one swat last Saturday, hitting Jack’s Prime Burgers & Shakes for some fries and a burger and then off to Yumi Yogurt for dessert. Located off the El Camino, these places stay pretty busy. Fairly new, Jack’s is clean and sleek. Their faux-pop culture decor generates a youthful atmosphere reminiscent of a 1950’s soda fountain; a combination of streamline and modernity.

And if you’re lucky, your seating will plant you in perfect view of their projector screen. I’m pretty sure this luxury is only available on weekend nights. Toy Story was this week’s film. But let’s take a few steps back for a second. Initially, we wanted to get there somewhat early [our ‘late night’ mantra was broken, but there are always exceptions to rules], I gathered word from a few locals that Jack’s was always busy. Not anticipating a long wait, Sophie and I left B Street in San Mateo and headed up the El Camino. Definitely more bustle than Foster City will ever live to see!

Upon our arrival, first impressions showed that they were exceptionally busy. Scratching our heads, we hesitated a bit before taking a seat in what I guessed had to have been a waiting area. Two girls sat gossiping amongst themselves. I casually snacked on some Jelly Bellys. An older man took a seat next to us just as the girls left (apparently you can get orders to-go…). People seemed to be moseying on home, while seats opened their arms for those of us who waited patiently. But something didn’t sit right with us sitting there—waiting; separated from the food and the rest of the customers. I attempted communicating several times with the man seated next to us, but he either had bad hearing or was entirely immersed in La-la Land. I decided the next best thing was to talk to someone who may provide some answers. And answers I received.

“Did you sign your name on the list?”
“What list…?”

And presto! We were seated, that easy! Then came our waiter. Alfonso. Don’t forget that name. Eager and perky. He rushed to take our orders, but as is always the case; important life-changing decisions were to be made. Sufficient time needs to be designated for successful choices. But reality clocked in and I was on a budget, just get the cheapest burger on the menu, Hannah. You can get a milkshake later. Alright. For $8.95, I ordered Jack’s Prime Classic Hamburger; medium rare, no mayo, on a whole wheat bun with shoestring fries. And Sophie, being the weird veggie-only girl, told Alfonso—who, might I add was diligently scribbling our food down on a frumpy-looking notepad, nodding repeatedly as if he had suddenly become our group therapist; ordered some black-bean-pressed-in-the-shape-of-a-burger [also known as the black turd] with some type of vegan dressing. Delicious… “Anything to drink?” Yes, vanilla milkshake!!!! No, water is fine.

The burgers didn’t take long at all, and before you could say Jack Robinson [believe it or not, this idiom is a popular phrase], Alfonso was strutting over to our table with the grub. Resting on our table like religious relics, the hamburgers; shrouded by lightly golden french fries, welcomed us to a future of clogged arteries and high cholesterol. As a precautionary measure, Sophie and I cut our burgers in half before the feast began. Very good. Not dry, and not too greasy.

Dressed with fresh lettuce and tomato, this burger was great. Which, as a side note, was almost at par with Santa Cruz’s very own Jack’s, no relation to Jack’s Prime whatsoever. And french fries that were the perfect size and not too salty. Sophie agreed. But no one will ever know for sure just how delicious she claimed hers to be. With a food coma setting in, we stopped midway and called it quits. Sensing our fatigue, Alfonso returned with bill in hand.

“Can we get doggy bags?”
“Sure… you mean boxes?”
“Yeah, anything.”

Alfonso left to fetch us our boxes as we scrounged for the few dollars and leftover coins stuck in the creases of our jackets and pants. “Are you guys foreign? Like, from another country?” Alfonso had returned. With the boxes, and this is how he greets us?!

Huh!?! Sophie: “We’re from Foster City.” Alfonso was looking us up and down with undisguised scrutiny. Holy shit, what the hell is this kid’s problem!

“Oh. Well, its just that I’ve never heard anyone say ‘doggy bag’ before.” Really? Maybe that’s because you live under a rock Alfonso. So we left and the first thing to blurt out of Sophie’s mouth goes as follows:
“Alfonso?!?! What kind of name is Alfonso?! I should have asked him the same question!”

And there you have it, Jack’s Prime at it’s finest. But the night was far from over. Yumi Yogurt was just down the street. If ever there existed a Blessed Mary Jane Congregation, its here—harkening tokers from the entire Bay Area. A hole in the wall, Yumi Yogurt does nothing to spruce up it’s shitty appearance.

And the dingy fluorescent lighting doesn’t help either. With nowhere to sit, Sophie and I just wanted to grab a yogurt and leave. Gangstas, computer nerds, shady looking old men, dads’ with industrial bars thrust into their ears—a circus of sub-cultures and cliques, making that integral journey to the hub of munchie fixes. But wait?!?! Sophie clutched my arm and looked at me with desperation. I mouthed a concerned ‘what?’, but it had already hit me. Wafting gracefully up through my nasal cavities and registering with my neural receptors as an extremely foul stench. Oh Dear God.

“Hannah, did you fart?” The answer was a firm no. One of the computer nerds in front of us had released this noxious gas and we were left to suffer. Rude. Finally, our time was up, I ordered a bowl of raspberry frozen yogurt and the man set to work, returning with a beautiful swirly mountain of fuchsia yogurt. “You want this to go?” I nodded yes. Never…EVER say yes. He capped the bowl and the mountain disappeared. I was in utter shock and almost asked the man if he had accidently dropped the yogurt as Sophie dragged me out. She was laughing. “Dude, he just smashed my yogurt, didn’t he?” An unrequited blow to our ‘late nite’ fun [innuendo not intended].