Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chain Gang: Starbuck's new Vanilla Macchiato and America has the Best Donuts in the World

I'm going to try something new. I got this idea from a blog called Brand Eating. I'm going to start a new series called the Chain Gang. I will be reviewing new menu items from chain restaurants and new food items from popular store brands.  Why review a chain? Well, they're always coming up with new stuff, always changing their menus, so someone needs to report if it's any good. We, the food snobs of the internet, have poo-poo'd chains from our diet. So that's even better! Less noise, less competition.

Let's kick off this series with Starbuck's new Iced Vanilla Macchiato.
Handcrafted one layer at a time, this macchiato promises a tantalizing journey of textures and flavors. Velvety-smooth foam. Sweet vanilla-flavored syrup. A perfectly pulled shot of our bold espresso. And on top, a drizzle of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla mixed with brown sugar, butter and a dash of salt. from the Starbuck's website


Hot version from Starbuck's website

I ordered the Tall Iced Vanilla Macchiato for $4.75. I'll be honest, I didn't taste the Madagascar Bourbon (wow, that sounds so exotic) and couldn't really distinguish the brown sugar, butter, or salt. All I tasted was a sweet, caramelish flavored syrup on the bottom of my cup. When I mixed it with the rest of the espresso and milk, the flavor completely got lost in the strong espresso. If I was to do it again, I'd get it hot instead of cold. The hot isn't as diluted in flavor and they put a generous lacing of the Vanilla on top of the foam. So, I'd say the iced version was a bust. It was good, but almost the same as ordering an iced latte then adding some sugar.

The day was not completely lost! I was still at the ultra-busy New York New York hotel, home to America Restaurant, home to the best donuts in the world!


The day before I ordered the original cronut, the nutella cronut and the bacon maple bar. The cronuts are absolutely amazing. It has that perfect airy texture, with each separate layer having a flaky crispness. Delicious and well worth the $3.50, the cheapest I've seen in town. The bacon maple bar was good too, the smoky bacon flavor was getting lost in the dough, so I just peeled off the top layer and ate it. Their raised donuts were okay but not my thing. 

Of course I had to get up at 5am the next morning to try some more! The next day I got the maple bar, their special (it tasted a lot like a lemon-herb cream-fill), lemon cronut, apple fritter and a glazed twist. 

Best Apple Fritter in the World! 

Their apple fritters is the best I've ever tasted. The actual donut is very light and crispy, the glaze is not too sweet, and the filling tastes fresh, not overly cloying, nor is there an abundance of it.

Lemon Cronut and Iced Vanilla Macchiato

The lemon cronut was great but my favorite was the nutella. The glazed donut and maple bar were great too. Before I knew it, they had vanished!

Glazed Cronuts

In conclusion, go to America for the doughnuts. I haven't eaten at the restaurant but from reading other people's reviews, I'd say, "pass." Looks like an over-priced tourist trap.
But the cronuts are legit!

America on Urbanspoon

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