REVIEW: Dunkin’ Breakfast Taco

I think we’ve all gotten a little sloppy with our fast food naming conventions. Put something inside a tortilla shell and we’ll call it a taco. That’s pretty much what I was expecting from Dunkin’s new “Spring” item, the Breakfast Taco. I figured it would just be some eggs, cheese, maybe a little bacon, and…wait, Dunkin’ already makes that. It’s called the Wake-up Wrap, and it’s been on the menu for ages.

I was concerned: Was it possible that Dunkin’ was relaunching almost the exact same product under a different name? Who do they think they are, Taco Bell?

But no, Dunkin’ made something that’s not only different from its other offerings but hard to find anywhere in fast food breakfast land: a taco with a flavor profile that bespeaks its Mexican origins.

First, there are two versions: plain or with a bacon topping. I wanted to actually taste all of the subtle flavors without having to deal with that overbearing bacon flavor, so I went with the first option.

The taco starts with corn. Dunkin’ calls it “fire-roasted corn,” but it didn’t taste particularly roasted to me; it was just a pleasant, sweet flavor. Not overly sweet or syrupy, but just the natural sweetness of the vegetable. At first, the corn was so dominant that it was hard to discern the other flavors, but it’s a dish with surprising depth. I noticed more subtle flavor notes as I ate, which is an experience I don’t often get with breakfast food.

One of those subtle flavors is from the jalapenos. I need to be clear that this is not a very spicy item; the heat is mild and just quietly adds depth. Sometimes, when I make curry for dinner, I make it with only a smidgen of spices so that my spice-timid 7-year-old will eat it. That’s the kind of heat level this is: you know it’s there, and that’s enough.

I also picked out the herbaceous bite of cilantro, which adds a lot of brightness. More prominent is the melted sharp white cheddar cheese, which adds a dairy tang to the proceedings. It isn’t noticeable in every bite but offers a nice, salty contrast when it pops up.

Lastly, there is a “tangy” lime crema, but I only really tasted it at the very end of the taco, when all I had left was crema and a little tortilla. It could have just been my taco, or maybe the crema is another ingredient that is meant to be subtle.

Dunkin’ could have bunted the ball here and just made glorified scrambled eggs in a tortilla shell, but it went the extra mile and is offering customers a novel experience, not just different from other Dunkin’ menu items but different, period. Will it win out over more cheesy, eggy, bready foods in my personal breakfast rotation? Maybe. While I may not order it every time I go to Dunkin’, I’m really glad the option is there. I take my hat off to Dunkin’ for trying something new.

Purchased Price: $2.59
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 180 calories, 9 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 500 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Caramel Chocolate Cold Brew

You know that Coke commercial where people from around the globe gather to sing about how they’d like to buy the world a Coke and teach everyone to sing in harmony? Well, I would like to buy everyone (or at least those who enjoy sweetened iced coffee) a Caramel Chocolate Cold Brew from Dunkin’.

It features cold brew mixed with caramel chocolate syrup that’s topped off with a layer of chocolate cold foam and cocoa caramel sprinkles. I’m repeating the word cold, but this drink is firing on all cylinders. It’s so harmonious and an excellent example of a sweet coffee drink that still tastes like coffee and not a cup of sugar that may have coffee in it somewhere.

Taking it from the top, the cocoa caramel sprinkles are not traditional sprinkles. It looks like the drink has been scattered with pebbles, and this was no more apparent than when I set mine on a stoop to take a picture and it camouflaged perfectly. They’re sort of like the coating on those chocolate eclair ice cream bars but less solid. If you eat them at first, they feel a bit crunchy, like an ice cream topping, but I let some melt into the drink and found no trace of them at the bottom.

This tasty rubble is being admirably held up by a thick layer of chocolate cold foam that’s surprisingly stable. I’m often disappointed by drinks with cold foam because they’re great for the first sip or two, but then the foam just disappears. I was shocked that this foam held up while I walked with it for several blocks and maintained a presence on top for most of the time it took me to finish the drink. It was chocolatey and sweet without being overly so with a nice whipped consistency.

The majority of the drink is cold brew with a caramel chocolate syrup, and somehow despite all the additions here sounding like the makeup of a candy bar, this isn’t saccharine. The chocolate and caramel flavors accentuate and don’t overwhelm the cold brew. It tastes like drinking coffee but a sweeter and more indulgent variety than my everyday cup. Often the specialty drinks at Dunkin’ can feel more like dessert, but this one was smooth and coffee-centric with a pleasant bitterness that plays well with the cocoa and caramel notes.

As someone who usually takes their coffee less adorned but sometimes likes to have a sweeter version, this really struck a perfect balance. I have a terrible voice and could never teach anyone to sing, but if I had the funds to get everyone who likes iced coffee a Caramel Chocolate Cold Brew, I think I’d please people across the coffee consumer spectrum, and we’d all get caffeinated in harmony.

Caveat: I tried this a second time from a different Dunkin’ to totally different results. The cold foam was still great, but the cocoa caramel gravel was replaced with cinnamon sugar. The drink tasted disappointingly like straight chocolate syrup with little to no caramel or coffee. I would not want to buy anyone that, including myself.

Purchased Price: $5.19
Size: Medium
Purchased at: Dunkin’
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 220 calories, 4 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of total carbs, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 44 grams of total sugar (44 grams of added sugar), and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Stuffed Biscuit Bites

Dunkin’ has a new bite-sized breakfast snack, so naturally I had to review it.

I’m not sure why, but this has basically become my Bat Signal. If the folks there “Munchkinify” something new, I have to try it as soon as possible and share my dopey opinion with you fine folks online.

Stuffed Bagel Balls? Check.

Mini Pancakes? Got ’em.

Snack-sized Wake-up Wraps? Reviewed ’em.

Shot glasses full of cappuccino? Actually, they haven’t done this, and rightfully so. That would be a terrible idea.

Eh, who am I kidding? I’d be there in the first week ready and willing to give my review, just like I was for Dunkin’s new Stuffed Biscuit Bites.

As much as I wanna sit here and give a glowing review of these tasty little discs, I don’t know if I should because I’ve been bamboozled!

Dunkin’s Biscuit Bites are almost identical to the Omelet Bites I reviewed last year. When I took my first bite, I immediately knew I’d had these before. They’re almost literally a repackaging of the same product in a slightly different casing. I’ll be fair, though, and actually review the Biscuit Bites because, after all, I liked the Omelet Bites.

I would say these are a slight step down, mostly due to the dry and bready shell coating. They still have a nice texture, but I was hoping there would be a buttery Southern-style biscuit base. Instead, it’s more of a soft stuffed bread with a light biscuit flavor.

If you’ve ever had one of those giant crusty knishes from a Jewish deli, the exterior really reminded me of one of those. I prefer square fried knishes myself, but I also like those, so this isn’t a knock in terms of the flavor. It was just a little too dry for such a small presentation.

If an “egg knish” was a thing, this is it. Whereas I would douse my knish in mustard, the egg, cheese, and bacon interior of the Biscuit Bites wasn’t enough to fully overcome the dryness.

Like the Omelet Bites, the stuffed portion here tasted exactly like the inside of a Pillsbury Toaster Scramble. While the bacon isn’t really noticeable by the eye, the slightly artificial flavor is there in droves, and the cheesy eggs act as a nice glue to keep everything intact. Despite harping on the dryness, I was still pleasantly surprised these weren’t in any way mushy.

So, these are new, but not really?

Ultimately, I liked them, but these are just a carbed-up repackaging of an old idea. I’m still a sucker for the small bites, and these held me over for a few hours, as I expected.

There’s an offer all month in the app where you can get these for free with a drink order, so you might as well try them out.

If you liked the Omelet Bites and think the idea of an “egg knish” sounds fun, you’ll have a good time. I’d probably ask for some syrup or, forgive me, ketchup the next time I get these to moisten them up a bit.

Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: 2 Bites
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 260 calories, 13 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 690 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of total sugars, and 10 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Brown Butter Toffee Latte

If there was an intersection where coffee and toffee met, you’d find me in the middle, impatiently waiting for waves of espresso and the butter/sugar confection to crash into me. Before Ben & Jerry’s ruined it, its Coffee Heath Bar Crunch was my go-to ice cream, and I make batches of my own coffee toffee several times a year. Coffee and toffee play well together beyond just rhyming, and Dunkin’ is here to take advantage of that with its new Brown Butter Toffee Latte. The winter menu drink features your milk of choice plus “bold espresso and subtle brown butter and toffee flavor notes.”

When I removed the lid on the hot version, I was briefly thrown off by a bizarre orange hue around the edges until I realized this was the result of sprinkles that had melted into the drink. It definitely captures the aroma of toffee, and the flavor is rich and buttery with the latter being almost a little startling at times. Browned butter is delicious, but here and there, I got a sip that almost seemed like I was just drinking browned butter. It isn’t necessarily off-putting, but if anyone asked, you’d certainly have no trouble identifying what that flavor is. Apparently, Dunkin’ and I don’t have the same definition of “subtle.”

We also differ on the word “bold” because I wish the coffee was more present here. While packing a fair amount of sugar, the sweetness isn’t totally overwhelming for me. But I think it could be better balanced with a stronger coffee element or maybe a bit more molasses flavor for depth and bitterness. Overall though, these are minor quibbles because the toffee flavor is well executed, and the drink has a toasty, wintery vibe that’ll help comfort you in this post-holiday time when you’re forced to throw out your Christmas tree.

The iced latte is creamier and more mild tasting which can be good or bad depending on how much you enjoy the two main flavors here. It doesn’t smack me in the face with browned butter the way the hot version sometimes did; here, it is more subtle. The toffee smell is still strong, but the taste is toned down a bit. Not sure if you love toffee, but can get on board with caramel things? I’d go the iced route.

Both hot and iced drink like dessert beverages and less like your morning coffee. Neither achieves the highest levels that a coffee/toffee pairing can, but if you’re looking for a sweet way to usher in January, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in these cozy lattes.

Purchased Price: $4.29 (hot), $4.69 (iced)
Size: Medium
Rating: 8 out of 10 (hot), 7 out of 10 (iced)
Nutrition Facts: (Medium hot with whole milk) 280 calories, 9 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of total carbs, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 37 grams of total sugar (24 grams of added sugar), and 9 grams of protein. (Medium iced with whole milk) 280 calories, 9 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of total carbs, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 37 grams of total sugar (24 grams of added sugar), and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Bacon Avocado Tomato Sandwich

As a Millennial, I am contractually obligated to enjoy avocado toast, so the hearty bread-and-avocado combination is very familiar to me. However, this could more accurately be called a Tomato Tomato Tomato Bacon Avocado sandwich because the tomato totally takes over, the avocado under-performs, and the saltiness of the bacon only pokes through occasionally.

The thing is, if you had asked me before trying it what I thought the biggest flaw was likely to be, I would have said, “Not enough bacon.” So either I’m growing wise to the tricks the big snack chains use, or I am clairvoyant.

First, the bread. Dunkin’ uses a very chewy, substantial sourdough bread, and it’s really satisfying to eat. Unfortunately, I found it hard to take bites big enough to encompass the entire sandwich, often eating one slice of bread with the fillings at a time. People with normal-sized heads, as opposed to my tiny pinhead, will likely have better results. All that said, this is a very bread-forward sandwich, but fortunately, I like toasted bread a lot.

Next, the avocado: It’s there. That’s pretty much all I can say about it because the flavor is not very assertive. It’s not flavored like guacamole, so it’s just kind of a subtle goopiness that encompasses the sandwich. The soupy avocado does contrast nicely with the other textures, but you could probably take it out of the sandwich entirely and it wouldn’t change the experience much.

Next, the tomatoes; Oh God, the tomatoes. This thing is loaded to the gunnels with these fairly large, teardrop-shaped slices of oven-roasted tomato, which taste about halfway between sun-dried and regular tomatoes. They are also chewy and don’t split apart easily under your teeth, so you keep ending up with whole pieces in your mouth, where they must be masticated thoroughly before you can continue your sandwich-eating. They taste good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just a lot at once. Pieces of tomato also escaped out the other half of my sandwich, making a bit of a mess.

This is a pretty messy sandwich, but the sourdough bread is hearty enough to maintain its integrity when moistened, so your hands actually stay pretty clean; it’s your plate that gets messed up.

Finally, there’s the bacon. It’s a nice sensation when you get a crispy, salty piece of bacon standing up to the murky avocado and sweet-and-sour tomatoes, but it’s pretty rare. I think I only got a couple of bites of bacon in my entire sandwich.

Still, even with all my caveats, this was enjoyable. Is it good enough that I’m going to start ordering it instead of my beloved Sausage, Egg and Cheese on a Croissant at DD? Maybe if I’m in the mood for something a little healthier, but I have a feeling the sausage sandwich is going to win that battle most of the time.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 480 Calories, 18 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 1240 milligrams of sodium, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.