As a non-coffee drinker, Iâ€™ve never had a particularly close relationship with Starbucks.Â I know many of you reading this have connected with them in a deep, meaningful way Iâ€™ll never truly understand, like the bond between a man and his dog, or occasionally his wife.Â I admire that, but thereâ€™s no reason for me to pay three dollars for a small hot chocolate when Swiss Miss is free at work.Â (With OR without marshmallows!)Â That being said, I donâ€™t have anything against Starbucks, beyond the vaguely sinister-looking logo.Â Their willingness to keep charging high prices in the midst of a massive recession was ballsy to the point of being almost endearing, and they really know how to tie a Barnes & Noble together.
So when they recently began offering Artisan breakfast sandwiches, I seized on it as a way to join the java junkies and really get the full Starbucks experience.Â There are currently two varieties of sandwiches — I chose Bacon, Egg & Gouda because the soul is what makes it taste good, but those who claim dominion over plants but not yummy, yummy animals have their own option with Veggie, Egg, & Monterey Jack.Â Vegans, sorry to say, are S.O.L.; apparently that’s a demographic Starbucks feels they can do without, at least until they roll out their Lentils, Gravel & Soy sandwich next quarter.Â What makes it “Artisan” is the use of fresh ciabatta bread, which has the dual quality of being fun to say and automatically adding a dollar to the price.
All kidding aside, the bread IS good.Â I would’ve been fine with just a biscuit because that’s the kind of low-brow guy I am, but it smells delicious and manages to be crispy but not hard on the outside and soft on the inside.Â You may rest assured your barista isn’t just slapping some stale wonder bread left over from her kid’s lunch on your plate.Â (Well, maybe yours is.Â Perhaps you should consider tipping more than a buck every third visit, hmm?)Â It’s also offset well by the bacon, which isn’t spilling out every side but still manages to seem pretty plentiful.Â That’s key, because a common lament of food that aspires toward being more gourmet (even just a little) is that they tend to bolster the quality of the ingredients at the expense of quantity, with meat often being the first casualty.Â You’re not going to feel like you’re eating a whole pig, but he’ll know you were there, by God.
The cheese also comes through in a big way, partnering with the bacon to make your mouth salivate even as somewhere the Grim Reaper knocks another three pegs off your “Days ’till first heart attack” tally.Â If any element is underrepresented, it would have to be the egg.Â There’s nothing wrong with it, it just doesn’t pack nearly the smell or the taste of its more aggressive sandwich-mates.Â And you can’t really blame this on Starbucks (okay, maybe the barista), but when I broke it in half, all of the bacon and most of the egg ended up on one side, which is kind of like having a rollicking threesome with Scarlett Johansson and Cloris Leachman — yes, technically it’s still a threesome, but you’re really better off just splitting the difference.
A final word of caution — the pictures make it hard to judge scale, but these are not massive sandwiches.Â The bread is roughly five by five inches, so think of it more as a tasty mini-meal to help you power through a morning of inane coworker babble, rather than something that’s going to enable you to skip lunch.Â (That’s what the schnapps in your lower left desk drawer is for.Â Don’t worry, your boss doesn’t know.Â Yet.)Â If it were a little larger and a little cheaper I’d be able to recommend it even more highly, but as is, it’s still delicious.Â Anyone used to paying Starbucks prices already probably won’t mind, but if you’re strictly a Dunkin’ Donuts kind of person, this is not the largest quantity of food you could get for your money.Â Though from what I understand, pairing it with a 12-ounce coffee will net you a pretty good discount on both, so… yep, hosed again.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich – 350 calories, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 170 milligrams of cholesterol, 840 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 17 grams of protein.)
Item: Starbucks Artisan Bacon, Egg & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich
Price: $3.45 ($3.95 w/ 12 oz. coffee)
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Non-coffee drinkers have a reason to visit Starbucks.Â Enhancing Barnes & Nobles.Â Sandwich options for both conscienceless murderers and hippie wimps.Â Smells as good as it tastes.Â Does not skimp on bacon.Â Hiding booze at work.
Cons: Illuminati logo.Â Vegans shafted again.Â Damn well better be gourmet for what you’re paying.Â Gross threesomes.Â Only a full breakfast if you weigh 110 pounds.