The Hungry Man Eats

Tag Archives: Starbucks

Coffee that Tastes Like Beer: Brilliant or Revolting?

Rumple_Minze
I love coffee and I also love beer, but today we are going to talk about coffee. Specifically because Starbucks has decided to test out a new beverage called the Dark Barrel Latte. According to a Starbucks spokesperson, the Dark Barrel Latte is made with espresso, topped with whipped cream, a dark caramel drizzle and comes blended with a “chocolaty stout flavored sauce”. Some people who have had the beverage say that the flavor is rather reminiscent of a dark beer much like a Guinness.
Regrettably at this point in time, the beverage is only being tested select stores in Ohio and Florida, so the Hungry Man will not have a chance to give the experiment a try.

I have had some interesting flavors of coffee in the past. I recall a series of breakfast themed coffees that had flavors that included maple syrup, French toast and yes, bacon. The all tasted good as would be expected for the first two flavors and even the bacon flavored coffee tasted pretty decent, but is there anything bacon flavored that doesn’t taste good? I also remember sampling a spicy coffee that was branded as a Tabasco flavored coffee. As I like both spicy things and coffee, this beverage should have been a grand slam, but fiery coffee at a fiery temperature just did not work for me, but I could also see how it may well be somebody’s favorite drink ever, a love/hate king of thing if there ever was one.

But back to our coffee that is reminiscent of beer. Have you ever had a bit too much to drink? Of course you probably have, you are a member of the human race! Well what is better the next morning than a nice hot cup of coffee brewed extra strong, other than an icepack for the head? But let’s say after a night of drinking a goodly quantity of beer that you decide to try out a Dark Barrel Latte? This may end poorly… I recall back in my college years when I was out at a bar with some friends, we went to a restaurant called Tia’s Tex-Mex that used to be somewhat widespread, but now apparently has only one location left on Florida. One of the things that they were known for was their happy hour frozen margarita, all day on Mondays and Tuesdays back in the day. So we partook in some frozen margaritas, and as we enjoyed ourselves more and judgment began to go out the window. We decided to try some other stuff and have some shots. So I ask you dear reader, what is the absolutely worst possible choice and disgustingly incongruent thing to have after multiple frozen margaritas?

Rumple Minze shots…

So the next hung over morning, I head to the bathroom and start to brush my teeth, as soon as I taste the peppermint flavored toothpaste I nearly hurled in the sink, why? For those of you not in the know, Rumple Minze is a strong peppermint flavored German schnapps. The absolutely last thing I needed to be doing after the night before was tasting more peppermint, I swear it wasn’t until the morning after that morning that I felt like I no longer had a peppermint aftertaste in my mouth.

So I ask again, how well do you think that Dark Barrel Latte would taste after a few Guinness’s the night before? Perhaps somebody with a younger, stronger stomach will say, “Just fine Hungry Man, just fine…”

Starbucks Ham & New York Cheddar Sandwich

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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.

The Hungry Man Eats Turns 1 This Week, Happy Birthday!

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On April 24th , The Hungry Man Eats will be a year old! Break out the bubbly and a cake!

It has been an interesting first year of writing and posting things, with a few surprises along the way.

So let’s do one of those ever so popular reviews of the year that was taking a look at some of the highlights and lowlights, starting from the beginning:

  • Although my first post was April 24th it was just an introduction with a promise of more exciting things to come, my first actual post about food was on April 29th when I talked all about the dinner I had at Medieval Times.
  • It didn’t take too long for things to get entertaining, on May 27th I posted my opinion on the Starbucks Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich, and that got people’s attention, it only took a few weeks for it to become my most popular post at that point in time.
  • On May 27th, I posted an awesome recipe for homemade hamburgers, grilling season is rapidly approaching and you should check it out even now…
  • On June 26th, I talked about blue cheese and have been told by people that it was one of my more entertaining posts as it had more of my writing voice come through, check it out for a chuckle or two.
  • On July 2nd, I delighted the internet when I posted my recipe for my version of the Starbucks Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich. I look at what draws people to my site and my first post about the chicken salad sandwich was the main draw at that point, but it offered little more than a review of the sandwich. I decided that perhaps people would be even more interested in a recipe that attempts to duplicate the Starbucks version. As it turns out, around 60% of the people who have visited my site since May 27th have been drawn to it because of my posts about the Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich. That’s the highlight and lowlight in one, a highlight because they are the most popular posts by far, but a bit of a lowlight as it appears that if it wasn’t for a Starbucks sandwich I wouldn’t have very many visitors…
  • On September 25th, I tried to catch lightning in a bottle again and wrote about a different Starbucks sandwich, their egg salad sandwich. On the popularity scale: chicken salad>>>>>egg salad.
  • Although it’s not a post, around this time I discovered the funniest search engine search that led somebody to my site even to the present: “thoughts while eating steak”
  • On October 9th I had my best title for a post: “I’ve Been Looking so Long at These Pictures of Food That I Almost Believe That They’re Real” If you can tell me why this title is as amusing as it is, then props to you, you are from my generation.
  • Around Thanksgiving I created another site at http://thehungrymaneats.wordpress.com/ The reason for doing so is boring and complicated and not worth going into here, but I have even more stuff I’ve written about over there.
  • Shortly after Christmas I wrote about Christmas Sticky Buns, AKA Monkey Bread and posted another delicious recipe.
  • On February 9th I presented my thoughts on Martinis, what made this one interesting was that I had nearly three Martinis, and then sat down to write the post. For a 988 word post with that much booze in me it went surprisingly well, the most egregious error that I made among the errors I needed to correct later was calling Glenfidditch a gin 🙁

So here we are in the present again, soon I will write about what I hope to do over the next year on this and my other site, until then, happy eating!

Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwich from Starbucks

An eggcelent sandwich!

What is the second best part of the workday? Lunch!

The best part is going home at the end of the day of course…

I have had success in the past with the sandwiches from Starbucks and a friend told me to give their egg salad sandwich a try. Now egg salad is one of those foods, at least for me that I really have to be craving in order to enjoy, so it took me a while to get around to grabbing one to try.

Egg salad has been one of those foods that I always remember liking, my mom would make it somewhat often, especially in the spring and summer and almost always when one or the other of my sets of grandparents would come to visit, it was usually served for the lunch on the first full day they would be in town. What made it distinctive was the way my mom would give the salad its kick and a bit of crunch were the pickles she would add. She would use the pickles out of the Vlasic Hot & Spicy Garden Mix Pickles. Apparently they are no longer making these pickles, but I remember that the only cauliflower I would ever eat for years was the cauliflower they would add to this mix. It made for a tangy slightly spicy egg salad that was always a family favorite.

The Starbucks egg salad sandwich does not quite meet the pinnacle of egg salad described above but it is the best pre-made egg salad I have come across in a very long time.

They describe it as: “This traditional lunchtime favorite is dressed with chives and arugula for a truly outstanding sandwich. At once creamy, tangy and bright, this superb egg salad, served on cider wheat bread, makes a deliciously substantial meal.”

I disagree with the tangy part, it was not bland so much as mellow, rich and mellow. Bright? Well, it does present well as seen above. It was a pleasing consistency, not runny at all like some pre-made egg salads, and actually quite thick, none of it escaped from the sandwich as egg salad tends to do.

The bread and lettuce combo was a winner just like it was in the BLT Chicken Salad Sandwich of theirs I tried a few months ago.

I paid $5.99 for this sandwich, which is a bit pricy for my blood for a mere egg salad sandwich, but it is very good quality. Not going to try to make a recipe based off of this one, it’s just not interesting enough and you don’t have to look to hard to find other egg salad recipes out there on the web.

If you are out there in the world and find yourself craving a pre-made egg salad sandwich, by all means, grab the one from Starbucks.

Iced Coffee: A Summertime Caffeine Fix

Ice Coffee

Iced Coffee: Photo by Jenny Nelson

 

It’s summertime and nothing sounds better then grabbing a nice hot mug of coffee. Nothing beats inhaling the steam that fogs your glasses and carries the wonderful fragrance up your nose. Sipping the superheated brew brings a warmth to your body and soul.

Wait, you mean it’s hot out and just reading these words is making you sweat? Sure, hot coffee is a great idea right now if you are living in Hobart, Tasmania where it was a cool 4 degrees Celsius this morning or perhaps you are an office drone where they keep it at a temperature more suitable for chilling sides of beef and it is causing your fingers to turn blue.

There are still a few weeks left in the summer and icy caffeinated beverages are much desired. Cola over ice you say? No, we are looking for something classier this time: Iced Coffee.

For coffee lovers, iced coffee is a tough sell, hot coffee is great, but room temperature coffee is gross and cold coffee is an acquired taste. Iced coffee seems like it would be really easy to make, but the most obvious preparation will yield a mediocre result. Simply brewing a pot of coffee, waiting for it to cool and then pouring it over ice meets the definition of iced coffee, but I bet it will taste weak and watered down to you.

There are several easy ways to improve your iced coffee:

Don’t just take my advice though, I’m not the only one with iced coffee on my mind these days:

Visit Amazon’s Buyer’s Guide – Single-Serve Brewing

Lunch: Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich from Starbucks

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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


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