Ode to my sandwich

If it's possible to be in love with food, than I'm in love with the Starbucks Eggs Florentine breakfast sandwich. I have been for quite some time now. Not many people understood our love, including the employees of Starbucks. “Why don't you try the Black Forest Ham?” they would say. “The Turkey is really good too.” “I'm a vegetarian,” I would inevitably reply. This may sound like our love was forced out of necessity. But this is not so. True, it was always my only sandwich option. But I have always been fond of spinach, eggs and cheese. And the Starbucks Eggs Florentine sandwich brings these ingredients together in a magical way that I have not been able to find anywhere else.

My heart was broken the day that e-coli was found in local spinach. Madness flooded the populace and people eliminated spinach from their menus. My beloved sandwich was among the casualties, quarantined for months for, what seemed to me, a somewhat reactionary measure.

After spinach began popping up again, I checked back in with Starbucks. Had my love returned? What I found instead was a new face. The Sun-Dried Tomato sandwich stared at me from the glass case with cold eyes and said “Hello, I am the very played-out Sun-Dried Tomato. I am the vegetarian option from people who think they are being clever.” “Where is my spinach?!” I pleaded with the Starbucks employee. “Isn't this e-coli madness over yet?!” And then I received the horrible news. “We're phasing out the spinach,” he said, with not a hint of remorse. “But you should try the Sun-Dried Tomato. It's much better.” I was devastated and, in my grief, I rebounded with the Sun-Dried tomato. Every bite was stale and unsatisfying. The experience left me feeling cold and empty. But what was I to do? My sandwich was gone. I had to move on.

After an exhaustive search for an adequate substitute (including trying the Seattle's Best spinach sandwich, which proved far worse than the Sun-Dried Tomato), I eventually found an acceptable replacement. A small cafe a block from my office served a tasty egg and cheese. There was no spinach. In fact, there were no vegetable options at all. But it was good enough to keep me happy. This would do. I could get on with my life.

And then it happened. Today, I went into a Starbucks to grab a Gingerbread Latte. Indeed, it was the same Starbucks in which I had received the horrible news months before. As I waited in line, I glanced into the glass case and…saw IT! My sandwich! But was it too good to be true?! During the e-coli scare, they kept the Florentine model in the case as a cruel reminder of what I could not have. But it wouldn't hurt to ask. So I did. “Do you guys have the spinach?” I timidly inquired. The employee looked at me like I was crazy for asking. “Of course we do. I mean, I think. Let me check.” And she opened the fridge and pulled one out!!! On the surface, I was calm and collected as I handed her my debit card. But inside, my heart was doing somersaults.

And here, at my desk, after months of separation, I bit into the warm, gooey goodness of Havarti, egg and spinach and once again, everything was right with the world.

I love you, Sandwich. Don't ever leave me again.