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Starbucks Food/Pastry

I have only ever purchased coffee there... and have never even considered their food. But while traveling, I noticed everyone was quite knowledgable about which breakfast and lunch items were good. It all looks very fake to me--like the plastic food you see in cafe-windows sometimes.

Fill me in... are any of the overpriced bakery/food items worth purchasing?

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  1. I like their breakfast sandwiches. They're basically glorified McDonald's McMuffins, but the ingredients they use are tasty and at least *seem* more healthy than McDonald's haha.

    I've tried a number of other things, but it's so hit and miss... some of it could have been sitting there for awhile so it's a little stale.

    1 Reply
    1. re: juliejulez

      The baked items are, IMO, horrible. Like something from the grocery store. But I agree the breakfast sandwiches can be damed good.

    2. I don't know about the stuff wrapped in plastic, but the baked items will sometimes have a coffee smell/flavor to them. At rest stops I'll sometimes grab a trio of vanilla scones,or a blueberry, or a slice of lemon pound cake when I want a snack to go with a coffee I don't think that they are worth purchasing if you have other options, but they aren't horrible.

      1. the muffins and scones are around $2.25. The bagels are $1.25. They are not overpriced.

        Same for the morning buns and Mallorca sweet bread, both $1.95.

        The baked goods aren't what you think look plastic, I'm assuming. For two bucks you get some fairly tasty and filling carbs.

        The lunch combos do seem overpriced to me.

        1. It's as good as anything made in a central commissary would be. It serves its purposes, namely if you're in there already for coffee and feel a pang of hunger then you don't have to make another stop elsewhere. However, I've never said "wow, I'm really in the mood for a Starbucks ____!"

          So as to whether it's worth it - not from my perspective. But if you're there and hungry then you won't find it offensive.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ferret

            Last I heard, they were getting all their baked goods made for them by Sara Lee....who does do some upscale frozen goodies. Maybe it as a trial to see how it went, as I see now they may be looking into making them themselves?

          2. I've bought a cookie or 2 on impulse, and they were sufficiently dreary that I'm no longer tempted by them. On the other hand, I've enjoyed many cinnamon scones.

            1. I really like the turkey bacon breakfast sandwich and the spinach feta wrap. I usually don't want sweet things in the morning, and those are savory and filling and relatively healthy (and a fair deal imho at $3 or $3.50).

              The quality of the baked goods varies from store to store depending on the local supplier.

              The packaged sandwiches, fruit and cheese plate, etc. will do in a pinch but I do think those are overpriced for what you get.

              1. My son swears by the lemon pound cake, which, with a latte, is his morning pre-tournament match breakfast.

                1. I like the susage egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. The turkey bacon one is lowfat and not bad either. They used to carry a greek style chicken pasta salad that was good - I used to get it sometimes. I work in an area with few restaurants, so if I didn't bring lunch from home, I'd sometimes pick up the salad and a coffee.

                  1. I find the low/reduced fat baked goods have an overwhelming banana flavor, I assume from the use of mashed bananas in place of oil. Otherwise, the cakes and cookies are no better or worse than baked good at other chain coffee shops.

                    1. That's likely to change next year. Starbucks acquired a small SF Bay Area chain back in June for the purpose of improving their pastry and food.


                      17 Replies
                      1. re: pamf

                        WOWZERRS. That is a big change for a small chain.

                        1. re: GraceW

                          Just read today they also acquired Square Mobile for all those new patries/beverage orders yet to come. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/a...

                          1. re: HillJ

                            No, they invested some cash into Square and Schultz was put on their board. Still in experimental phase, but they in no wise bought the company.

                            1. re: steakman55

                              Read, Starbucks will invest $25 million. Some cash?

                              They just made a 25 million dollar investment in Square.
                              Are you suggesting easy come, easy go, steakman55?

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Yeah, but Square is probably valued at between $4 - 5bn. Pretty amazing for a company most people have never heard of, huh?

                                1. re: FattyDumplin

                                  It's the Twitter track record that made Square so yummy.

                                2. re: HillJ

                                  For Starbucks 25M is chump change. Basically a rounding error.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    A number of pals have worked or work for SB at the Mgt level. 25M is not chump change even for an implusive owner like Howard. SB has lost M's making decisions of one type or another...and the status of long term employment with them in the face of such random buys my pals often say.. hard to support. Let's just say they are willing to lose big $$ rather than take 2nd place at the table. Many lion's roar for less.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      agreed. i think you have to give credit to Howard for being ahead of the curve. The Square tie-in is another example... it's really cool technology that threatens to take over the mobile payments arena and disintermediated a legacy player (Verifone) at SBUX. HS is definitely willing to look forward to the future and make a move that helps define it, rather than go with status quo.

                                      1. re: FattyDumplin

                                        Time will tell. SB makes yearly changes to its lineup out front and behind the counter. Hard to tell what the plan really is. Buying a pastry co. is a simple example of late too. SB has offered 6 approaches to their baked goods menu so far in the US. Are they just poor decision makers? Lousy supertasters? Only happy when they own an idea? Not really the right player for a baked goods business? Afraid of Panera Bread? I have no clue. But they have $$ to throw around.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          Yep. Clearly not every move has been a success. The food offerings being a pretty good example of where I feel they've failed. I find their current pastries pretty unenjoyable, tending to be overly sweet, not having the right texture for each type of pastry.

                                      2. re: HillJ

                                        I'm not talking about working at Starbucks.

                                        But only the cash flow of the company. According to its public financials, in 2011 it has 6.23B in gross income, and net income of 1.25B.

                                        25M is chump change.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          ipse, you're right in that the investment in the technology and shifting to a newcomer to this space, as opposed to the incumbent, is a far bigger risk / potential cost than the $25mm cash.

                                          1. re: FattyDumplin

                                            ips, I only mention the employee perspective because that's where my exposure to the Co. comes from. A willingness to lose 25M here and 25M there doesn't change the history of SB. For whatever reason, SB is willing to lose $. 25M is just the latest announcement. Turn the dial back to the decisions SB has made over 20 years in store #'s, cafe redesigns, music sales, video, international, wine/beer, pastry, tecnology. Those big #'s you're flashing on one side of the spreadsheet sure look sexy. Now show me the spreadsheet with the M's lost on the other. Understood as a willingness to lose M's just to be in the games top spot.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              La Boulange Cafe & Bakery, the San Francisco bake shop known for its French pastries and sandwich menu, was sold for $100 million to Starbucks Coffee Co.

                                              Still chump change, ips?

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                Still chump change, ips?


                          2. The maple-oat scones used to be great, but they pretty much don't carry them anymore. Their other scones are mostly awful. Overmixed dough, resulting in a bready, chewy texture.

                            1. Haven't been a fan of most of the pastries, except for the holiday Cranberry Bliss Bars (altho' my knockoff recipe is much cheaper). They do a nice chicken salad thyme sandwich, altho' it's pricey.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: pine time

                                Can you post your knock off recipe? My Mom loves those things!

                                1. re: cheesymama

                                  Here 'tis. There are various versions on the web, mostly with controversy re: orange zest or not. I've settled on this one:

                                  For cake base:
                                  1 c. butter, soft
                                  1 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
                                  3 large eggs
                                  1 tsp ground ginger
                                  1 tsp vanilla
                                  1/4 tsp salt
                                  1 1/2 c flour
                                  1/4 c minced dried cranberries
                                  1/4 c Lindt or Perugina white chocolate, coarsely chopped
                                  1/4 c minced candied ginger

                                  For frosting:
                                  4 oz cream cheese, soft
                                  1 1/2 c powdered sugar
                                  2 Tbl butter, soft
                                  1 tsp vanilla

                                  For Garnish:
                                  2 Tbl minced dried cranberries
                                  1/3 c white chocolate chips (Guittard or Ghiradelli)--melted

                                  Oven to 350. Lightly butter 9 x 13 pan.
                                  Beat butter and sugar, add eggs, vanilla until fluffy. Sift flour, ginger, salt, add to butter/sugar, beating well. Stir in cranberries, chocolate and ginger. Spread in pan, bake 20-25 min.
                                  Cool. Mix all frosting ingredients, spread thinly over base. Immediately sprinkle dried cranberries. With cake decorating bag or baggie with tiny edge cut off, drizzle melted chocolate over cake.
                                  Cut into bars immediately (once drizzled chocolate hardens, cutting is too messy).
                                  Eat. Smile.

                              2. I love their maple oat scones. Just had one today, actually.

                                1. When I was picking up a raspberry fruited tea I noticed SB already had slices of pumpkin bread in the case so I grabbed 4 for my husband. He loves their pumpkin bread.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I rather like their lemon pound cake, I resisted a slice of it yesterday in fact. The gingerbread is also pretty good, particularly if you get a slice with lots of candied orange peel on the frosting. The reduced fat berry coffeecake or whatever its called is decent also. My husband's favourite is the oatmeal cookie with cranberries and stuff in it, thats pretty much a meal if you combine it with a sugar-free fat-free latte.

                                    As for the other stuff, its not exactly world shattering, but when I'm traveling and I'm unsure of the quality of other options, or am stuck with rest stops, airports and what not I'm pretty happy to see a Starbucks and get one of their fruit and cheese plates etc.

                                    1. re: Ariadanz

                                      Hooked on the Morning Buns. And I'm not the only one; in my local Starbucks they tend to disappear early in the a.m.

                                      1. re: grandpamarian

                                        Do you have them warm the Morning Bun?

                                      2. re: Ariadanz

                                        Ariadanz, the stuff isn't world shattering, true. I can't wait to read/see/try the new pastry/baked goods lineup coming soon.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          eh, if you're really into baked goods, I think you'll be disappointed. Out here in the bay area, Le Boulange has a very strong following and I supposed for a chain bakery, their stuff is pretty good. But compared to a high quality baker in any metropolitan area, I'd say their a significant notch below. I've only had a few things there, but nothing I've tried makes me ever want to go back. The "baguette" I had was dense, leaden, almost stale and lacked the light airy crisp crust coupled with a dense chewy interior that I love in baguettes.

                                          1. re: FattyDumplin

                                            I'm super curious to see if the recipes will be altered in anyway. I've had Le B breads and a handful of baked goods and don't recall anything about them. Not a great sign. But on topic, I'm more curious to see what SB will do with it.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              Probably make it worse for mass distribution / longer shelf life :)

                                    2. Sausage Sandwich - very good, better than McD's, but twice the price
                                      Bacon, Egg & Swiss - very good
                                      Donuts & Apple Fritters - depends upon the location, some are good and fresh others are dreadful, like--->I want my money back dreadful. Ditto the cookies.
                                      Denver metro used to have something called Colorado Crumb Cake in addition to the regular crumb cake. The CO crumb cake was definitely better and had no marzipan.
                                      My SO had the oatmeal and she liked it.

                                      1. The maple scones are my favorite with the orange/cranberry running a close second.

                                        1. My husband, who doesn't like their coffee, loves the reduced fat very berry coffee cake.
                                          I do like their coffee and will eat a breakfast sandwich there when I have an early morning meeting or errand but wish they had ketchup- the Boston area stores don't have any condiments. The bistro boxes are way overpriced which is too bad because I would buy them more often- they aren't a bad snack.