Friday, January 23, 2009

TBG Eats: Starbucks' "Perfect" Oatmeal

Current Weight: 167.0 lbs.

Growing up, I vowed that I would never develop the same addiction to coffee that my mom still carries to this day.

I started out drinking it only on weekends – coincidentally, this initial pattern mirrors my current parenting model. A few lifetimes ago, I managed an ice cream and frozen yogurt store. The early morning Saturday/Sunday opening shifts – accompanied by book balancing and embezzling – took their toll as, oftentimes, I was getting home from evenings of Hollywood debauchery only two or three hours before having to punch in.

Several years later, I began working for the Unnamed Defense Contractor. For those of you who might fooled by the astounding job title, the day-to-day duties of a "Contracts Specialist" can be a wee bit boring. Consequently, on occasion, I'd been known to supplement my mornings with a shot of whatever steaming stool sample our old cafeteria used to sell by the cupful and call "coffee".

Then, in 2004, I became a father. The end.

Ever since that blessed event, I drink two "travel cup" sized servings of coffee each morning. And, if I remember my San Diego State University advanced mathematics courses, that's 32 ounces of coffee per day.

Making matters "worse", I now work in area of the UDC that serves free Starbucks coffee all day long. Next to Mr. and Mrs. Nick'a the introducing me to Dunkin' Donuts coffee a couple of years ago, the free joe development was the greatest caffeine-related moment of my life.

And, that's why – on days when I'm not working – you might find me at Starbucks.


Now, for years, my order was simple and straight-forward: "a grande 'bold' with no room and a glazed donut". Then, I discovered this and opted to go with just the coffee.

I'd managed to successfully sidestep Starbucks' assorted pastries, sandwiches and side items until an in-store sign for "the perfect oatmeal" caught my eye. I was there with my son ("kid-sized hot chocolate, low temp. and – for the love of God and all our ears – NO whipped cream") and since HE was having breakfast (giant chocolate chip cookie), I figured I might as well, too.

"Perfect" oatmeal? Pretty damn close.

It's a single-sized serving of molten-hot, chewy oats served with packets of brown sugar, nuts and dried fruit. Make sure you order it with everything. The brown sugar is, of course, a natural accompaniment and the nuts give the oatmeal a firmer texture, but it's the dried fruit medley that brings it all to the doorstep of perfection. God bless the woman who gave the world golden raisins.

So, what prevents this oatmeal from achieving complete and utter awesome? Well, I know it's Starbucks. I know they've successfully squashed every mom n' pop coffee house by using a business model of "variety, brand ubiquity and squashing every mom n' pop coffee house". Still, though…two dollars and fifty cents for a bowl of oatmeal? Really?!

Good thing the coffee's free at work.

Grade: 3 (out of 5), with a full point lopped off for the price


Jay1 said...

you need to try the quaker "steel cut" oats, it takes a while to make at home, but that's some good oatmeal right there. i promise you.

That Bootleg Guy said...

I am on board with any oatmeal that sounds like a sports-entertainment finishing move.