Cool Runnings: An Interview with Treatbot

It’s a hot Thursday in June. You want some ice cream. But dang it, you also want to SING.

 

I’m sure we’ve all been in this predicament before, and the good news is, San Jose’s infamous Treatbot karaoke ice cream truck is the answer—bringing the songs AND the sweetness to delighted San Jose residents for 7 years.

To kick off our new summer series featuring the best of the best in San Jose ice cream, we were lucky enough to catch up with Treatbot owner Christine to get answers to some of the questions that have been chilling in our readers’ and our minds.

 

What led to the birth of the Treatbot?

We started Treatbot in 2010 hoping to have  a “side business” after I had my son. We had paid all our debt off and had quite a bit of savings and money to invest from other sources so it was either buy a house or start a food truck. So we decided to start a food truck. With the economic downturn at the time all our equipment and labor was inexpensive and it was a good time to get our foot in the door as food trucks were up and coming at the time in the Bay Area. Everyone was doing fusion food but no one was doing gourmet dessert, so we decided to go for ice cream sandwiches and then add karaoke onto the truck to give us a niche but also add our personal “flavor” to the truck, because we love karaoke. After all the love we got from social media and fans loving the concept, it was hard to stop the momentum and it became more than a side business and has become our passion and livelihood.

We need the ‘dish’: What’s your most popular flavor of ice cream?

It’s “408” hands down—our caramel ice cream, fudge ripple and crushed oreos. However Eastside Horchata comes in a close second, which is our cinnamon flavored ice cream fashioned after the Mexican rice drink. Closely after that is our Filipino flavors Macapuno (young candied coconut) and Ube (purple yam).

What’s the weirdest flavor you’ve put out there?

Bacon and Cheese, Durian, Banana, with peanut butter and bacon.

Talk a bit about the “karaoke” part of the Treatbot Karaoke Ice Cream Truck. Do you still give people the opportunity to sing? Or are you pretty stationery in San Pedro Market Square now?

At our store at the San Pedro Square Market we have karaoke every Thursday night from 7:30-10:00 pm. We are revamping our karaoke on the truck so that we have it available for the masses more often for public events. It’s a big part of our roots. Being of Filipino descent, karaoke is a huge part of family parties, so it’s a special thing. Add ice cream to that and you have good clean fun!

What’s the strangest song choice someone’s made when singing with Treatbot?

Strangest song….hmmm that’s a tough one. I can’t say, to be honest, because karaoke can be strange and wonderful all in one fell swoop whether you know the song or you don’t. It really depends on the person singing.

What’s a song you WISH people would do?

My personal preference would be some older R&B. A lot of pop gets done, and show tunes, but not enough oldies. That’s my jam and I’d love to hear more….maybe we’ll start doing themed nights so we can hear some of this stuff!

We want an invite to the first theme night if you do! Final question: How do you feel about San Jose, and what makes you passionate to operate here?

What makes us passionate to operate here is that this is our home and we want to make our home awesome to be in. We want to put it “on the map.” There is so much diversity here that breeds our creativity along with the innovation of Silicon Valley. It truly is a special place a diamond in the rough.

To get a scoop of 408, visit Treatbot in San Pedro Public Market, or learn more at https://treatbot.com/.

San Jose – Where Beer and Baseball Met

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It’s opening day and a great time to remember just how well baseball and beer go together.  In 1997 Dan Gordon and Dean Biersch were in dire need of space.  For nearly 2 decades Dan and Dean had been successfully brewing their Gordon Biersch beer out of a small restaurant facility in downtown Palo Alto but the pair was finally ready to hit the big leagues of bottling and distribution.  One problem, brewing and bottling mass quantities of beer takes a massive amount of space, something that was sorely lacking in Palo Alto.  Enter Mr October; Reggie Jackson.  By this point the hall of famer was enjoying retirement and his hobby of collecting classic cars, many of which were housed (along with 81a-MTfWWLL._SY355_an alleged mistress in a top floor penthouse as the tale goes) in a large warehouse facility on East Taylor and 9th just outside of Japantown in San Jose.  Fortunately for Dan and Dean, Reggie had found a new space for his vehicles in Monterey and was vacating the San Jose warehouse.  Gordon and Biersch snapped up the space (presumably without said mistress) and the South Bay’s largest brewery remains there to this day.

Fortunately for Mr October, if he’s missing his San Jose digs Gordon Biersch offers free tours of the brewery and bottling facility Monday through Thursday by appointment.  The tour is a fantastic way to learn more about the colorful history of Gordon Biersch (followers of 16th century German beer purity laws), the brewing process (Gordon Biersch uses San Jose water!), and the business of beer (Gordon Biersch restaurants are not actually owned by the brewery).  Check out the Gordon Biersch Brewery website to learn more and to schedule your group’s tour!