Thursday, October 23, 2014

Shake of the Month - Fuddruckers

Pumpkin Pie Shake

No Carving Required

This month's shake spotlight comes courtesy of Fuddruckers... The Pumpkin Pie Shake, available for a limited time (through fall.) Just about every place has some variety of pumpkin dessert this time of year; but be careful what you wish for. A milkshake without sweetness is a milkshake not worth having. Vanilla ice cream and real pumpkin, topped off with whipped cream and nutmeg. Sounds good in theory; but all I tasted was pumpkin... liquid pumpkin. Not good.

Unfortunately, a poor shake was just part of a surprisingly unpleasant dining experience at normally reliable Fuddruckers. It began with an order taker, who could barely communicate in English. I got the impression he was a manager/owner; but truth be told, it was a pure struggle to understand a word he said. One thing's for sure: They don't sell Donut Holes, despite advertising them on their menu board. Here's a hint: Put tape over it, or cross it off with a Sharpie. Customers hate to hear, "no," even in regards to a doughnut.

1/2 lb. Hamburger with Fudd Fries

Shakes come in two sizes, and I chose the smaller ($2.99, $2.25 as part of a combo) despite the order taker's "best" intentions. He showed me the small, and said, 'Look how small. You want?' Thankfully, I didn't bump up to the larger size: Otherwise, I would have had to toss away even more Pumpkin Pie Shake. I placed an order for a 1/2 lb. Hamburger (cooked MEDIUM) with Wedge Cut Fries. Total with tax? $11.15. Not bad, considering I had a shake... a really small shake.

My shake was ready first, followed by an unusually long delay (almost another 15 minutes.) Turns out they were cooking my burger to WELL-DONE. At first, I thought it was a miscommunication with the aforementioned order taker, but he entered it properly (MEDIUM) on the receipt. Why ask me, if you're gonna cook it the way you want to? The fries were hot... practically scalding, and begged for seasoning (salt) despite the clear appearance of pepper. The meat was unusually bland as well. Keep in mind: Fuddruckers used to be rated as high as #3 on our Top 5 Burgers list. I suppose there's a first time for everything. It's a shame too, since a half-pound burger (with unlimited fixings) still runs you less than six bucks.

Back to the shake, which I can best describe as gross. No amount of whipped cream and cherries can tame this mess. Zero sweetness. Zero. Also, no nutmeg: Do cherries and pumpkin match? The shake couldn't have been more than 8 ounces (and I'm being generous.) It does come with one of the widest straws in the DMV; but with a bad shake, who cares? In case you're curious, I rather like love pumpkin flavor, but not in liquid form. At the very least, it should be served as thick as possible... not runny. You couldn't pay me to finish it. Once again, not good.

One final indignity. From the moment I sat down, I had to bear witness to a cleaning guy who wedged himself between occupied tables to empty/replace trash bags, etc. with seemingly no concern over how close he was to customers, eating/trying to eat their food. This same employee circled the dining area repeatedly (literally over and over again) striking up several conversations with fellow employees at a high volume (just him, not the other employees.) I'm being picky, but Fudds is one of my favorite places to enjoy a quick burger and fries: I expect (and have always received) better. Until last night, mind you. What a pity. As for the shake itself, I have no choice but to judge it accordingly.

Grade: F (with a promise to come back again, for a regular flavor and a larger size.)