Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Cafe at its Best – Panera Bread

March 30, 2013
Panera Bread, New York NY
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Mediterranean Egg White on Ciabatta Signature Breakfast Sandwich
Easter Egg Cookie
Cobblestone
Peach Pecan Crunch Muffin
Bear Claw
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ImageJust like Au Bon Pain, I love the atmosphere at Panera Bread. Freshly baked pastries and goodies, made-to-order sandwiches with fresh ingredients, and a warm, cozy feel in a very relaxing cafe atmosphere. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I would always be happy eating here.

The Mediterranean Egg White on Ciabatta Signature Breakfast Sandwich was good, with lots of egg whites, spinach, flavourful roasted tomatoes, Vermont white cheddar, and basil pesto on a toasty ciabatta bun. Despite the quality, this was overpriced. The sandwich was too small for almost $5. Image

The Easter Egg Cookie was very generic but also very pretty with its colourful sugar icing and chocolate candies. The shortbread cookie itself was crumbly and buttery. This was one celebratory cookie!Image

The Cobblestone is a pastry made with cinnamon raisin dough, apples, streusel, and icing drizzle. It was such a splendid treat. I love raisins, apples, and spices together. Add to that streusel and icing and voila, the perfect, tastiest treat you can find. The dough could have been a little more moist but apart from that, it was delicious.Image

The Peach Pecan Crunch Muffin was okay. The muffin was not too sweet and was moist and dense. I liked the large pieces of peach inside, making it juicier. I wished there were pecans inside as well as on top, though.Image

The Bear Claw had that artificial almond taste but it was not overwhelming to the point that it becomes revolting. The pastry was flaky and the almond slices on top were nice. There could have been more filling so that you get it in every bite.

I wish there was a Panera on campus or even in center city. It is on the more expensive side but sometimes, the atmosphere, quality, and just overall feel of the place is worth it. 

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Specials, Specials, Specials – Dunkin’ Donuts

ImageMarch 13, 2013
Dunkin’ Donuts, Philadelphia PA
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Irish Creme Iced Coffee
Irish Creme Donut
Angus Steak & Egg Breakfast Sandwich
Angus Steak & Egg Wake-up Wrap
Big n’ Toasted
Hash Browns

Lucky Mint Donut
Cinnamon Cake Donut
Apple Cheese Danish
Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie
Chocolate Chip Muffin
Corn Muffin
Caramel Latte Lite
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ImageWith a bunch of coupons in my possession, St. Patrick’s Day promotions, and featured steak menu items, I basically had a day of just Dunkin’ Donuts food. Well, it was nice to share sweets with a friend, but still, the sandwiches were filling. However, I love breakfast all day long so it was no problem. Image

The Irish Creme Iced Coffee, which I had with some skim milk, was creamy and sweet. I loved the traditional Irish creme flavour that was quite prominent, especially near the bottom of the cup. Image

The Irish Creme Donut was filled with a flavoured cream that was just as sweet and just as good. It looked very plain and unappetizing though so I think a warmer brown or a different colour altogether would have been nice. Image

The Angus Steak & Egg Breakfast Sandwich that I got on a plain bagel – just like their advertisements – was just okay. The bagel was nicely toasted and I liked the simple cheese and freshly fried egg. However, the steak was a little dry. Image

The Angus Steak & Egg Wake-up Wrap was the same, with a good toasty tortilla, gooey melted  cheese, half an egg patty, and dry steak. I really wanted some juicy meat so this was disappointing. 

The Big n’ Toasted was pretty good. The toast was nicely browned and thick enough. I liked the egg and cheese combination with the bacon. The bacon could have been a little crispier, I thought, and it was not as big as I had expected it to be, especially since the bread got moist again after being in the bag. Image

The Hash Browns were actually not bad, just too greasy. They were just the right size and crispy on the outside while the inside was mushy. It had decent seasoning, too. Image

The Lucky Mint Donut was certainly prettier than the Irish Creme one despite having the same, delicious filling. It was green and thus perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.Image

The Cinnamon Cake Donut was a little dry and a little bland on the inside. However, I did like the sweet cinnamon sugar, though it was messy to eat. 

The Apple Cheese Danish was nice and flaky, with some chew and density to the pastry. I liked the apple filling but could have used more sweet cream cheese inside to amp up the sweetness of the glaze and icing drizzle a bit.Image

The Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie was not that good. I prefer an ooey, gooey, and very soft cookie but this was only slightly soft and moist in the center. The edges were a little crunchy hard for me although the different kinds of chocolate was nice. Image

ImageThe Chocolate Chip Muffin had a lot of chocolate chips inside but the batter was a little dry, especially on the edge. I did like the sugar topping on top though to give it more sweetness.Image

The Corn Muffin was like a cornbread and moist and crumbly at the same time. It was not overly sweet but you can definitely get that corn aroma coming through.

Finally, the Caramel Latte Lite had a faint but nice caramel flavour. It was a decent latte that I probably would not have gotten had it been for the coupon. I just do not think their espresso is as good as those at other places.Image

There are so many more options to choose from at the store in 30th Street Station. The one on campus is just a little limited. Both seem rather clean and accommodating though. So many coupons that it was all for great value. 

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Sayonara, Shinjuku – Starbucks

March 9, 2013
Starbucks, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
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ダーク モカ チップ フラペチーノ (Dark Mocha Chip Frappuccino Blended Coffee)
ほうれん草とハムのキッシュ (Spinach & Ham Quiche)
メイプルクリームの全粒粉スコーン (Maple Cream & Whole Grain Scone)
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ImageThere were still so many things to try at Starbucks and I knew I could not get to all of them. So, I had to be selective for my final breakfast in Tokyo.

The ダーク モカ チップ フラペチーノ (Dark Mocha Chip Frappuccino Blended Coffee) was incredibly good. It had the sweetness of the chocolate in the mocha sauce but it was also made from dark chocolate, giving it a slightly bitter but richer taste to it. The ice was blended finely and the drink was not overly sweet. The whip cream was quite watery and not as greasy as back in the US. I really liked that. It was a finely made drink.Image

The ほうれん草とハムのキッシュ (Spinach & Ham Quiche) was also delicious. The pastry was flaky and buttery, although it was a bit hard to cut into with a fork. The egg and spinach filling was so good that I wished there were more of it. The ham was savoury and I enjoyed the vegetable stems inside. However, I also got large pieces of potatoes under the ham, which just made it creamy but slightly bland.Image

The メイプルクリームの全粒粉スコーン (Maple Cream & Whole Grain Scone) was better than I expected. It was just whole grain scone with a little bit of maple cream spread into the middle. I wanted more of the sweet cream, but for what was there, the maple aroma was strong. The whole grain scone itself was crumbly but slightly dry. However, it was sweet and for that, I loved it.Image

My last visit to a Japan Starbucks for at least quite a while was definitely a good one. Starbucks service is already great to begin with. Add to that a country that prides itself on the respectful culture, you have got a café with perhaps the best service around.

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Sandwiches and Sweets – Starbucks

March 8, 2013
Starbucks, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
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ラントブロート クロックマダム (Landbrot Croque-madame)
イタリアンソーセージとチーズのタルティーヌ (Italian Sausage & Cheese Tartine)
パンプキンタルト (Pumpkin Tart)
クッキー&クリームチーズケーキ (Cookie & Cream Cheese Cake)
チェリー&カスタードマフィン (Cherry & Custard Muffin)
キャラメルピーカンナッツロール (Caramel & Pecan Nut Roll)
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ImageDoesn’t matter where you are, you can be sure Starbucks will be crowded in the morning. Their food selections are certainly getting better and the ones in Japan have way too many interesting choices that doesn’t matter how often I go, I still could not try all of them. So, I had to be selective. At least sharing with friends gave me more opportunities to taste all this delicious food!

The sandwich, ラントブロート クロックマダム (Landbrot Croque-madame), was so tasty! A pressed panini, it had chicken, melted gooey mozzarella cheese, and an almost-runny egg. I really enjoyed the savoury combination. The cheese had great flavour and was not bland. The bread had a nice crisp exterior and soft on the inside. It was a great breakfast sandwich!Image

The イタリアンソーセージとチーズのタルティーヌ (Italian Sausage & Cheese Tartine) also had great flavour. I really loved the creamy white sauce that covered the sausage, potatoes, mushrooms, and cauliflower. The bread was a bit too crisp and hard for my liking and I was never a fan of potatoes. However, the other ingredients were all delicious.Image

The パンプキンタルト (Pumpkin Tart) was very good. It had a good pumpkin custard texture and the crust was crumbly but not too dry. Inside was cubes of kabocha, the Asian version of winter squash that is sometimes translated as pumpkin. The tart was not at all very sweet but rather had the hearty taste of the squash. The pepitas, whipped cream, and glaze added nice touches.Image

The クッキー&クリームチーズケーキ (Cookie & Cream Cheese Cake) was not as great as I thought it would be. It was a regular, albeit a very good and creamy, cheesecake with chocolate cookie swirled in. There was a chocolate cookie crust and it was topped with chunks of very crumbly chocolate cookies. It was not too sweet despite being all chocolate and cheesecake but I guess that’s the good thing about Asian desserts.Image

The チェリー&カスタードマフィン (Cherry & Custard Muffin) was actually decent. The inside was moist, dense, yet soft. I loved the large, semi-dried cherries that were very sweet. The custard could have been more custard-like. It was a little dry and there did not seem to be enough.

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The キャラメルピーカンナッツロール (Caramel & Pecan Nut Roll) was delicious and sweet. Finally, something sweet enough! Rather, it was where there was caramel drizzle that was sweet – and sticky. The pecans were good and crunchy. The roll was a little dry and the parts without caramel was not as good. With all the ingredients together, though, it was delicious.

So many choices, so many goodies! And all of this is only one country. Imagine the collection of Starbucks treats from all around the world. Now that would be a feast!

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On the Need for Paninis: Part XV – Milk & Honey Market

February 23, 2013
Milk & Honey Market, Philadelphia PA
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Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookie
Bourbon Pecan Bar
Banana Bread
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ImageThe Milk & Honey Market is a good walk off campus, but it was National Banana Bread Day so I decided to check them out. The store was small and sold various, good quality cheeses, deli meats, and other gourmet foods. I love the atmosphere of a quaint little neighborhood store and also decided to have dinner there.

The Caprese Panini had very fresh Claudio’s mozzarella. It was light, slightly chewy, and very good with the tomatoes. However, I found this panini to be lacking in basil pesto. It was very fresh, house-made pesto, but there was not enough of the oily aroma.Image

The German Chocolate Cake looked scrumptious and tasted even better. The chocolate cake was moist yet dense, and not too sweet. I loved the frosting, though, which had syrup, I think, pecans, and shredded coconut. That part was certainly very sweet and sticky – I absolutely loved it.

ImageThe Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookie was a little dry and crunchy. I prefer soft, chewy cookies. However, it was sweet and did not lack any flavours of a regular cookie. It was not very buttery or oily, which I did appreciate.Image

The Bourbon Pecan Bar was also delicious. I could not taste much bourbon but the pecans in the sticky, syrup-based bar was crunchy and sweet. The crust on the bottom was buttery and not sweet, so the bar was still acceptable for most people. I loved the sweetness a lot and am sure the bourbon helped with that.Image

Finally, the Banana Bread had good flavour and was not overly oily or sweet. However, it was a little dry, especially the sides and the bottom. I did like the crunch of the walnuts inside.

The Milk & Honey Market offered so many small treats that all looked incredible. Their prices are decent so I am sure I will be back soon to try some cookie sandwiches, smoothies, and other delicious goods in this neighborhood gem.

Milk & Honey Market on Urbanspoon

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Little Blue Devils – Starbucks

ImageJanuary 8, 2013
Starbucks, Minneapolis MN
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Blueberry Streusel Muffin
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Having had that Blueberry Bar earlier, I was suddenly craving blueberries. Sweet, dear blueberries are my favourite berries, hands down. So, when I got to Minneapolis and had a long while before my connecting flight, I stopped by Starbucks again.

The Blueberry Streusel Muffin was so delicious. It was moist, dense, slightly buttery, and just sweet with a lovely blueberry aroma. There were not as many blueberries as I would have liked, but the muffin itself was just exceptional.

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Fruity and Healthy – Starbucks

ImageJanuary 8, 2013
Starbucks, Richmond BC
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Cranberry Omega Loaf
Blueberry Bar
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Upon taking a peek at the food display case of the airport Starbucks, I was surprised to find the Cranberry Omega Loaf, something I have never seen elsewhere. It was full of different grains and cranberries but was not sweet at all. It was rather moist and like a pound cake but a lot lighter and refreshing. This is certainly the cake for the health conscious. Image

The Blueberry Bar was very good. It was sweet, which I loved, but not purely sugary. The crumbs were sugary and buttery, and that was great. However, the blueberry preserve filling was sweetened and full of juicy plump blueberries. Those little devils are the best. 

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Steak at Dawn – McDonald’s

ImageJanuary 8, 2013
McDonald’s, Richmond BC
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Steak N’ Egg Bagel
Chocolate Raspberry Muffin
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So much time spent at the airport means too much airport food. Therefore, I needed a decent breakfast sandwich that morning – not from the airport – so Mom drove me to McDonald’s before I took off.Image

The Steak N’ Egg Bagel is a limited time offer and will soon be gone. I made sure to try it before I miss my chance as steak, onions, and sauce sounds delicious with eggs and a bagel. The bagel itself was chewy and dense. The folded eggs were decent but went well with the steak sauce. The sautéed onions were a bit greasy for me but otherwise good. The steak was tender and juicy enough for a fast food place like McDonald’s. I think this was definitely a good idea, especially for those preferring more meaty substance in their breakfast sandwich.Image

I never knew they offered the Chocolate Raspberry Muffin until I checked the nutrition information online. I assume that this was released along with the Chocolate Raspberry Pie. The muffin was moist and fresh. It was light in color but had a decent chocolate taste. The raspberries were embedded throughout but I found it lacked the berry tartness in general. It was just a really light muffin, not greasy or overly sweet.

I have to say, sitting in the airport, I was excited to eat McDonald’s for breakfast. Looking at other options there, the people were paying a lot for something that was at best as good as my meal from McDonald’s. Despite not being able to take liquids past security, I always keep in mind that food is allowed!

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My First Oatcake – Starbucks

December 31, 2012
Starbucks, Honolulu HI
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Starbucks Hawaii Oat Cake
Zucchini Walnut Muffin
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12-12-31 - Starbucks Hawaii Oatcake - Starbucks

Before heading for another round of frozen yogurt after shopping while Dad stayed back at the hotel to do some work, Mom and I dropped by Starbucks to see if there was any specials. There was, and I got them, as well as a Hawaii gift card!

The Starbucks Hawaii Oat Cake was scrumptious. It was dense and filled with lots of oats and berries. It was like a lighter, oat-ier version of the traditional Chinese pastry called tanghuoshao (糖火烧). It was dense and rather old-school. It was not visually appealing in any sense but very tasty, with great ingredients hastily assembled and baked. My first oatcake and it was good.12-12-31 - Zucchini Walnut Muffin - Starbucks

The Zucchini Walnut Muffin, though not a Hawaiian special, was hard to find in the Starbucks in Washington and Philadelphia. I have never seen it anywhere although it was always on the online menu. It was a very light, non-sweet muffin, thanks to the zucchini. It had a pale olive green tone that was not exactly appetizing but tasted fresh and light. The walnuts added a nice crunch.

Finally, Mom appeared to think the muffin was okay. Thanks, Starbucks. It is always great to find some regional specialties; in North America, there are only so many special options to choose from.

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A Fruity Cafe – Starbucks

December 28, 2012
Starbucks, Richmond BC
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Holiday Turkey Sandwich
Raisin Bran Muffin
Lemon Poppyseed Loaf
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ImageSince Tim Hortons was mostly for snacks and treats, I went to Starbucks to grab a sandwich as my lunch, conveniently using my free reward.

The Holiday Turkey Sandwich was actually different from the Grandma’s Turkey Sandwich you can find in the States. This one was sliced turkey breast, stuffing, reduced-fat dressing, lettuce, and cranberry sauce on rosemary focaccia. The turkey was fresh and light and the stuffing well seasoned. I love the mushy texture of stuffing. The cranberry sauce was served on the side and it tasted very tart and sweet. The focaccia was the most disappointing. It does not hold up to refrigeration very well and the rosemary aroma was almost non-existent. The texture of the bread was dry and crumbly, not that great at all, despite the good-tasting ingredients inside.Image

The Raisin Bran Muffin was surprisingly unsweetened. The texture was rough from the bran and yet, it was still moist, slightly airy, but also slightly dense, like a muffin should be. It could have been sweeter but the way it tasted really helped the juicy, sweet raisins to stand out.

ImageThe Lemon Poppyseed Loaf had always been one of my favourites. It is quite refreshing from the tartness of the lemon. The poppyseeds do not have much flavour but I love the little crunchy devils that want to get in between your teeth. The sugar glaze made it slightly sweeter but not by much.

Starbucks need to figure out how to not rely on the fridge to keep their foods fresh. I would rather not have my cakes, sandwiches, and other goodies at colder-than-room-temperature levels. 

Starbucks (Richmond Centre) on Urbanspoon

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