Sampling Starbucks

18 Jul

One day, my name may be part of an urban legend. “She was one of the last humans ever to eat one of Starbucks’ mythical Gluten-free Orange Valencia Cakes. And, tragically, her last time was also her first.”

Indeed, I hadn’t heard of Starbucks’ recent gluten-free offering until earlier this week, when I caught the blogosphere buzz about Starbucks’ supposedly having discontinued the cake. And although the Starbucks Twitter account seems to have perhaps confirmed this news, the Starbucks Web site for my local store reassured me of the possibility of finding the cake there.

So last night, on my way home from work, I rushed into that promising Starbucks store, sighted one lone, tiny, round gluten-free cake wrapped in clear plastic, and bought it. “Do you have any others?” I asked the barista. He looked under counters and inside cabinets. “No, that’s the only one,” he decided.

And even though, as I walked into my home and noted a sticker proclaiming “Discard MON” on the wrapper bottom and then spotted a bit of mold growing on the cake’s top, I couldn’t resist a taste. (Perhaps shelf-life troubles have led to the reported demise of this treat?)

Nevertheless, it was well worth the risk. The first bite was light and airy yet chewy and moist. I checked the wrapper just to be sure. Yes, there, it said gluten-free. I hadn’t tasted anything this authentic, this normal, this . . . Starbucksy in a year and half.

Of course, I could have done without the slimy yet crunchy almonds garnishing the top. They seemed to detract from the citrusy freshness of the rest of the cake. And I would have preferred the portion be a bit larger to enjoy a bit longer.

But those complaints won’t keep me from returning to that local Starbucks to check for a new batch of these amazing treats. I have a premonition, however, that I won’t find them. Because they’ll have disappeared into the hazey mazes of an urban legend.

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