Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oatmeal #1: Cosi

Finally something about oatmeal...

Let me start by saying that I AM NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER. My digital camera is from 2005, and while I can take a decent picture from time to time, 8:30 in the morning is not that time. So if you are here to see lovely, almost ethereal pictures of oatmeal swimming in cream and blueberries while surrounded by a soft glow that is either caused by a) Photoshop or b) God showering oatmeal with His blessings, you are not in the right place. Besides, I want you to see the oatmeal the same way I see it, or else I am practically cheating you. And I see it under the florescent lighting of an office. So there. Anyway...

Oatmeal number one is from Cosi, which, if you haven't heard of it, is a quick-service restaurant (i.e. soups, salads, and sandwiches) based out of a Chicago suburb. Perhaps because of this, Cosi is rampant in Chicago, which is fine by me, because it is generally pretty good. (Fun fact—it was named after the opera Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart, which roughly translates to “women are like that.” Mozart didn’t write the libretto, so I suppose we can’t blame him for such a questionable title. (Like WHAT, eh Mozart?? And yeah, that's a double parenthetical. Up yours!) Interesting little tidbits like this are undoubtedly why you will be firing up your computer first thing every morning, DYING to see what random crap I’ll tell you next. This is also what having a music minor does to you.) There is a Cosi about a block from my office, so it has become a frequent stopping point for a morning bagel and coffee or a lunchtime salad. They also have oatmeal (obviously). Cosi advertises "Irish, steel-cut oats cooked to perfection," which sounds rather presumptuous, but we'll see. (What do the Irish have to do with it? Apparently I need to read The History of Oatmeal or something similar.) My thoughts (points in parenthesis):
  • Price: $2.79 + tax. You can also add a 16 ounce coffee for a dollar, an offer on which I have never passed. So my total was $4.23. (6)
  • There is only one size, which I believe is about 10 ounces? (5)
  • You get to pick two of the following toppings: fresh strawberries, granola, whipped cream (seems a little weird to me), brown sugar, dried cranberries, pistachios, broken up pieces of Cosi Break Bar, and raisins. As you can see from the picture, they aren't what I would call "generous" with the toppings, but that is a pretty decent selection. (I got strawberries and granola.) (7--a point off for no chocolate)
  • Temperature: It was pretty warm, but I would have preferred it hotter. The little container didn't specify anywhere that it wasn't microwaveable, so I suppose you could try to throw it in the microwave? But only if you won't be easily embarrassed if you start a fire in your office kitchen (as I am and have). (8)
  • Texture/appearance: Definitely has some chewiness to it, which I prefer. I don't want it to be like yogurt. But it's a wee bit thin and runny and is rather...white. Maybe because it is (I think) made with milk? To me, oatmeal should at least be a little tannish. (7)
  • Taste: They pre-sweeten it with brown sugar, which I am not keen about. I don't really like my oatmeal that sweet, so not having control over that is annoying. Still, the strawberries were good, as was the granola, and on the whole it was very satisfying. It wasn't too bland, and if it had been sitting in a vat all morning, I wouldn't have known. (7)
  • The website claims it has 101 calories a serving (without toppings), and I am just going to assume that isn't true. A cup of instant oatmeal made with water has something like 150 calories, so I am skeptical. The toppings add maybe 60 calories? So I am going to say 210 for the whole thing, but it's probably more, if we are being honest. (I am not going to score on nutritional information, because I don't think it will always be available.)
  • Intangibles: The coffee for only an extra dollar is nice. (5)
TOTAL: 6+5+7+8+7+7+5=45

Cosi is in the lead! Congratulations! You have no competition yet! Get over yourself! But seriously, all in all, a pretty solid oatmeal. So go get yourself some, and if you have time, maybe read it with this fine work of fiction.*

*Since I am new at this, and there isn't a sarcasm font (yet!!), I am just going to straight out inform you that I am joking about this book, though the title alone is worth a million dollars. Don't forget to buy all of it's companions listed below. Let's make this author a star!

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