Sunday, March 25, 2012

Oatmeal #15: Specialty's


This is the first ever post written in Google Chrome. Look out for that. Not sure how, but do it.

Ahhh Specialty's, that grammatically odd beacon of hope. (I kind of wish it sucked just so I could call it "a beacon of nope". Maybe next time. I think I've used that joke before, but I'm allowed to recycle my own material.) Instead of giving you the history of Specialty's, merely allow me to tell you that this place is generally The Best. They make their own soups, bread, cookies, and pastries every day. Their sandwiches and salads are delicious. Everyone who works there is my best friend. They are only located in California, Washington state, and Chicago, so I can feel exclusive and refined eating here. Their cutlery is biodegradable or some nonsense. I order from them all the time for events at work. I recommend it to all out-of-towners. You can get alerts sent to you when their cookies are fresh out of the oven. Conclusion: it's pretty much my favorite place to go for breakfast or lunch in the Loop, but unfortunately, it is rather out of the way from my office, so it usually takes a special reason for me to go here. This is tragic.
  • Price: What a surprise that I can't find my receipt from several months ago. Luckily, I am well-versed in the ways of internet search engines (for example, a eu-google-y for "defective products" has helped me to realize that apparently, chains break a lot or something), and I have determined that the oatmeal here is $3.99. My total with a medium coffee (INTELLIGENTSIA, more on that later) and tax was $6.58, so coffee must be $1.95 or so. Weeell....it's darn good oatmeal. And REALLY good coffee. But that's a lot o' billz, and I'm certainly not exactly pre-Episode 1 Lindsay Bluth Funke. (This is not a Star Wars reference.) (2) But it's partly my fault because...
  • Size: There are two sizes, and I picked the bigger one. Thanks, I'm an American. A "regular" is twelve ounces, and the "small" is eight, I believe. (What belittling size names. You're irregular if you want the small. Hahaha think up a joke about constipation and oatmeal and fiber and chuckle quietly to yourself. You're gross.) Definitely something less than twelve. The small is $2.99, so obviously that would be a more frugal choice. But prepare to deal with Low Blood Sugar Rage around 10:45am. (9)
  • Toppings: The choices are slivered almonds, raisins, brown sugar, and craisins. You can have as few or as many of them as you like, but they put them on for me because I'm actually five years old. I got everything but the raisins, because, you know, eww. Raisins are socially, morally, and edibly  acceptable in two places: in those cute little boxes in the lunch pails of various whiny and angry 8-year-olds, and in cinnamon raisin bread. So MINUS POINTS for that. Not a great selection, but what they do have is good. However, they did use a tiny bit too much brown sugar. Common problem, but still unforgivable. ("Unforgivable" would be a great name for a cologne. Oh crap. He would.) (5)
  • Texture/Appearance: Investigate photo. Check! Looks pretty good! Genuine, steel-cut oats well-cooked and not left to sit for days results in a creamy texture that is neither sloppy nor yogurty. Looking at the photo makes me want to eat it right now. Or sext it. (Christmas break means it's been several days since my last oatmeal fix.) (9)
  • Temperature: Near mouth burn!! (Err...don't Google "too hot". Especially not at work. K, thanx.) Really, this is remarkable, because the walk from Specialtys to my office is significant, so the fact that it's still hot by the time I sit down and start eating it is one hundred dollars' worth of perfection. (10)
  • Taste: Diggity. Delish fo sho. (Aside from the brown sugar overage.) You can really tell they put some effort into this, as they do all of their food. The oatmeal alone is a little bland, but...so goes oatmeal. Unfortunately, when it comes to this blog, being good is boring. (8)
  • Calories: They have nutritional info for every item on their menu EXCEPT oatmeal. Oatmeal basically doesn't even get picked last for the kickball team. Oatmeal is still picking itself up from the floor because the McGriddles tied his shoelaces to his chair. But if I had to guess I'd say Never mind, I found it. Have I mentioned I know how to use Google? Apparently it has 200 calories (I feel like they say that whilst winking at me). PSHA! RIGHT! This must be without toppings, which I'm guessing add about 150-200 calories, which is not for the weak. (Please note that I inserted that strikethrough above by editing the HTML, NOT by using the strikethrough button, proving that I am, in fact, a real blogger and not some lazy homeless person.) 
  • Intangibles: They serve The Best Coffee Ever. I mean, seriously. I have walked great distances in sub-freezing temperatures to get Intelligentsia coffee, and, if you need further proof, one of my favorite bands also loves it. A barista there won the world barista championships or something so...don't mess around with them. Srsly. They put foam on their iced lattes and make designs in your coffee.  (9)
TOTAL: 2+9+5+9+10+8+9=52


!!! A new leader! Almost exactly two years after Cafe Descartes unexpectedly swooped in and knocked me off of my feet with their mysterious latte/oatmeal cyborg, good ol' Specialty's scores one for traditionalists everywhere. They apparently sell "group steel-cut oatmeal" that serves 8-10 people for $29.99. After reflecting upon this post, it is strongly tempting to purchase this on Monday morning and eat my way through it during the week. (Or I could have a sort of Paul Newman (mmmm....) in Cool Hand Luke egg-eating contest (or, to a much lesser extent, a Reese in Malcolm in the Middle peep-eating contest*) with myself and see if I could get people to pay me to eat it all in one sitting...any takers? No? Thank goodness.) I mean, if it serves me ten times, that's definitely a much lower price per serving! I'm only trying to be fiscally responsible, here.**

*Note that in the official peep-eating contest rules, you are disqualified if you puke (duh...what kind of contest is this?) but reinstated if you eat your own puke. Muse on that for a second. Thankfully, this didn't happen at this year's contest. Hands down, that's the best website I've ever seen.)


**Also, you can never get too much Paul Newman, so do yourself a favor and watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid tonight, at the latest.

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