Starbucks Coffee has inspired many things since its humble beginnings in Seattle, but advances in food aren't counted among them. The company may have introduced lattes and cappuccinos into the American mainstream and reinvented the definition of takeout coffee, but their stiff bagels and saccharine pastries don't warrant any accolades. Still, there is an exception. At the risk of being slammed by foodies and the members of I Hate Starbucks.com (yes, there is an entire website dedicated to the verbal flagellation of the coffee chain), I would claim that the Starbucks turkey pesto baguette is an innovative, and even delicious, sandwich.
First off, let me say that it was not the combination of turkey and pesto that made this sandwich stand out. In this pesto-saturated world, I suspect McDonalds to introduce a McPesto Burger any day. And it certainly wasn't the sandwiches ingredients themselves, as the lunch meat turkey and refrigerator-hardened baguette were nothing to salivate over. What made this sandwich revolutionary were the dried cranberries studding the pesto mayonnaise, an unusual combination of ingredients that I had never experienced before. The tartness of the cranberries complimented the creamy pesto mayonnaise beautifully, resulting in a delicious balance of flavors that masked the other sub-par ingredients.
The turkey pesto baguette was introduced into the Starbucks lineup shortly after 2000, and disappeared for a few years while the company experimented with other (and in my opinion, pretty unappetizing) sandwiches. But I'm glad to see that it's back. Like any good cook, I've stolen Starbucks' formula and created my own version of the sandwich (which I've printed below). Whether you grab one with a Frappuccino or make your own, I'm sure you'll find the flavors interesting.
Turkey Cranberry Pesto Sandwich
3 tbs pesto, homemade or store bought
2 tbs mayonnaise
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 Small baguette, or other sandwich bread (I personally like whole grain)
3-4 slices organic smoked turkey
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 leaves romaine lettuce
1. Combine the first three ingredients in a small bowl, adjusting to taste
2. Spread pesto mayonnaise on bread. Top with turkey, cranberries, avocado slices and romaine lettuce. Enjoy!