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Friday, May 9, 2008

Throwing Scones

posted by on May 9 at 8:12 AM

I’m frequently accused of taking marching orders from Andrew Sullivan—a friend and an absurdly frequent linkee here on Slog—when, in actual fact, Andrew and I disagree on a great many issues. Socialized medicine, for starters, and Paul Krugman and Al Gore and hate-crimes laws and, or course, Gay Eustace. (I did, of course, agree with Andrew about the, erm, war.)

Well, you can add those little vanilla scones at Starbucks to the list of things we disagree about. Andrew says

…totally awesome: moist, sweet, crusty, the best pastry Starbucks has come up with.

I couldn’t disagree more. I like petite vanilla pastries just as much as the next effete urban elitist. And I’ve tried these “scones” from Starbucks—in South Carolina, in Chicago, and in Seattle (at the airport). And those petite vanilla scones utterly flavorless, the icing is chalky, and the edges are neither crispy nor crusty. They taste like lightly sweetened Play-Doh. They are wholly without merit.

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How do you walk into Starbucks with a straight face?

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 9, 2008 8:20 AM

Try walking in to Charbucks holding a latte from Mcdonalds and ordering a scone.

Posted by Heather | May 9, 2008 8:32 AM

Homemade scones are the best.

Posted by Michigan Matt | May 9, 2008 8:41 AM

I'm a Charbucks basher but still I would sneak a Toffee Almond Bar now and then back in the day. I don't even know if they still make them.

Posted by JMR | May 9, 2008 8:41 AM

Dan has a stronger stomach than I do. I could only deal with the sconette one time. Blech. I do like those cranberry bliss numbers at Christmas.

Posted by MyDogBen | May 9, 2008 8:50 AM

Just remember that Starbucks took the NYC Artificial Trans-fat ban way too seriously: they wanted their menu to appear to have no transfats at all, meaning they asked their vendors to stop baking with BUTTER.

No idea what they use instead, but how can it be good?

Posted by Lorin | May 9, 2008 8:53 AM

I resort to Starbucks when I must, Mr. Poe—on the road, when there are no other options. At home: Vitta, Vivace, Victrola, Presse, etc. In Rock Mill, South Carolina? Not a lot of options.

Posted by Dan Savage | May 9, 2008 8:58 AM

There is never a reason to resort to Starbucks, Dan. Elitist? Pa-leeeze.


Posted by Mr. Poe | May 9, 2008 9:03 AM

I admit it; I like Starbucks (at least the one I frequent in Wedgewood) and when those little scones came out I was upset they were not a full size scone AND the flavor was really weak. I complained to Starbucks on line and got three free drink coupons. Complain to Starbucks and they give you free stuff. Needless to say I bitch A LOT!!!

Want a free coupon?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | May 9, 2008 9:07 AM

#6: Starbucks is just mandating less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in any one item so they can say "trans fat free." A little more than an ounce of butter in a pastry is fine with them. If they got rid of all trans fat they would have to be 100% vegan.

Posted by palm oil | May 9, 2008 9:11 AM

I tried them once when they came out because they sounded so good but they really do suck a lot.

Posted by monkey | May 9, 2008 9:26 AM

Starbucks is bad, because it's big and successful. That's why nobody drives cars made by Honda or Toyota, too, and nobody listens to the most successful musical artists. Nobody buys SONY and Toshiba TVs either.

It's not enough to just dislike Starbucks, we should rag on people who are okay with Starbucks, because they're morally wrong. Because they are not as morally discerning, or as tasteful, as we are.

Now excuse me while I go put an anti trade bumper sticker on my SAAB and write a letter to my cousin in West Virginia telling him to stop clinging to things. I also have to put a handmade rough Guatemalan wall hanging I bought in ChiChi over my Toshiba hi def TV and stereo unit. Also, I need to write a letter to protest imports on my new laptop from china and my HP printer from Singapore. As soon as I can find small independent makers of printers and comptuers I'll patronize them too -- if they get the price down. I do what I can.

Posted by PC | May 9, 2008 9:34 AM

Sometimes Starbucks is the only choice for something better than stale drip coffee, depending on where you are. I tried a sample of one of those "scones" and thought it was horrendous. The texture was all wrong, and the cloying sweetness was disgusting. There's a lot of delusion required to love those things.

Posted by AMB | May 9, 2008 9:59 AM

I don't mind Starbucks. I just wish they were more consistent. Isn't that supposed to be the appeal of a big chain? Instead, my drink of choice (mocha) can be a gooey overly sweet thing at one store, and a harsh, apparently sans-chocolate thing at another.

Also, I think they really dumbed stuff down in the last five years or so. They used to sell the most fantastic mini baguettes. Then they went to a really doughy faux baguette. Then they got rid of them entirely. I'm still bitter about that.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | May 9, 2008 10:02 AM

You should try the cherry almond scones at those are some quality scones!!

Posted by Cato | May 9, 2008 10:12 AM

Andrew, like yourself, is a great asset to the gay community. My politics is somewhere between the two of you. You have both, probably more then any other gays, have crossed the gay/straight divide and brought both together by showing how much we have in common. And also how much our differances compliment eachother. There almost seems to be an apology for your freindship. Only that bothers me. Andrew is a great guy and has taken a lot of slack from the lock stepped gay crowd. He, like yourself, has stepped outside of the SGN echo chamber and asserted his own voice. We need that.

Posted by Jeff | May 9, 2008 10:15 AM

The Starbucks pumpkin scones are the best food in the place.

Posted by PA Native | May 9, 2008 10:16 AM

Weird. I like the vanilla scones. I like the glaze to scone ratio. I think the other scones are always very dry and I prefer a more cake like texture so the vanilla scone works for me. Of course now that Dan has likened it to Play-Doh I suspect he's ruined the taste for me.

Posted by PopTart | May 9, 2008 10:26 AM

How can an Englishman enjoy a Starbucks "scone"?

Thank God Starbucks sells Top Pot, because none of their pastries are any good. Above all, don't try the rustic cheese pastries. They are revolting. I hate throwing away food (I'll even eat burnt toast rather than throw it away) and I had to throw that pastry in the garbage after one bite.

Posted by keshmeshi | May 9, 2008 10:26 AM

I saw an employee at Top Pot blow there nose into some donuts!!! I SO will never eat there again!!!!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | May 9, 2008 10:44 AM

Andrew Sullivan is a great blogger, but he eats exclusively garbage. His idea of exotica is Chilpotles. He's a Brit, for chrissakes, and he left England before the current good food boom began.

Posted by Fnarf | May 9, 2008 10:49 AM

You know Andrew Sullivan??? No!

Posted by fluteprof | May 9, 2008 10:53 AM

I only drink at Starbucks in the fall, when they get pumpkin lattes back in. It's a good thing they only feature them in the fall because they're even worse for me than what I normally eat. (Also, kind of awesome, despite that I don't really like Starbucks espresso.)

Posted by Abby | May 9, 2008 11:03 AM

Ugh. Don't bother trying them in Toronto either. Just... terrible. Ginger mollases cookies ftw!

Posted by bs | May 9, 2008 11:11 AM

@22, no, I don't know Sullivan. But he blogs about his garbage diet all the time. KFC, Taco Time, McDonalds, he eats pure shit every day. Of course he thinks a Starbucks cookie is good.

Posted by Fnarf | May 9, 2008 1:27 PM

Posts like this make it very difficult to ignore the fact that you're friends with Andrew Sullivan. Seriously, wiping that and your original cheerleading of the war (and you at least eventually repented of that, right?) out of my mind are the only ways I can enjoy Savage Love and some of your other writing. Otherwise, it's like thinking of John McCain when having sex: a total buzzkill.

Posted by whatevernevermind | May 9, 2008 1:32 PM

Each and every time I've succumbed to expedience and purchased a Starbucks pastry, it turned out to be stale. Whether it was once good, there's no way of knowing. On the other hand, it was overpriced, so I guess that's something.

Posted by Eric from Boulder | May 9, 2008 3:46 PM

Mr Savage's description of these alleged "Star-scones" may also be used for the entirety of the native English cuisine.

Posted by E | May 9, 2008 4:37 PM

Like hell. English food is oustanding if you know what to look for. A proper English breakfast is a thing of wonder.

Posted by Fnarf | May 9, 2008 5:14 PM

okay, so Starbucks does not have good, i mean great, i mean orgasm-inducing scones. fine. don't buy them.

so, then, WHERE IS a good place for scones? (not the trashcan, haha.)

i don't normally eat scones, i don't really consider them to be traditional breakfast food. or snack food. or any other type of food i eat period.

but one time i went to Sureshot on the ave and was looking for something to go along w/ my hot choc, and the cashier suggested a scone, said they were vegan and great heated up. so i did and they were great.

Sureshot? any place else?

Posted by feom | May 9, 2008 7:56 PM

At Sullivan's suggestion I bought three petite vanilla bean scones at Starbucks yesterday. They totally did not cut it. They're not scones, they're just sweet, slightly dry dough with some kind of sugary glaze. These scones are, to borrow an unlikely phrase, all hat and no cattle.

Posted by Wish I were in Seattle | May 10, 2008 1:29 PM

I do not believe you have ever actually tasted Play Doh or you would not mistake it for any pastry however vile. It's so loaded with salt it makes you gag.

Posted by Delia | May 10, 2008 3:55 PM

Another inferior but overpriced food product from the minds at Charbucks!

Posted by Angry Sam | May 10, 2008 5:33 PM

Also: if Caffe Vita decided they wanted to make scones, they would be the best damn scones ever, man.

NOTE: I am not a Caffe Vita employee but if they want to throw some free beans my way as encouragement, I'll accept 'em.

Posted by Angry Sam | May 10, 2008 5:36 PM

On Andrew's advice, I tried the vanilla scones. Ate half of one, gave the other half to the dog. He wouldnt eat it. My husband came home and ate the remaining two, then said they werent very good.

Posted by jen hutchin | May 12, 2008 8:56 AM

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