The Hungry Man Eats

Tag Archives: Lunch

Starbucks Ham & New York Cheddar Sandwich

IMG_0337

Once more unto the breach! I have had success with Starbucks sandwich selections before, their the BLT Chicken Salad Sandwich,and their Egg Salad Sandwich, so I decided to sample their Ham and New York Cheddar Sandwich to see if it was worth my time and money.

Whereas the first two sandwiches were salad style sandwiches that would require additional prep work before even reaching the point where the filling would meet the bread, a ham and cheese sandwich requires little more than assembling your ingredients between two slices of bread. This can be an endeavor fraught with difficulty, and a thoughtless distribution of the ingredients could be all the difference between a transcendent mingling of the ingredients in your mouth and the culinary equivalent of having your tongue slapped by a scorned lover. Even matters as simple as the layering of ingredients in your sandwich can make or break your sandwich. I don’t know about you, but when I have a sandwich, I prefer to have my cheese layer on top of my meat layer. It’s just always been my preference, I think it is because I prefer the meat to be the first thing I taste in a bite followed by the cheese as the secondary flavor along with the other ingredients. I remember this one time where I got a sandwich that had the cheese layer on the bottom and the meat layer on top, I was very worried about how my sandwich was possibly ruined. I looked at how difficult it might be to take the sandwich apart and get the meat and cheese layers in their proper sequence, when I suddenly realized my problem. The poor befuddled clerk and given me my sandwich upside down! Oh how I laughed! I turned the sandwich over, wondered how the poor clerk had managed such a silly blunder and enjoyed my sandwich. Note in the picture above the sandwich half on the left is in its proper upright position, but the sandwich half on the right is askew (must have come that way from the sandwich factory).

Well enough of that tomfoolery, how was the Ham and New York Cheddar Sandwich?

They describe it as: “This sandwich brings out the ham in Gotham, the apple mustard from the Big Apple. But the featured attraction here is the New York Cheddar cheese, soft but oh-so-sharp. It’s all a nod to one of the world’s great cities between two tasty slices of cider wheat bread.”

The flowery words stand in great contrast to the pedestrian everydayness of the sandwich. The ham a very basic baked ham that had no smokiness, no honeyed overtones and was a minor flavor contributor to the sandwich that bears this ingredients name. The New York Cheddar cheese only really brought forth its cheddaryness when I tore off a corner of it and sampled it in isolation. The apple mustard was where the flavor was and I was left wanting more of it, it was the flavor highlight. The arugula was good too, the stereotypical pepperiness of it came through and played well with the other ingredients. The wheat bread more than succeeded in doing its job of keeping the sandwiches innards from escaping and making a mess, and was fresh too. The arugula distribution within the sandwich was something that made me laugh, and then sadly chuckle as I rearranged it properly, see the pic below…

Arugula

I paid $5.99 for this sandwich, and was unimpressed. When you have an everyday style sandwich made in mass quantities for a retailer like this, you will get an everyday unexciting sandwich as a result. What you should do is march on over to your nearest grocery store, buy the variety ham that sounds good to you, buy the variety cheddar cheese that also sounds good to you, a mustard of your choice and some fresh lettuce too and a loaf of bread to hold it all and then make a weeks’ worth of sandwiches from the aforementioned ingredients and enjoy a more flavorful and far cheaper experience.

If you are out at Starbucks and find yourself craving a ham and cheese sandwich, do yourself a favor and grab a BLT Chicken Salad Sandwich instead or order one of their breakfast sandwiches with ham as an alternative.

An Upselling Experience at Subway

1003609_72642065

Not too far from the Hungry Man’s workplace is a Subway. It opened almost three years ago and I get over to it once or twice a month. This was a big step forward in my sandwich procurement routine, it was a new addition to the assortment of mom and pop style sandwich places with hot and cold buffets of erratic quality and ethics.

Ethics you say? Well, when you charge for your food on a per pound basis and you choose to slice your cucumber into ½ inch thick slices, you are not coming across as the most ethical of food vendors now are you?

 Normally a trip to Subway is an uneventful affair with blandly polite sandwich assemblers and consistent quality, with surprisingly good bread.

Today was different though, but based on the research I did on the web regarding the issue, I should be surprised it didn’t happen sooner with them. Subway tried to give me a hard and clumsy set of upsells.

Not sure what an upsell is? Well let me give you a quote that is the most infamous upsell: “Would you like to supersize that?”

Upselling, at least in the food service industry, is the dark art of attempting to get you the consumer to spend more by getting more food and drink that you do not necessarily want or need, but often sounds good.

Here are the ways which Subway tried to upsell me today:

  • Extra meat. Somehow, the lady who asked what I wanted somehow misconstrued me saying no while shaking my head in what I thought was a properly negative enough fashion as I assumed she was asking me about whether I wanted my sandwich toasted or not, was actually a hell yes to extra meat. I had to stop her as she was attempting to load it on.
  • Extra cheese. For an extra $1.50 this could be worth it if you love your cheese, but the most you will get is an extra two slices, I said no to this also.
  • A combo, a bigger drink, a cookie, rustproofing my car, a puppy, etc… They sure do pull out all the stops at checkout, now I normally get the combo with the Sunchips and the medium size cup for getting the fresh brewed Fuze ice tea(which is really good tea for fast food) so when they ask if I want a combo, I usually say yes, This one occurs all the time, so I never really considered it an upsell(it is one). Normally this is the only attempt I would receive at an upsell, but there was more to come. I believe the line was, after grabbing my medium size cup: “Would you like a larger cup with your meal, or some cookies or some fruit or anything else?” No, no, no to all…

So, what didn’t they try to upsell me? A foot long, avocado as an add on to the sandwich or asking if I wanted to buy extra sandwiches to take back to my friends/co-workers/loved ones.

Given that I have been going to this Subway for nearly 2 years now and this is the first time I have seen such upselling going on leads me to believe that:

  • They always should have been upselling but weren’t and corporate/the franchise owner gave them a recent tongue lashing, recent because it seemed really awkward for them to do the upsell.
  • The government shutdown is having more of an effect on the chains than I would have expected (I do work really close by to Washington D.C., but had not noticed a drop off in business at other places I grab lunch)
  • Rising costs, their sandwiches are quite a deal for what you get

Anyhow, given that I hate being on the receiving end of an upsell, especially one as cumbersome as they tried to pull off, I may have to steer clear of them for a while as I am not a fan of their approach.

 

Lunch: Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich from Starbucks

IMG_0013

Lunch:

An abbreviation of luncheon, is a midday meal, and is generally smaller than dinner, which is the main meal of the day whenever dinner is eaten.

This is what Wikipedia says, but for a lot of us lunch is also a brief respite from the grind of work five out of seven days a week.

Lots of people make it out to eat, others choose to eat at their desk, either bringing something back or having brought something from home. I prefer to eat at my desk since taking longer for lunch out just prevents you from ending the workday sooner and going home.

Recently, I tried one of the sandwiches from Starbucks for lunch at work. Starbucks? For a sandwich? Well, I have lots of other places I get sandwiches from normally, but I had recently visited a Coinstar machine to convert some change into cash. Now, if you just want cash back, Coinstar takes a cut of your cash returned, 9.8 cents per dollar to be precise. However, Coinstar also gives you the option to convert your coins to a gift card with no fee. One of the gift card options was for Starbucks, which was the choice I made, which brings us back to lunch.

Prepackaged sandwiches are always a dodgy affair, you never know how long ago they were made, or if the quality is any good. They usually cost more than you hope they would, and they are usually tiny things shrouded in their plastic triangular nests. My sandwich from Starbucks came in a box instead, so I knew I had a shot at a good square meal. I chose the Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich which has in it according to Starbucks: “Grilled chicken, bacon, roasted tomato, scallion lemon pepper mayo and butter lettuce on harvest wheat bread.”

I have discovered the hard way that a chilled prepackaged sandwich usually needs to sit out for a little while before you eat it, as the chill takes away from the flavor (Note: This rule does not apply to ice cream sandwiches).

So how was it? The chicken was tender, the flavor was unique, not like any chicken salad I have had before, the bacon flavor came through, the lettuce actually had some crunch and they also did one very important thing: The lettuce was strategically placed between the bread and the chicken salad preventing the bread from getting soggy.

This was my first time eating this sandwich, I think it is somewhat new, as it is something I would have tried in the past if I had seen it before. It cost $5.95 at the location I stopped in at. Would I get it again? Probably, if I was craving a chicken salad sandwich and had not made any of my own. I wouldn’t go too far out of my way to get it though, since for as decent as it was, it was still pre-made and you can probably find a fresh made sandwich closer by depending on where your nearest Starbucks is.

Hungry Man Eats Score: 72/100

Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time


%d bloggers like this: