Sherman's Food Adventures: Starbucks (River Rock Casino)

Starbucks (River Rock Casino)

Alright, if you are confused as to why I'm writing about a random Starbucks location, don't be.  No, I haven't suddenly committed this blog into covering the best chain restaurants and fast food outlets in town (although that could be quite useful in its own right).  Rather, similar to the Starbucks Reserve on Main Street in Vancouver, the River Rock Starbucks serves beer and wine as well as made-in-house food (by the hotel kitchen).  Yes, this Starbucks is remarkably different than any other location in B.C. and in Canada for all that matters.  I was recently invited to check it out along with some other foodies.

As mentioned, one can sip on coffee, lattes and fraps at this Starbucks much like any other.  However, there is an array of Wine and Beer options as well.  On the bar menu, one can choose from 3 reds and 3 whites as well as a sparkling wine (all 6 oz. servings and from BC).  There are 6 beer options at $7.00 each with all of them hailing from BC as well.   You can see all of the selections on the online menu.

Onto the other unique feature of this Starbucks, we sampled some of the food choices including Shrimp Gyoza.  Yes, you read right, they have gyozas...  But unlike many restaurants (even Japanese ones), these were not frozen.  Instead, they were made in-house.  This was evident with the chewy and thin dumpling skin that was fried up nicely.  Inside, the shrimp filling with veggies and chives was a bit loose, yet still buttery tender and mildly-seasoned.  The side of tangy and sweet soy sake dip added the necessary flavours.  I've tried the Baked Artichoke Dip before at the Curve Lounge, so it was familiar to me.  That was a good thing as it was light, fluffy and cheesy with sweet pops from the corn.  As evidenced in the picture, the portion size was downright huge.

My favourite items were the flatbreads, in particular, the Veronese Flatbread topped with prosciutto crudo, sundried tomato, artichoke hearts and goat cheese.  With a firm crunch consistent throughout, the flatbread was a nice compliment to the wine.  The combination of the nutty saltiness of the prosciutto coupled with the tang of the sundried tomato created a wealth and layers of flavour.  The cheese added some creaminess and moisture to the deal.  As for the second flatbread (Pugliese), it consisted of pickled red onions, roasted mixed mushrooms, sundried tomato pesto and basil.  This was more mild since there wasn't large pieces of sundried tomato.  However, it still tasted great with the woodsiness of the mushrooms and aromatics from the pesto and basil.

If one wanted something heartier, the last item available on the menu was Mac & Cheese with double-smoked bacon, gruyere, mozzarella and cream sauce.  Again, this was a fairly large portion that was saucy and cheesy.  Even with that, the noodles were still firm and al dente.  I thought the bacon was necessary as it added a smoky saltiness since the cheeses were definitely on the milder side.  As a bonus, we got to try Starbuck's popular Sous-Vide Egg Bites in both flavours (Roasted Red Pepper and Bacon & Gruyere).  These were fluffy and airy while lightly seasoned.  With that being said, the bacon and gruyere version had more pop in terms of aromatics and saltiness.  So there you have it, a very different Starbucks that offers up the usuals along with booze and some snacks to go with it.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Beer & wine options
- Reasonably-priced snacks

The Bad:
- Size of the Starbucks doesn't really allow for lingering, which may be an issue if you have beer, wine and snacks

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