Category Archives: Silicon Cali Food

How can Shakes from Shake Shack San Mateo be this bad?

Shake Shack San Mateo fails at making a Shake! The word “Shake” is the first part of their name, Shake Shack! You’d think they would have at least the process of making of a shake down solid. But nope. Not yet. At least not at this location.

Shake Shack sign in the North Block of Hillsdale Shopping Center

Shake Shack’s newest Bay Area location opened recently in the modern new addition of the Hillsdale Mall known as the North Block.

We have visited Shake Shack locations in London, New York and the Washington DC area, and while the locations have been busy and over hyped, the food was at least tasty and matched what we had ordered and paid for.

Here’s how we experienced the complete failure of Shake Shack’s signature shake on a recent visit. After having a great dinner at the fairly new Japanese Teishoku restaurant, YAYOI, also at the Hillsdale Mall we decided to give Shake Shack a try for a holiday dessert.

We waited in the line for shake orders as the automated kiosk was for meal orders. Some locations we’ve been to had separate lines just for drink orders but it depends on the location. The line moved along and we ordered the Coffee Fair Shake along with the seasonal “Pie Oh My” Concrete with blended pumpkin pie. For those not familiar with Shake Shack’s frozen offerings, the Concrete is kind of a mixed up mash of frozen custard and toppings.

After a looong wait our order was finally called, the buzzer we were given never actually buzzed. We picked up the Coffee Fair Shake and the Pumpkin Pie Concrete and moved out of the crowded order wait area. But something didn’t look right, the “coffee shake” was way too light colored to have any amount of coffee in it and the “Concrete” looked more like soup than anything remotely like concrete.

This wasn’t a hot day, it was in the high 40’s outside and this location was getting plenty of cold air blowing in through the constantly opening doors. So how were these frozen treats left all soupy and gross and presented to the customer like that?

After trying the “coffee” shake it was obviously not the coffee shake we ordered so we took it back to the counter and were presented with a new shake that looked exactly the same except for a “Malted” sticker on the top. “This one is coffee”, stated the counter worker. Somewhat reassured that we got the right one, we ventured outside of the crowded area and sat down to enjoy the new North Block outdoor area with fire pits and a large lit Christmas tree. We were trying to place the flavor of the shake, definitely not coffee, maybe it was caramel and vanilla? It was hard to place given that the shake along with the concrete were given to us in a melted state that just tasted like sugary syrup. Cracking the lid off the melted concrete revealed nothing pumpkin related, just some chocolate chunks swimming in a murky sea of some sort of melted sugary concoction. Maybe these were made earlier in the day and just kept under a warming lamp until some unsuspecting customer ordered one?

After a lot of wasted time and a total of $11.48 with the $1.00 tax spent on foul tasting liquid mush, we dumped the remains of the not so frozen treats in the trash and left with the taste of disappointment lingering in our mouths. Disappointment apparently is the new flavor of the “Golden State” and the Bay Area. High costs, long waits, heavy traffic, dirty, crumbling streets and a direction that does not seem like anything resembling forward.

Hillsdale Shopping Center is located at 60 31st Ave, San Mateo south of the downtown area and has plenty of other food options that might not disappoint.

Though, if you want a real shake, skip the “shack” and head to Jack’s Prime just south of the Hillsdale Mall on El Camino Real. I recommend the coffee shake with Oreos.

The melted cups of disappointment served up by Shake Shack. What was supposed to be a Coffee Fair Shake at top and what wasn’t the Pumpkin Pie Concrete at bottom.

Shake Shack melted my faith in the simplicity of the Shake.

Shake Shack is Now Open! Just not ready for business quite yet.

How Did You Celebrate National Donut Day?

How did you celebrate National Donut Day? Or is it National Doughnut Day? Did Dunkin’ Donuts simplified spelling of “doughnut” transform the world of fried doughy goodness?

Krispy Kreme still uses the original spelling. But of course they use their own spelling for “krispy” and “kreme”. Krispy Kreme also has a free doughnut offer for National Doughnut Day.

Check out some spinning Voodoo Doughnuts. Yes that is real bacon you see there.

The creative sugary treats of Voodoo Donuts in Portland, Oregon. Get them while they’re fresh!  National Donut Day (or National Doughnut Day) is celebrated on the first Friday of June each year.


Is the correct spelling Donut or Doughnut?

Village Hummus Coming Soon?

Is a place called Village Hummus really coming soon to 1001 Park Place next to Starbucks? Well the banner has been there for months now and there’s a real estate lockbox on the door. The Quiznos decals are still on the glass door, remnants of the former occupant. Quiznos. Who eats at Quiznos these days? Especially when there is a Chipotle accross the street. Though the Quiznos at Park Place closed way back when the Chipotle location was occupied by a Daphnes Greek Cafe. Daphnes Greek Cafe only lists two Bay Area locations on their site now, Daly City and Alameda. So if you have a craving for pitas, hummus and falafel in this area, just head over to Whole Foods.

When I first saw the “Village Hummus” banner flying above the long empty former Quiznos location, I had hopes that it would be a place like Cava Mezze Grill which is setting up new locations in So Cal. Cava Mezze Grill has been quite successful with their fast casual Chipotle style Mediterranean food. I had never heard of a restaurant called Village Hummus in this area but I’m familiar with Hummus Mediterranean Kitchen in downtown San Mateo.

So is Village Hummus coming soon? I won’t say anything because no one ever listens to me anyway. I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record.

Update May 4th 2015:  There is activity at the Village Hummus location in San Mateo. The Quiznos signs are gone and Village Hummus signs have gone up. It looks like they are actually going to open at some point. Looking forward to giving this place a try.

Stone Brewing’s Enjoy By 04.20.15

Stone Brewing of Escondido, California has been busy making extremely fresh limited edition beers that sell out very fast. These “Enjoy By ” beers have a short shelf life and are meant to be enjoyed sooner rather than later. This edition’s enjoy by date  just happens to coincide with another popular date for enjoyment but this one is legal in all 50 states and doesn’t require a prescription. You just have to be over 21 and lucky enough to find a bottle.

Stone Brewing has the next edition of the Enjoy By beer series set to be enjoyed by July 4th.








As the label says:  LIVE FOR THE NOW, the present!420_Beer_Stone_Brewing_IPA_back_label

Baja Fresh evicted and Jersey Mike’s Subs opens in Rivermark Santa Clara

Baja Fresh, the fast casual Mexican style eatery, closed down and is emptied of furniture at the Rivermark Santa Clara location. There is an eviction notice on the door dated June 11, 2013.








No word yet on what will replace Baja Fresh at Rivermark in Santa Clara, perhaps a Chipotle?



Update September 2013:

Yes, a Chipotle is moving in to the old Baja Fresh location at Rivermark. According to the banner “burritoification” is in progress. The old Baja Fresh interior has been completely ripped out and the Chipotle interior is being built from the ground up.

Update November 2013:

Burritofication is nearly complete. Chipotle’s Rivermark location is set for Thursday December 5th. See you there!





Across from the empty shell of Baja Fresh is the brand new Jersey Mike’s Subs.









Jersey Mike’s #43 Chipotle Cheese Steak can be had with steak or chicken, but if there’s chicken on your cheese steak sandwich, it’s not a cheese steak! It comes with grilled onions, peppers and chipotle mayo for a little kick.Jersey_Mikes_Sub_wrapped_Santa_Clara

And one other big change to the Rivermark Village, McDonald’s restaurant #26095 stopped serving soft serve ice cream cones and hot fudge sundaes. Their soft serve machine is gone. Is this a larger trend or just a one off for this particular McDonald’s location?

Rivermark Restaurant Update September 2013:

Chipotle is moving in to the space of the former Baja Fresh location in Rivermark Santa Clara. Interior consruction is ongoing.

And McDonald’s location #26095 is now closed! No reason was given and the only notification was a handwritten sign that just says “CLOSED”.