Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Starbucks Bistro Boxes



Recently, Mom Central contacted me with an opportunity to sample Starbucks Bistro Boxes.  With a heavy work, commute, family, etc schedule, I can’t be bothered with running to get takeout while at work or running errands. Typically, at work I am doing personal stuff at lunch and running to get takeout would just eat away at my lunch hour. Running errands is pretty much the same. I just want to get it done and, as I am TRYING to watch my weight, this is going to happen getting takeout. Needless to say, the Bistro Boxes sound right up my alley and I jumped at the chance to give these a try.

Curious
Well, I didn’t exactly jump. Since I hadn’t heard of the boxes yet, I ran over to their site to check them out and see what they were all about. I was immediately enticed by the photographs of the meals, but typically the photos and real life don’t match right? Continuing my investigation, It seems there is just about something for everyone from vegan to those wanting high protein. Items in  the new Starbucks Bistro Box line include: Chicken and Hummus (the next one I would love to try) Chicken and Lettuce Wraps, Chipotle Chicken Wraps, Protein Bistro Box, Salumi & Cheese, Sesame Noodles, Cheese and Fruit, Chicken and Hummus, and Tuna Salad. According to the website, there are 8 to choose from. More on that later. They reminded me of Panera, which we often stop at for healthy selections, so I then signed up.

  1. Cheese and Fruit Bistro Box
    Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box
  2. Chicken and Hummus Bistro Box
    Chicken & Hummus Bistro Box
  3. Chicken Lettuce Wraps Bistro Box
    Chicken Lettuce Wraps Bistro Box
  4. Chipotle Chicken Wraps Bistro Box
    Chipotle Chicken Wraps Bistro Box
  5. Protein Bistro Box
    Protein Bistro Box
  6. Salumi and Cheese Bistro Box
    Salumi & Cheese Bistro Box
  7. Sesame Noodles Bistro Box
    Sesame Noodles Bistro Box
  8. Tuna Salad Bistro Box
    Tuna Salad
Disappointment
Once my gift card came to sample the meals, I immediately  set out after work to one of the Starbucks nearest my home. Remember when I mentioned there are supposed to be 8 meals and more on that later… Luckily, on this day I was just searching for a lunch and snack for the next day at work because the first Starbucks had one and only one of the meals available. I even asked the girl to check in the back but there were none. I did grab the one they had, which was the Sesame Noodle Bistro Meal. Still wanting the Chicken and Hummus Bistro selection, I tried another Starbucks near my home. Again, no go. I tried two more times to locate meals. The second time, neither store had any meals, and the third time, the case was stocked with the Cheese and Fruit, Chipotle Chicken Wraps, and Protein Bistro Boxes. While I still did not find the elusive Chicken and Hummus Bistro Box, I was happy they had the Chipotle Chicken Wraps. They looked like they would be quite tasty.

Impressive
When I took my Sesame Noodle Bistro Box to work the day after my purchase, I was quite excited to experience this at lunch. Upon retrieving it and beginning to eat, I was met with extensive curiosity by my coworkers. Everyone wanted to know where I got my ‘cute’ little lunch and commented on all of the fresh looking vegetables. I have to say, not only did the vegetables look fresh, they tasted extremely fresh! In the Sesame noodles were broccoli, carrots, red pepper and snap peas. My only issue with the Sesame Noodles is that it was surprisingly bland. Some sort of seasoning needed to be incorporated into this dish. Having only salt at hand, I found this to be my only available option to jazz this up a bit. In addition to the main portion, included was Seasoned Tofu, Pickled Cucumbers, Sesame Peanuts and 1 nice size piece of dark chocolate. I chopped my seasoned tofu and added this to my noodle mixture to further season as it was quite tasty. Having never had tofu, I was quite surprised by its deliciousness. The pickled cucumbers were also a disappointment as they were not seasoned or marinated enough. The highlight of the meal was my treat of sesame peanuts and dark chocolate. I had never had sesame peanuts and am now on a mission to find this tasty treat! A lover of dark chocolate, I ended my meal with this smooth morsel of heaven. This meal was only 350 calories and 6.95. Excellent healthy alternative to fast food and wallet friendly price.

Today I had the Chipotle Chicken wrap. Again, I was met with curiosity and a multitude of questions: Where did this come from, Where do I get one, and Does it taste as good as it looks? The Chipotle Chicken Wrap Bistro Meal contained several seasoned slices of all white meat chicken strips, 3 whole wheat tortillas, 4 slices of pepper jack cheese, a lime-cilantro slaw, tomato avocado salsa and a piece of dark chocolate. I divided my cheese and seasoned chicken between the three tortillas and evenly divided my salsa within the three tortillas as well. Al I can say is Yummmm! This was nicely seasoned and left me with a little ‘bite’ but not so much as I couldn’t taste my food (I do not like hot foods). The slaw was under seasoned or marinated and was quite bland yet fresh.  And finally, I topped of my meal with yet another piece of that delightful dark chocolate! Can you believe all of this was only 380 calories and only 6.95? While some of you may think this is expensive, you would pay at least this for fast food and it be a non healthy meal. This is diet friendly and perfectly proportioned.


In Conclusion
I loved them and would definitely buy again. In my opinion, Starbucks needs to do some tasting or ask its customers as I believe some of their options need to step up the seasoning. Additionally, the meals need to be more readily available. I would love to have these to take to work and to stop in on the weekend with my kids. However, I do not want to run all over town as I did with these. Also, one of the employees said the Chicken and Hummus was discontinued and she gets a lot of complaints because of that. It was also one I wanted to try. My questions to Starbucks:
Are these discontinued? The site shows them available.
Are you going to listen to your customers that want them?
Having said all of that, I will be back for more Bistro Meals. Not only to try new ones, but I will definitely get a Chipotle Chicken Wrap meal again!


Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Starbucks Bistro Boxes and received a gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for taking the time to participate.
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