Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Coarse and Simple – Starbucks

March 9, 2013
Starbucks, Hamilton NJ
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Cherry Wood Ham & Swiss
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ImageAirplane food is never good so when we had to stop at Richard Stockton Service Plaza on the NJ Turnpike, I picked up the Cherry Wood Ham & Swiss Sandwich from Starbucks. Somehow, a simple sandwich with savoury ham and creamy cheese sounded good after thirteen hours on a plane, one hour in line at the airport, and another two on a bus. 

The rye bread was good with the Dijon coarse grain mustard. The lettuce did not add much to the sandwich and the flavours were simple. The ham was good, though, but the cheese lacked a little flavour. I think I would have preferred something sharper. 

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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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Chocolate Times Two – Starbucks

March 8, 2013
Starbucks, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
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チョコレートマカロン (Chocolate Macaron)
マシュマロ&チョコレートクッキー (Marshmallow & Chocolate Cookie)
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ImageAs I walked around in Harajuku, I went in to Starbucks with some friends. The チョコレートマカロン (Chocolate Macaron) had decent flavour was a little hard and stale. It was not a big problem but it was not the most delicate macaron I have had. However, I still admire Starbucks for carrying these little French treats that are now so popular all over the world!Image

Finally, I managed to find マシュマロ&チョコレートクッキー (Marshmallow & Chocolate Cookie) at this particular Starbucks that I had not seen elsewhere. The cookie was a little too crunchy and not gooey enough for me but the cocoa flavour was nice and strong without being outright sweet. I wished the marshmallow flavour were more distinct though.

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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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Tokyo Delights – Starbucks

March 4, 2013
Starbucks, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
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さくらシフォンケーキ (SAKURA Chiffon Cake)
ザッハトルテ (Sachertorte)
さくらシフォンケーキ (SAKURA Chiffon Cake)
キャラメル&ウォールナッツパウンド フード (Caramel & Walnuts Pound)
さくらマカロン (Sakura Macaron)
フィローネ 春野菜&ミートローフ (Filone Spring Vegetables & Meatloaf)
ハニー&カスタードドーナツ (Honey & Custard Doughnut)
マンゴー パッション ティー フラペチーノ (Mango Passion Tea Frappuccino Blended Juice Drink)
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ImageI had been waiting so long to visit a Japanese Starbucks. They have some different drinks and a completely different food menu from that in the US. I was extremely eager to try out the sweet pastries, savoury snacks, and sandwiches. Unfortunately, they had sold out of the SAKURA lattes and frappuccinos, something I was really looking forwards to. However, there were so many other choices to choose from.Image

Sticking with their spring promotion, Casey and I decided first on a slice of さくらシフォンケーキ (SAKURA Chiffon Cake). It was light and aromatic, with the lovely cherry blossom fragrance. The pink was so lovely to look at. The cake itself was airy, light, and slightly sweet. The cream on top was the same, and the little cherry blossom was also good. It was such a delicate dessert!Image

The ザッハトルテ (Sachertorte) was a slight let down after the pink delight of that first dessert. The chocolate shell was crunchy and the chocolate cake inside dense. The cocoa flavour was very strong and rich, and not overly sweetened. However, the cake was just slightly dry and this was just not particularly special.Image

The キャラメル&ウォールナッツパウンド フード (Caramel & Walnuts Pound) was delicious as well, and perfect for celebrating National Pound Cake Day (despite the fact that I was out of the US!). The caramel flavour was light and the walnuts added a wonderful crunch to the otherwise moist yet dense cake. My favourite part was the caramel frosting on top, which was not as sticky or moist as some frostings, more like a fondant layer. It was sweet and very yummy though.Image

The さくらマカロン (Sakura Macaron) was not to be outdone. Delicate and sweet, it also had a distinct cherry blossom fragrance that was just so light. The cream inside was a little denser and sweeter, contrasting the cookies nicely.Image

The フィローネ 春野菜&ミートローフ (Filone Spring Vegetables & Meatloaf) was incredible. The baguette was a little tough, the way I like it. I loved the asparagus, peppers, and other vegetables with the gravy and melted cheese. The meatloaf was thin but provided a richness to the sandwich. The flavour was clearly an Asian take on a western food, something I am familiar with and like very much.Image

The ハニー&カスタードドーナツ (Honey & Custard Doughnut) was not outstanding but still good. The honey made it sweet and the custard inside was dense, egg-y, and quite sweet as well. The doughnut dough was actually made from wheat or grain flour, not just white flour, giving it a fuller taste.Image

To drink, I got the マンゴー パッション ティー フラペチーノ (Mango Passion Tea Frappuccino Blended Juice Drink). It was not very sweet at all, with the aroma of the mango and the passion fruit juice that was slightly bitter and very tangy. It was incredibly refreshing and a better alternative for just cold juice.Image

My first visit at a Japanese Starbucks was just fantastic. The food and drinks were wonderful, not to mention the great service. Despite taking some time to communicate to the baristas what I wanted, they were very patient and helpful. They also had very interesting liquid sugar for people getting regular coffee. Everything was just splendid!

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Vanilla All Spiced Up – Starbucks

ImageFebruary 8, 2013
Starbucks, Philadelphia PA
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Vanilla Spice Latte
Turkey Rustico Panini
Cheesecake Brownie 
Petite Vanilla Bean Scone
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Unfortunately, Starbucks rewards expires sooner or later. Being so busy, I literally left it till the last day to redeem mine but it allowed me to go sit in a cafe for a while and de-stress and unwind. There is nothing more lovely sometimes than smelling coffee on your jacket for the rest of the evening. That aroma is just lovely.

If there was one thing I disliked about the Vanilla Spice Latte, it would be that there was no skinny option, or rather a sugar-free vanilla spice syrup. Besides that, I found it to be so much better than your regular vanilla latte. The spice really brought out the sweet, aromatic vanilla bean flavour since it provided contrast to that mild but definitely present spice. It was quite sweet but very flavourful.Image

The new Turkey Rustico Panini was actually really delicious. The wheat focaccia was toasted nicely and I loved the crunch of the sesame seeds on top. The turkey was sliced thin but had a generous portion. It tasted quite fresh. I loved the wilted baby kale with the sweet onion marmalade. They melted into the smoked Swiss cheese nicely. The Dijon mustard was a bit overpowering compared to the rest of the flavours. The mustard seeds were just a bit on the strong side.Image

Also new was the Cheesecake Brownie. It was literally half cheesecake, half fudge brownie, with some swirled fudge on top. I guess I was just expecting a thin layer of cream cheese topping but instead, I got sweet, creamy, and thick cheesecake. It was actually really good, especially with the fudge. The brownie on the bottom was very dense and the chocolate flavour was very strong. The whole thing was somewhat greasy and very dense, but still very good. I loved the chewiness.Image

The Petite Vanilla Bean Scone owed all its flavours to the vanilla bean glaze. It had that sweet aroma I was looking for. The scone itself was buttery, flaky, and crumbly but lacked much flavour overall.

Starbucks customer service is always so good. I think that is why reason people keep on going back. Whatever you need, they will get it for you. Oh, and did I mention free refills of regular brewed coffee for all registered card holders? 

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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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Cheesy by the Beach – Starbucks

ImageJanuary 4, 2013
Starbucks, Lahaina HI
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Cheese Danish
Gingerbread Biscotti
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What a beautiful beach at Whalers Village! All the lovely, relaxing resorts. I can totally stay here for a couple of weeks and just sit back, relax, and enjoy life! Sip on a cup of iced coffee in the morning with some delicious pastries and voila, there is the perfect start to a vacation day.

The Cheese Danish was the best danish I have had, not just at Starbucks. The sweet and creamy cheese was so delicious even Mom liked it. The pastry dough was flaky yet chewy and not overly greasy. I loved it. That cheese made the treat special, though!Image

The Gingerbread Biscotti was a Christmas special. It was hard and crunchy with a very aromatic ginger flavour. I loved the spice with the sugar frosting. It was simple but still very good. 

You have to know what to order at Starbucks. This particular one at the Marriot’s Maui Ocean Club villa had particularly expensive sandwiches and wraps. I would have tried them if I were staying there for a couple of days, though!

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A Great Breakfast to Kick Start 2013 – Starbucks

January 1, 2013
Starbucks, Honolulu HI
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Croissant Sandwich
Chocolate Croissant
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Happy New Year! This year will be amazing, I promise. Okay, now onto the post. There is literally a Starbucks around every corner in a North American metropolis. Walking from the Ilikai to Waikiki beach, I passed by at least three Starbucks.

I am not sure if this Croissant Sandwich with egg and ham is a special of Hawaii. It is certainly not on the online menu, and I have never seen it elsewhere. However, there is nothing so Hawaiian about it. It is simply their butter croissant with an egg omelet and savoury ham, along with a slice of processed the cheese. The ingredients worked together very well, actually. After being toasted, it was warm and savoury, with the croissant flaky and light.Image

The Chocolate Croissant would have been better had it been toasted as well. The croissant was airy and flaky but could have tasted moister and more buttery had it been warmed. There was not enough chocolate filling in my opinion, and what it did have was not sweet or rich enough. Although, if you prefer a darker chocolate, the filling would have been nice.Image

Two croissants, two flavours, two completely different experiences. I prefer the breakfast sandwich, hands down, because the flavours were much more complex and complete. However, it is difficult to compare two very different items, so let me just say they were both enjoyable on a sunny morning. 

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