Starbucks, Shinbashi, Tokyo, Japan

Breakfast by the Books

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Ordered at Starbucks in Shinbashi, Tokyo, Japan, my favorite district in the city.

Overall Score 79.4/100
Presentation 8.2/10 Meat Quality 7/10
Fruit / Vegetable Quality 7.3/10 Bread Quality 7.3/10
Mayo / Sauce Usage 8.1/10 Value 8.6/10
Ingredients Ratio 8.8/10 Sides 8/10
Ambiance 8.9/10 Overall Taste 7.2/10

Our last day – Rachel wanted soba for breakfast. I was kinda Japanese-fooded out. Last night we had ramen, oyster, scallops, sushi, and green tea everything.

Rachel was staying for another week and loves soba for breakfast; I was running around trying to get everything sorted before my flight home… a nice relaxing Japanese meal was not on the cards for me. Well, at least not until I arrived to the airport.

I needed coffee and something quick. Sunday morning in Shinbashi, a major business district, meant most the area’s prime eateries were closed.  Fortunately, I knew exactly where Starbucks was in Shinbashi, so I went there.

Shinbashi is my favorite district in Tokyo. It is non-touristy, patroned by the stereotypical Japanese businessman, and a nest of winding small walking streets full of curious eateries, bars, and nightclubs. One could get very lost – and found – in such an exciting district of Tokyo.

Starbucks was a popular destination for the area, but not just for the coffee, for the bookstore attached to it. I loved this coffee-house bookstore creation full of new and inspiring prints, unlike many coffee houses that boasted books printed decades ago.

Who would have guessed Starbucks’s menu included a clubhouse sandwich? Not overly hungry, I was lucky that all Starbucks sandwiches were served as halves… very un-American, but exactly what I was looking for in this moment.

A hearty layer of each ingredient, perhaps half was all one needed.

While I enjoyed this club sandwich, there was a hint of this dull, muted flavor that came from eggs and bacon cooked days before and wrapped into a sandwich that reminded me of the club sandwiches in Beijing. In fact, while I liked this club sandwich more, this meal brought me back to studying Mandarin in Starbucks at Dawanglu. It’s hard to describe, but something about the preservatives Starbucks must put in its cooked meats produced a tin-like flavor that I was very familiar with, having eaten club sandwiches at the same Starbucks in Dawanglu many times over.

But this tin-like taste was not unique to Starbucks I began to recall – many nights as a student in Newcastle, UK, I ate pre-packaged club sandwiches from the local market, and the bacon tasted exactly like this bacon. A British influence? Whatever that preservative flavor was, it wasn’t American.

Would I get this club sandwich again? No, but, it did provide everything I was looking for in the moment. It was also more filling than other Starbucks club sandwiches I had enjoyed in the past.

And sadly, I was all packed up and off to the airport. An excellent trip to Japan, I looked forward to coming back and exploring more of the country.


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