This article is part of our Real-Money Stock Picks series.

It's been an interesting earnings season so far. Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) landed in the camp of companies that presented quarterly tidings that disappointed investors due to global weakness and other economic factors.

Like Chipotle (Nasdaq: CMG) last week, Starbucks' quarterly results were good, just not good enough. Plus, Starbucks' forecast for next year was weaker than analysts' expectations due to macroeconomic conditions across the globe.

Starbucks' fiscal third-quarter operating income increased 22% to $492 million; earnings per share jumped 19% to $0.43 per share. Total revenue gained 13% to $3.3 billion, while global same-store sales rose a healthy 6%, including a 7% increase in the U.S.

Investor sentiment toward companies like Starbucks and Chipotle has been choppy recently. Starbucks and Chipotle may have disappointed investors who expected more, but Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFM) blew the doors off and reported an incredibly robust quarter. Panera Bread (Nasdaq: PNRA) also reported an excellent quarter, which was met with a surge in its stock price.

Starbucks, Chipotle, and Whole Foods are all stocks I have purchased for the socially progressive real-money portfolio I'm managing for Considerable decreases in stock prices for both Starbucks and Chipotle simply signal a better time for investors to buy in, and those of us who already hold them -- and call ourselves long-term investors, not traders -- should count to 10 and remember not to sweat the short term.

Panera Bread is another stock I have occasionally eyed for the portfolio. I can't say its current price tantalizes me, though. I'm waiting for some temporary pessimism, similar to what has befallen Starbucks and Chipotle.

When it comes to Starbucks specifically, the stock's now trading at just 20 times forward earnings, and let's not forget, Starbucks has some interesting growth-oriented initiatives up its metaphorical sleeve. Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, the new Starbucks Refreshers product line, and a deal with Coinstar (Nasdaq: CSTR) to distribute its Seattle's Best Coffee through thousands of "Rubi" kiosks throughout the U.S. are among the interesting ways Starbucks is planning for the future.

Things may feel panicky for some companies right now, but smart investors will persevere -- and take advantage of price weakness to buy up shares of the best American companies.

Is Starbucks not your cup of tea, so to speak? Our analysts have dubbed one retailer "The Top Stock for 2012," and it's a stock you may have never heard of. Click the link for your free report.  

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.