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REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Peeps Donut

Written by | April 23, 2014

Topics: 3 Rating, Dunkin Donuts, Fast Food

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut Peep Donut

7:30 in the morning and fresh from the dusty, diesel-packed streets of the Bowery, I swung into the Dunkin’ Donuts, dodging the heating lamps of hash browns and the baskets of 99 cent danishes. I sought neither the jelly-puffed munchkin nor the swirls in the Butter Pecan Latte. Nay, I came for one thing and one thing alone: a torus-shaped chunk of fried dough topped with an artificially colored marshmallow.

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut Smooshed Peep face

Is it a chicken? A warbler? An artist’s interpretation of a Saffron Finch? Much like the Hero’s Journey to the center of the Tootsie Roll, the world may never know what the true breed the Peep “chickadee” is (then again, I’m not a very good ethnographer). What I do know is that each little plop of Dunkin’s dough is topped with one of these aviary escapees, not to mention being doused in a glaze of sugar and artificial colors, which reminds me of Fruity Pebbles, which reminds me of Childhood Joy. So it stands to conclude that this doughnut is made out of Joy, right?

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut Sawdust cake

The doughnut comes out with all the vibrancy of a Lisa Frank commercial and its 21 grams of sugar gives an equally vibrant kick in the pants. As hoped for, the anticipated sugar glaze hits first, tasting of little more than the joy of refined, gritty sugary-ness with a hint of vanilla extract. It’s layered on moderately thick and there’s a little crunch as you bite into the softened glaze as it softens and dissolves into a gritty, sweet mess (the best mess there is). This fructose-laden rainbow-brick-road paves the way as you chomp towards the epicenter that is the Peep. You have the option to eat your Peep as you choose. Just remember: that special feeling that comes with chomping the head of a Peep? No one can take that away from you.

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut One day, this Peep's ghost will seek vengeance on me

The speed bump in the sugary journey came as I bit into the piece of yeast dough. Dry. Pasty. Stiff. This was not Joy. “Did I come in on a bad morning?” I asked myself. “Is the fryer on the fritz? Has a ill-willed goblin from the 7th dimension taken over the Dunkin’ Donut kitchen? BAH! How do I handle ill-willed goblins? What do they have against doughnuts? And how will I be able to attain a mass-marketed piece of adequately fried dough in light of my incapacity to handle a species I’ve yet to understand?”

These questions were left unanswered as I gnawed my way to the center of the dry piece of bread, each bite bringing only more disappointment. Sure, I always hope for a sugary, dense cake, but even a slightly fresh, modestly moist cake will do. I’ve even been known to take day-old doughnuts and plop them in the microwave to give ‘em a little kick in the fluff. But this? This was overcooked, even cottony, tasting more like stale Wonder Bread. Wonder Bread tossed in sawdust. Combined with the Peep and it was like chomping a slightly stretchy piece of sugar-coated Styrofoam, the little crumbs of dried out cake spewing dried-out shrapnel every which way. Perhaps a slightly denser cake doughnut may have stood the test better? I don’t know, but I fear this one just didn’t cut it for me.

Thankfully, I had a hot chocolate at the ready because what goes better with a bird-shaped marshmallow than a frothy beverage of molten cocoa? I would suggest you consider doing the same: grab yourself a coffee, a Cookie Dough Coolata, whatever joe suits your fancy. While dry on its own, the pastry makes excellent dunking material (this is Dunkin’ after all). The beverage adds a bitter, sharp bite to the sugar onslaught while filling in the nooks of hardened dough with a little bit of moisture and caffeine. You will be happy. Your Peep will be happy. The goblins of the 7th dimension will be happy.

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut Peep protects its territory

Have a sweet tooth? Or ten? Do all of them crave straight sugar laced with sugar that tastes of sugar on a dry piece of bread? If you answered yes to all of the above, the Peeps doughnut is here for you. While I admire the seasonal charm, the colors threaten to blind your sensitive eyeballs and the dry cake is just blee-blah-bloo. In the future, I’ll steer clear of this one, but again…seasonal. It’s a good idea, DD, but I spoke to the Easter bunny this weekend and he told me he’s looking for a Girl Scout Cookie doughnut to deliver next year. So how ‘bout it Dunkin’: Will you heed the bunny’s call?

(Nutrition Facts – 310 calories, 130 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Peeps Donut
Purchased Price: $1.09
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Corn syrup! Fructose! Bright colors! Slight crunch from the glaze. Poofy marshmallow. Stretchy marshmallow. Marshmallow dunked in hot chocolate. Childhood Joy.
Cons: Bright colors may result in blindness. Dry dough. Stale Wonder Bread tossed in sawdust. Still wondering: how many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Goblins of the 7th dimension. Me not being a good ethnographer.

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REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich

Written by | March 13, 2014

Topics: 4 Rating, Dunkin Donuts, Fast Food

Dunkin Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich

11:32 a.m.

The Weinstein Company

Pitch meeting

Harvey: Let’s hear it.

Kevin: Okay, so the Chronologizer draws historically evil people from the universe and gives them a chance for redemption. They are put on a time-traveling super team with state-of-the-art technology and zoom around righting the wrongs that are being perpetuated by the destructive Future Lord. The fabric of time-space is on the line. And here’s the kicker: They’re called the Benedicts. And they’re all named Benedict.

There’s Benedict Arnold, revolutionary war leader and defector—a hand wringing traitor. His two-faced attempt to surrender as a general revealed him to be a sniveling backstabber. Then there’s Pope Benedict XVI. A Hitler Youth as a child, Benedict later in life became the leader of a Catholic Church that attempted to whitewash evidence of rampant pedophilia. And Benedict Cumberbatch.

Harvey: Okay, this one…

Kevin: Just look into his eyes.

Harvey: But…

Kevin: Just look into his eyes. Everyone sees it. He’s Khan! He’s Smaug! This guy is some reptile half-breed for sure. He’s gonna play villains for the next twenty years of his career. He’s evil. Just look into his eyes.

Harvey: And what is this over here?

Kevin: This, my dear man, is the Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich. I had one the other day.

Harvey: It’s evil?

Dunkin Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich 2

Kevin: Let me finish. It looks innocuous, like a regular breakfast sandwich that you’d get at McDonald’s or Burger King or, hell, Dunkin’ Donuts. But at first bite, the English muffin is kinda tough and dry, not soft and chewy like a McMuffin.

The texture wouldn’t be a complete deal breaker, but they put so much “hollandaise flavored spread” (that’s what they call it, since it’s not real hollandaise) on the sandwich it’s like squeezing two pieces of plywood together with cookie dough in the middle. It gets all over the place. The amount of sauce they slop on is like Dunkin’ Donuts is passively angry with us. It’s not even a great sauce. The texture is a little like a cross between old mayonnaise and Elmer’s glue. It’s got a creamy taste with a lemony finish (and contains zero eggs), and tries to emulate a real hollandaise with a laboratory mix of butter and cheese. Instead of coming off as zesty, though, the goopy sauce tastes sour.

The actual eggs in the sandwich are decent, with a nice separation of orange-y egg yolk and egg white that makes me think it’s not completely processed. The black forest ham is lost in the shuffle—the sauce is too strong and it overpowers the sandwich. It all ends up tasting like what would happen if a chef described Eggs Benedict to an alien and then it tried to make it once. It’s not spit-out-of-mouth disgusting. It’s more like an I-wouldn’t-buy-this-again snorefest.

Harvey: A so-so Eggs Benedict.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s about right.

Harvey: How is that evil?

Kevin: Okay. If mediocrity is the mother of boredom, and boredom is the mother of evil, then…boom. That’s a Kierkegaard quote, I think. You don’t want to argue with that guy.

Harvey: Let me get this straight. Benedict Arnold, Pope Benedict XVI, Benedict Cumberbatch, and a Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Sandwich travel through time to save the universe and redeem themselves in the process.

Kevin: Yeah. Arnold is like the munitions guy, the Pope is the loose cannon, Cumberbatch is the disguise guy and the sandwich is the muscle. Oh, and they are assembled by Terry Benedict, Andy Garcia’s fictional casino mogul from Ocean’s 11. Terry is like their Bosley.

Harvey: Do you have anyone currently tied to this project?

Kevin: Yeah, we have interest from Clooney to play the Pope, and the sad dude from The Office who was in love with Erin to play Benedict Cumberbatch. We were thinking we could go a different direction and get Idris Elba to play Arnold. We’re in talks.

Harvey: Can you get an Egg McMuffin to play the Dunkin’ Donuts sandwich?

Kevin: It would take a few hours in the prosthetics chair every morning, but I think we can do that.

Harvey: All right, then. Congratulations. I think we’re eyeing a 2016 release. Let’s make a movie.

(Nutrition Facts – 300 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 grams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Not outwardly disgusting. Eggs possess a nice texture.
Cons: Hollandaise flavored spread all over your lap, sour-y and not fresh tasting. A one-note sandwich—it just tastes like sauce. English muffin is a bit tough.

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REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Red Velvet Latte

Written by | December 19, 2013

Topics: 5 Rating, Dunkin Donuts, Fast Food

Dunkin' Donuts Red Velvet Latte

I’m a man who likes my coffee black, espresso sans milk and if I need to spike it with anything, bourbon will do over the Irish cream. Putting sugar in my coffee is like stamping the head of a penis on my forehead. I really do not like that.

What I really like…In fact, what I really love is red velvet cake and I’m particular about it. The cream cheese frosting is everything to me. A tad savory and not too sweet is a hard act to juggle (like tastefully mushroom stamping someone on the forehead). It’s a perfect combination of taste and sight as the red cake, contrasted with the ivory frosting, draws most people’s attention.

Red velvet cake is like carrot cake’s more complicated poetry writing sister who wears black horn-rimmed glasses and still listens to Bikini Kill. The ingredients are not as mosaic as carrot cake because it’s simply a chocolate cake with red dye. Yet it is deceptively simple because the flavors evoke an umami-like profile, mostly in thanks to the cream cheese frosting.

But drinking a red velvet cake? The flavored coffee drinks and lattes are blurring the lines since a lot of them taste like variations of milkshake flavors. I don’t know…maybe if you like those so much, you really don’t enjoy coffee.

Ah…Who am I to judge? Yet, I don’t think you do because the coffee/espresso flavors are often buried underneath that heavy syrup. It makes me sad because it’s the same as drowning a ribeye in steak sauce or when the priest guy got buried in The Omen (1976 version, damn it still haunts me).

It’s like when people tell me they love whiskey and then say there’s a great honey or an apple pie variant. Why don’t you just tell me to “do my mom in the garage” instead? With all due respect, it’s gross.

I don’t want my whiskey flavored any more than my coffee and I’m not sure I want to consume a red velvet cake that requires no chewing.

However, not to be outdone by Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts is really trying to make a dent with its own lattes. Some hit, others miss as miserable as Spike Lee’s version of Oldboy. Honestly, have you seen that dreck?

Needless to say, I was a bit more repulsed when I heard Dunkin’ Donuts created a Red Velvet Latte but my senses were dulled by Sharlto Copley’s manic and awful acting, I needed some sort of stimulus so I can feel again. I haven’t seen this over the top acting since Dominic West’s “Jigsaw” in Punisher War Zone (Best line, “I don’t speak vampire” to some Russian thugs).

It also doesn’t help the coffee looked like the remnants of a liver that was soaking in milk to mellow that “nickel” flavor. You ever see that stuff? It looks like eraser remnants mixed with milk.

Despite the pinkish brown color of the coffee, the wafting scent of a deep roasted espresso was enticing. It permeated the air around me and I thought, “This ain’t so bad.” The temperature radiating nicely in my hand was at the Goldilocks zone of just right. Dunkin’ Donuts seems to be pretty consistent on the hot temperatures of their coffees. I have to give them big ups for that.

Upon my first sip, I was surprised at the subtle flavor of the cream cheese frosting. It was shockingly yummy. It was followed by mellow yet rich milk chocolatey tones that washed away the frosting taste.

Although pleasant, I enjoyed that the cream cheese frosting flavor does not linger. However, what does hang around like a clingy in-law is the overwhelming sweetness of the coffee. Most drinks such as these, whether it’s from Starbucks or your local coffee house, falls victim to the gummy sugary dreck that chokes the coffee with no remorse.

The latte was akin to an over the top CGI action film where “bullet time” is used so much, it bores or annoys you to death (i.e. The God-awful Underworld series). With each subsequent sip, the sweetness was magnified to the point I got those awful “tingles” in my cheeks. It’s too bad because I was hoping to like this drink.

I would definitely recommend trying it since you have to experience “sipping” on cream cheese frosting, but the novelty wears off immediately due to the heavy handed sweetness that encompasses the entire latte. If Dunkin’ Donuts would dial the sweetness back, I would order this again. Besides, there are other coffee drinks I would rather inflict on myself before this one.

(Nutrition Facts – small with skim milk – 180 calories, 5 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 35 grams of sugars, and 8 grams of protein)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Red Velvet Latte
Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: Small (10 oz.)
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Cream cheese flavors are subtle and nice. The roasted espresso smell is there. Original movies are mostly better. Milk-chocolate taste is rich yet mellow. Sharlto Copley in The A-Team.
Cons: Too damned sweet. The pinkish brown color is disgusting. Remakes of foreign films mostly suck. You’ll get a better experience eating a red velvet cake and downing it with coffee. Sharlto Copley in Oldboy.

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REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Angus Steak Big N’ Toasted Sandwich

Written by | September 23, 2013

Topics: 3 Rating, Dunkin Donuts, Fast Food

Dunkin’ Donuts Angus Steak Big N’ Toasted Sandwich

Every few months or so, some poor “high-end” food product makes the jump from pretentious to a diluted all-audience nature. It gets filtered through a wood chipper and then a toilet so in the end it no longer resembles the actual item. All this for the sake of mass consumption. Therefore, not only does it lose its pompous aura (which is fine by me), but its unique characteristics as well (which is not okay at all).

Remember Wendy’s bragging about its fries being sprinkled with sea salt? Give me a break if you’re expecting it to be the actual harvested finishing salts chefs preen about.

Kobe beef, with its already dubious nature in what can actually be called Kobe, is another victim. Kobe hot dogs? Kobe hamburgers? My eyes rolled so much that you would swear I had two lazy eyes or was the inspiration for the guy that graces each Mad Libs cover.

Another example is Kobe beef’s less-complicated, but just as maligned, American cousin, the Angus. This poor bastard is being passed around faster than a cotton towel at an orgy. I’m guessing the “certification” for Angus beef is low enough that even Stephen Hawking can jump over it. Okay, that’s a tasteless cheap shot that’s just as tasteless as the Dunkin’ Donuts Angus Steak Big N’ Toasted.

I commend Dunkin’ Donuts for attempting to separate itself from the pack by using Texas Toast for its sandwiches. The thick bread borders on overindulgence, but is perfect for capturing runny eggs and butter. Some people prefer wheat or pumpernickel, I lust after Texas Toast.

I mean c’mon!!! It’s Texas Toast, steak, eggs and cheese. You know what’s better than sliced bread? Sliced bread with beef, cheese and egg in between it. So what can go wrong? Apparently, if you make a living primarily selling donuts, then a hell of a lot.

Look, I’m a big fan of their Texas Toast Grilled Cheese. Its buttery and flaky toast and melted cheese makes me act like those monkeys in the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Dunkin’ Donuts Angus Steak Big N’ Toasted Sandwich Angus

But stupid me because I was expecting the same from this new sandwich. I opened it immediately to look at this “Angus” steak and it had the natural color of a cadaver stuffed under a house because he didn’t pay his bets on time. It was charmingly grayish and resembled an unsauced Salisbury meatloaf concoction served at all the finest detention centers.

The steak also had an overwhelming artificial smokey taste. The texture itself was flaccid and rubbery, two things I don’t want my meat to feel like. The worst part? The beef was chewy. Not Mentos candy-chewy, but chewy like the bits resting on the bottom of a beef jerky pouch.

Dunkin’ Donuts Angus Steak Big N’ Toasted Sandwich Split

Dunkin’ Donuts Angus Steak Big N’ Toasted Sandwich Egg

The toast had the dampness of a basement, but it was sufficiently buttered. The two eggs only helped in taking your hopes, smashing them, and then pissing on the remains. The eggs were laughably fake looking, like a Fisher Price plastic fried egg toy. Another thing, it had an unnatural powdery texture and lacked any of the richness an egg normally has. It was also mealy and it disintegrated in my mouth into a sandy mush.

Most things can be saved by melted cheese since it provides an extra boost of flavor and texture, which was sorely missing in this sandwich. Unfortunately, there was so little cheese, all I could taste was fake smoke and a bland egg that broke apart into grainy beads in my mouth. It was like a bad French kiss between bread.

I’ve eaten the McDonald’s Angus burgers, so I know fast food “Angus” can be achieved with some success. But it’s as if Dunkin’ Donuts is the fat kid in gym class looking at the rope their meathead teacher is telling them to climb.

Finally, what really kicked me in the balls was the price — $4.29. I haven’t felt this ripped off since I was conned into buying Viagra from Mexico.

(Nutrition Facts – 620 calories, 34 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 180 milligrams of cholesterol, 1290 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 34 grams of protein)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Angus Steak Big N’ Toasted Sandwich
Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Texas Toast. Having the option to buy a donut instead. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sufficiently buttered toast. Soft drinks from Mexico.
Cons: Texas Toast. Artificial smoke flavor. Rubbery grey beef. 2010: The Year We Make Contact. The powdery egg that looks fake. Small amount of cheese. Pharmaceuticals from Mexico.

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REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Donut

Written by | September 17, 2013

Topics: 4 Rating, Dunkin Donuts, Fast Food

Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Pie Donut

If I were to brainstorm the myriad amount of ways in which an autumnal delicacy like pumpkin pie could be improved upon, I’m fairly certain deep-frying it would be at the top of the list.

Luckily, Dunkin’ Donuts is saving me from the prospect of attempting such an endeavor in the privacy, but not-completely-covered-by-insurance confines, of my own kitchen by introducing a new Pumpkin Pie Donut as part of their seasonal fall menu. Unlike the classic pumpkin cake donuts, which every grocery store in America features this time of year, the new Pumpkin Pie Donut features a “pumpkin pie flavored, buttercreme-filled yeast shell” that’s topped with white icing and graham cracker crumbles. And because it’s a donut, it is of course caressed by the loving embrace of hot fryer oil.

I tend to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of Dunkin’ Donuts products, although I’ve often found their donuts to be on the small side. This donut is no exception, although I suppose my arteries would appreciate not being subjected to an actual fried pumpkin pie, and instead getting off for a more “modest” 380 calorie donut. In any event, an initial bite of the edges of the donut leaves a lot to be desired; namely in the whole pumpkin pie department.

Perhaps my donut had the unfortunate luck of sitting around in the store for too long, or perhaps I tend to hold my yeast-raised donuts to higher than mass-produced standards, but the plain shell lacked the airy spring of a really good yeast donut, and tasted only of that characteristic dough and nutmeg aftertaste that’s present in most of Dunkin’s donuts.

But who are we kidding? Obviously there’s no reason just to nibble around the yeast shell, no more so than there’s reason to just nibble on the crust of an actual pumpkin pie. We bite into donuts and pies, and what’s the first thing most of us chomp through when it comes to actual pumpkin pie? The whipped cream, of course.

Dunkin’s white icing might share a similar color with the traditional and sweet accouterment to pie, but that’s about all they share. Cloyingly sweet and unnaturally hardened, the icing might work on a sugar cookie, but here the glycerol flavor overpowers and clashes with the doughy interior and buttercreme filling. The graham cracker crumbs were thankfully crunchy and plentiful, but they lacked a distinct cinnamon flavor and instead tasted too much like a boring old frozen pie crust.

Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Pie Donut Inside

The only authentic pumpkin flavor comes from the buttercreme filling. While it’s filled with plenty of questionable ingredients that might not make their way into a traditional buttercream (nothing says homemade like Yellow 5 and Guar Gum!), the faux buttercreme has a delightful pumpkin flavor complete with all those sweet warming spices like cinnamon and ginger. The only problem is that the texture, which dissolves on the tongue like the way Cool Whip would do, is unfulfilling. Speaking of filling or lack thereof, my completely trigonometric challenged eyes estimated the creme only took up about a third of the volume within the shell. That’s like a pie that’s two-thirds crust and only a third filling!

Dunkin’ Donuts had a real opportunity to add to their pumpkin-flavored product line with this donut, but they screwed it up. Maybe they didn’t screw it up as bad as me trying to create a fried pumpkin pie by dropping a frozen Marie Callender’s pie into a Dutch oven of boiling shortening, but definitely to the point of making a donut not worth buying again.

(Nutrition Facts – 380 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

*Made with partially hydrogenated oil.

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Donut
Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Aesthetically pleasing. Authentic pumpkin flavor in the “buttercreme.” Only a dollar. Not having to attempt to fry a frozen pumpkin pie and burn my home down.
Cons: Cloying white icing that tastes like some chemical I can’t pronounce. Dense and tasteless shell. Graham cracker crumbles lack cinnamon flavor. Poor interior coverage of buttercreme filling. Attempting to apply mathematical concepts to donut fillings.

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