Friday, April 24, 2015

Starbucks Sausage and Cheddar Sandwich

Starbucks on Urbanspoon Dropped in today and found the usual friendly staff here. Sometimes Starbucks locations seem to have new staff all the time, but there are familiar faces here and I've been going maybe once a month for over a year.

Watch out for the 8 AM coffee line-up that often goes out the door. Come maybe 10 minutes earlier to escape that madness that can continue past 8:30 AM. If you are looking for a place to sit, don't let that line-up scare you off because most people are getting their coffees to go.

Today I had a coupon to try their sandwiches ($4 for sandwich plus Grande coffee), which I wouldn't have normally done. On a whim, I asked for their "least ordered" sandwich, and they were honestly at a loss about what to suggests since apparently everything gets ordered. In the end, I was suggested the Sausage and Cheddar.

Sausage and Cheddar savory breakfast sandwich. Southern-style sausage patty and egg topped with melted aged Cheddar cheese on a perfectly toasted English muffin.

  • There is nothing wrong with the individual components of this item except the muffin itself: It was limp.
    • It wasn't in the paper bag for long enough that steam should have softened it IF it had been toasted.
    • At the same time it didn't cool quickly enough to make me suspect it had been microwaved.
  • I should have watched them prep it instead of fooling around with my coffee. However, bottom line is it doesn't feel as fresh as it could be. You can probably get a more decent breakfast item elsewhere.
  • Without the coupon, the price (including a Grande coffee) would have been over $6 after tax.
Either pass on the breakfast sandwiches or try something other than sausage and cheddar.

Peckinpah the Paleo/Atkins choice/

Peckinpah on Urbanspoon Where do Atkins / Paleo meat-eaters go for straight-meat without sugar carbs from tasty sauce? Well, there's Peckinpah.

To be honest I'm still not a fan of Peckinpah's particular BBQ style, but pounds for price they are still good, and when my no-carb friend wanted meat-meat-meat and we were both still stinging from Wildebeest, Peckinpah just naturally seemed to suggest itself.
OK, not really -- the front runners for me were Hog Shack (but Burnt Ends seemed to have fallen off the menu and they didn't respond to my e-mail about it), Memphis Blues (same problem as Hog Shack -- sweet BBQ sauces all over the meat), then Peckinpah in third place.

The menu is different since the last time I was there. No more sausage in The Divorce, for example. And no looks-like-swamp-weed Southern Greens as a choice of sides anymore.

The Divorce ($59.95, serves 3-6) One half serving of Pulled Pork, Pork Side Ribs (3), Beef Brisket, Chopped Beef, and Chicken Wings (3?), plus four sides and two pieces of cornbread.
  • The amount of meat looks sort of disappointing and geared toward sharing with 3 people. No way this serves 6 a satisfactory amount of meat.
  • If you choose the "correct" sides (read: heavy on carbs), you can get a medium-to-light meat but filling meal.
  • Still not really sold on this style of BBQ, especially as some of the items (like the chicken and brisket) were dry and on the tough side. Ribs and pulled stuff were fine though.
    •  Definitely use their vinegar sauce to try to soften any tougher cuts.
  • Honestly my favourite part of this was the "muffin" of cornbread.
    • Slight jalapeño (?) bite to it jazzes this up and saves it from the same monotony / heaviness as hush puppies.
Side: Brunswick Stew - Traditional North Carolina stew using our smoked meats (brisket, pulled pork, and smoked chicken) with kernal corn and lima beans in a house-made chicken & tomato stock.
  • Despite being called a "stew" it looked like assorted meat in soup.
  • If you are not careful and just scoop out the meat, you will end up with a savoury soup, which you could possibly use as a dip for hushpuppies or cornbread.
Side: Fries
  • Decent quantity and quality but nothing special here.
Side: Hush Puppies
  • Three ping-pong ball sized balls.
  • Sweet sauce provided looks viscous but is surprisingly runny. Watch out.
Side: Side Green Salad
  • It's a "real salad" with greens topped with a slab of tomato and a sprinkle of cranberries.
  • Everything else could end up giving you a tired, heavy feeling, so you might want to consider choosing this for at least one of your sides no matter what.
Baked Mac'n Cheese ($12.95) Made with applewood smoked cheddar morney.
  • Felt overpriced for the quantity (less than a $9 order of Mean Poutine).
  • Special cheese or not, it tasted only weakly of cheese flavour.
Deep Fried Oreos ($5.95 for four) Vanilla ice cream
  • Daily special (?). Not on the regular menu.
  • Waste of time. Deep frying the oreos left you with what looked like a soggy half (?) oreo. Also, the thick batter meant you are competing with that to actually taste your oreo. Basically, the process doesn't really enhance the oreo at all.
    • If you are desperate for a deep fried dessert, try Deep Fried Mars Bars instead.
  • Generous amount of chewy batter. Thankfully you have the rather decent ice cream to accompany it.
Reservations were not allowed on the Thursday we went, but I was told that we could probably do a walk-in around 7PM. The place felt quite quiet when we sat at around 7:40 PM, despite the Canucks / Flames game on TV (or maybe because it was game night). Service way better and friendlier than the last time I was there.

After The Divorce, Mac 'n Cheese, Deep Fried Oreos, and drinks for each of us, the bill after tax but before tip was still under $25 per person, and we were stuffed.
Bonus Points: Whatever you want to say about Peckinpah, they feed you well for your money in an increasingly gentrified area of upscalish eats at upscalish prices.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

2015-April Trip to San Francisco and Berkeley

In early 2015-April I flew down to Berkeley to visit an old friend of mine, and wandered about eating in San Francisco as well. This post lists the various journal entries related to the trip. Links will be filled in as I complete my posts. Links to reviews are in the journal entries.

My trip took place between the second and third weeks of the month, which is apparently not the optimal time -- the first week is better, as some San Francisco attractions are free in the first week.

Day 1 - Wednesday, April 8
Day 2 - Thursday-April-9
Day 3 - Friday-April-10
Day 4 - Saturday-April-11
Day 5 - Sunday-April-12
Day 6 - Monday-April-13
Day 7 - Tuesday-April-14
Day 8 - Wednesday-April-15