As a basic white girl, I have a deep love for Starbucks. Nothing makes me happier than a tall, loose leaf chai with a bit of almond milk. When I heard that Starbucks would be expanding their food menu, I freaked out and called my dad. Then I did some research and found out that they would be testing these new items first in Chicago (my hometown!). I called up a fellow Starbucks loving friend and we made our way downtown to try the new menu items.

The new menu features, according to Starbucks, "foods that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles from high protein to vegetarian and vegan. All items are made fresh and delivered daily using high-quality, flavorful ingredients." The menu is called Mercato, which means marketplace in Italian and it is currently being served at over 100 Starbucks locations in downtown Chicago. The new menu features a chicken za'tar salad, cauliflower tabouli, a seared steak and mango salad, a green goddess salad, a fig and chicken sandwich and many other delicious lunch options. 

After tasting a few of the new items, we can verify that these new lunch items are worth the hype. They are delicious, filling and a great addition to the Starbucks menu.

First up: Cauliflower Tabouleh

oil, spinach, salad
Madeleine Mason

This was my favorite item that I tried. It's fresh, filling, healthy and something I will definitely eat again. It's a great option for vegans, since most food options at Starbucks are not vegan-friendly. Also, it's something Gwyneth Paltrow would definitely eat and I am always down with that.

Next: Honey BBQ Sriracha Chicken

bread, pork, ham, sandwich
Madeleine Mason

According to my friend Abby, this sandwich is AH-MAY-ZING. It must be eaten hot, though. A cold sriracha sandwich does not make for a happy eater. This was her favorite of everything we ate. For any meat eaters out there, get a Honey BBQ Sriracha sandwich during your next lunch break.

Next: Herbed Chicken & Fig Spread

juice, beer
Madeleine Mason

This sandwich was not the most well-liked. Abby said it was way too sweet and had a weird combination of flavors. She described it as a "soccer mom sandwich." So, take that however you'd like. 

Next: Burrata and Basil Pesto

italian dressing, vegetable, beer, salad dressing, juice
Madeleine Mason

By this point, I was kind of done. The tabbouleh was sitting in my stomach, telling me to stop eating. So, maybe that affected how I felt about the burrata sandwich. It was fine — it tasted fresh and yummy. But, overall, it was just, meh. 

Overall, I'd say that the new Starbucks menu is awesome. There are so many more items to explore, like the almond butter and jelly sandwich and the green goddess salad, but my options as a vegan are limited. I was pushing it with the burrata sandwich — it didn't sit well with me for the rest of the day. But that had nothing to do with the way Starbucks prepared or handled their food, it was just my inability to digest whey protein. 

If you are not vegan, I highly recommend checking out the new Mercato menu in Chicago. The food options are great and made fresh every day. Hopefully soon, it will expand outside Chicago and others will be able to enjoy the new flavor of Starbucks.