In New England’s icy winter, you can’t underestimate the importance of oatmeal. It warms you up inside and lowers your center of gravity for safer transit across unscraped sidewalks and unplowed streets. I was pleased to note the addition of oatmeal to the Starbucks breakfast lineup. In addition to the basic mush, you can add dried fruit, nuts and/or brown sugar. You can’t add the things I would most like to add, but I might not be very typical here. Those things are salt, butter and/or sharp cheddar cheese if you’re keeping track. Or maybe broiled salmon. I ordered up a cup of plain to check it out.
I saw the barista dump the contents of a paper packet into a cup and add hot water. I guess I shouldn’t have expected a ladlefull from a crock. I was advised to let it sit for a while. I’m not sure why or just how long a while is in this case. I gave it a teabag-like three minutes and popped it open. Looks good. Smells ok. Could be hotter – maybe I let it sit too long. It passed the first spoon test – the spoon stood up – but failed the second when the oatmeal dribbled out of the spoon like thick soup. Texture-wise, I would have preferred something you could eat with a fork. It tasted good enough, but I couldn’t shake the desire for some salt. De gustibus, you know.
I miss NYC oatmeal. You could turn a corner and get a nice big crock of hot oatmeal with all the sides – chocolate chips, fruit, brown sugar. Never did the Cheese/Salmon thing but I could see the connection. Nothing sticks to your ribs like hot oatmeal on a cold morning.
I wish I could make it at home but mentally I need it from a crock!! Nice try Starbucks…
When you find a favorite Boston oatmeal spot – let me know. Our offices are moving there in a month.
To be clear, I like sharp cheese OR salmon in my oatmeal. Not both. I picked up the salmon concept in Japan, where they sometimes serve a thinner, congee-like savory rice porridge with a chunk of salmon or some pickles.
Try the oatmeal from Jamba Juice. It’s real steel cut oats cooked fresh each day. It comes with apples and cinnamon, banana or blackberry/blueberry. I’ve tried both the apple and the banana. The apple version includes a warm compote of cinnamon flavored apples. The banana version includes a fresh sliced banana. Both include “brown sugar crumble”. The apple compote is more tart than I expected, but very good. The banana is also very good. Make sure to mix the toppings with the oatmeal before you start to eat because the bottom of cup is pretty bland otherwise.
Here in Southern Cal, it’s $2.99. I think tha’s about $.50 more than Starbucks. But compared to the Starbuck’s instand oatmeal….well, there’s no comparison.