Walter Mencken 4 p.m., Dec. 14
Counting Calories at The Coffee Bean
There was a time when I didn’t think much about calories. I’ve recently attributed my newfound calorie counting to my age and the slowing of my metabolism, but it might have more to do with California’s menu labeling law. Either way, it’s been enlightening.
This morning, I went corporate for my (third cup of) morning coffee. I usually make the trip down to North Park, but today I wanted to stay within the general vicinity of my daughter’s school so I could maximize on my work-time. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Clairemont Mesa had an open table next to the window and an outlet, so I spread out my computer, notebooks, and pens and went to the counter to order.
I’m usually partial to bagels and breakfast sandwiches at this time of day, but the Coffee Bean is more of a pastry kind of place. I’ve heard that muffins are one of those traps for people seeking to cut back on calories. You hear muffin and you think ‘Better than a donut,’ but they’re high in calories. Sometimes I pretend I don’t know this and I order one anyway. Other days, I order a scone.
Maybe I’m the last one on Earth to know this, but when I looked at the calorie label on the scones this morning, it blew my mind. At 530, they were higher in calories than the croissants (400)! The two pastries with the lowest calories were a mini cheese Danish (another surprise – I would’ve thought that would be higher) and the mini banana nut muffin, both at 190.
I'm now convinced that the new obsession with mini everything that seems to have overtaken the food universe has as much to do with calories as it does to do with cute – perhaps more so.
I settled on a mini muffin to go with my coffee. It seems like muffins have gotten sweeter and cakier in recent years. Or maybe they always were. Anyway, this one was surprisingly less cakey and sweet-sweet than most other banana nut muffins I’ve had, which made it just the right companion for my black-no-sugar coffee.
Total bill: $3.02