The Hunt for Starbucks' Ex-Muffin
I confess: I am a self-professed foodie. Case in point: About two months ago, Jimmy and I stopped by Starbucks downtown on a Sunday afternoon to indulge in our traditional double chocolate muffin and American coffee ritual. As we approached the pastry display, we noticed the muffins were not their usual selves: they’d shrunk, flattened on top, and were plastered with one too many chocolate chips. Our eyes quickly scanned the entire selection of sweets, and sure enough, they’d been replaced with new items. The supplier had been changed! And the prices had increased by at least a third! We stood gaping for a few minutes before we decided maybe we should give the new muffins a go for comparative purposes, despite our immediate angst. They were true to form: terrible. Too sugary, dense, void of a uniform dispersion of chocolate chips, and nowhere near as good as their predecessors. It was the end of an era for us, and we were abject. I resolved to look into the matter further, though, as a warrior of delectable treats.
The following day during my lunch hour, I stepped out to City Mall and passed by the Starbucks housed inside. Once I confirmed that this branch too had overhauled its usual pastries, I spoke to the cashier, and he told me it’d been only three days since they switched suppliers, saying that Candy patisserie had been deposed in favor of Le Meilleur. I started to pry, asking where Candy is located, and he said in the vicinity. I rushed back to my office, googled “Candy” together with “Lebanon”, “patisserie”, and “Jal el Dib”, the name of the city where I suspected it could be (it’s a commercial highway of stores, stores, and stores). The search yielded a match, and I quickly dialed their number, hoping against hope they were not simply a factory or supplier but also had a retail outlet. The owner answered my call and assured me they were open to the public and pinpointed the location for me exactly, asking me if there was anything in particular I was searching for. I told her I’d heard she made a mean muffin, and she started chuckling. After work, I trekked over half an hour by foot to get to the palace of a pastry shop. I quickly spotted my cherished double chocolate delight, and as I rushed to the display, I noticed all of the other old familiar treats Starbucks used to sell: the massive cookie, the chocolate tower cake, the croissants, tout! And below I beheld a beautiful, dainty selection of French gateau, and I fell in love. There was also a brownie cake topped with small brownie cubes, which I promised myself I would try on a second visit.
The owner came out to greet me and called her husband over, as I lavished praise on them for their unparalleled muffin and berated Starbucks for having gone with another supplier. She smiled wistfully and said, “They’ll come back, we’re sure of it.”
(Photo credit: manifestogwl.blogspot.com)