Tuesday, January 02, 2007
afternoon tea/latte/dessert: STARBUCKS
on Badu Road
and almost everywhere
date visited: 12/30/2006
Starbucks Coffee is strangely addictive- I prefer to get a vanilla latte (although I do like Coffee Bean's vanilla ice blendeds better, but there isn't one in Taipei) although there was one a few years ago and it mysteriously vanished. Their bagels, cookies, cakes, sandwiches, salads are also a quick snack fix while you grab your overpriced but usually consistent coffee anywhere around the world. I'm definitely guilty of purchasing something to eat at the airport, convention, hospital, or on the run... in this case, we had an impromptu afternoon tea of sorts on the way to the new Taipei Apple reseller store that just opened.
The ham and cheese sandwich was actually pretty tasty- it definitely benefited from being heated up and the bread was all warm with the melted cheese.
The cheesecake looked good, but unfortunately tasted awful. It was dry, bland and the crackly creme brulee-looking top was just a facade. It made me sorely miss the decadent creme brulee cheesecake at Literati in Los Angeles which has melt in your mouth creaminess and real vanilla specks and flavor.
In Taiwan, one of the best NY style cheesecake I've had so far was at NY Bagel, which has Junior's cheesecake flown in from NY, or Macaroni Grill. A more local style, but still delicious, are the cheesecake cups they have at Milkhouse or the cheesecake at the bakery at JASONs Supermarket at 101.
The vanilla latte was good for a rainy afternoon, and apparently when we were there, with the purchase of the sandwich they upgrade your drink a size up for free as an "afternoon tea" special, or "afternoon latte" i should say. I also spotted someone with a pasta... Most of the Starbucks have cozy tables and sofas to encourage some lounging and makes a great space for afternoon tea.
Not this time, but once I had the pre-made chinese chicken salad in a box. The dry chicken and odd tasting dressing ruined the salad and made it so terrible I threw it away after one bite.
But anyways- check out the new Apple store if you get a chance. It's not technically an "Apple Store," but it's the closest thing for now as an official Apple reseller with all the tech goods and accessories in the pristine white space.
There's no genius bar, but the associates are quite friendly and helpful. There's even a coffee shop upstairs if you are going to wander over with your laptop. I didn't get to try it, but that's for another day.
If you're not an Apple person, the whole street is filled with shops selling computers and accessories, like cables, printers, cds/dvds and even cameras at prices better than mall stores like fnac.
It's pretty amazing that there are so many Starbucks around the world, even in Taipei there's practically one on every block. The funny thing is that many of the local companies knowingly capitalize on their branding, mimicking the round logo, bold sans serif lettering, and even the Starbucks shade of green. Maybe it's just a coincidence?
A friend of mine recently had to choose from three different coffee shops at 101- Barista Coffee , some french sounding coffee place and IS Coffee- he said he was comforted by the round green logo of IS Coffee and bought his coffee there.
Another amazing thing is that Starbucks plans on doubling their stores here in the next five years to 350 stores. Hopefully, they will keep working on their cheesecake!