Recently my friend Tom posted “Ok I’m finally going to say it Dunkin Donuts Sucks”
Well, the faux backlash was immediate. It was a modern day social
media excommunication. Responses ranged from “you’re wrong” to “
WARNING everyone: do not indulge this heathen child” to “go fuck
One of our mutual friends messaged me and told me to never talk to him again.
Now of course most of this is in jest, but as with all snarky humor
there is of course an underlying sliver of true feelings.
Today I got involved “Ima go on the record here and back up Tom”. Boy did I get immediately lambasted.
Let’s start from the beginning…sort of.
I used to be as much of a supporter of Dunkin Donuts as the next guy
on the T. I also used to weigh 300+ lbs. I also used to shovel my
driveway for hours after the weekly snowstorms in Boston.
Things change. Palates develop and people discover options that
better suit their needs.
This is not to say that Dunkin Donuts doesn’t deserve the praise
heaped onto it by former New England residents now living on the left
But let’s not mistake culinary superiority with homesickness.
Dunkin Donuts is synonymous with Boston for myself and most of my friends.
The Red Sox, Emerson, The Green Line, Pats, C’s, The Public Garden, 4th of
July and Dunks, are some of the images that flash in my mind when I
think of my 12 years in Boston,
Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes Dunkin Donuts the best
coffee shop ever.
My realization happened about a month ago when I was in Philadelphia for
one of my best friend’s wedding. As SOON as I got off the plane I was
greeted by a a Dunkin Donuts in the terminal. I was elated. It had
been months since I had had a real cup of Dunks at a Dunks. I got in
line. And my mouth began to water.
Wait, time for a Memento Flashback
8 months ago; the last time I had had Dunks was in Las
Vegas with my brother. I was in the middle of the beginning of my
recent weight loss (55 lbs thus far) I approached the counter and
ordered what I always have ordered, since I was 17. a medium regular
iced French Vanilla. I anxiously waited. It arrived. I took a sip.
And almost spit it out. It was a milkshake. It was 8 ounces of “cream” (their “half and half” is not actually “half and half” it’s more like “one and a half and half”) 8 ounces of coffee and about 2 ounces of sugar. It was thick and so sweet my newly developed sensitive taste buds just could not handle it.
Let me be clear: I am not saying that anyone who still enjoys DD has bad taste. I am saying that I have forgone the sweet for the savory when it comes to coffee. I enjoy the actual taste of coffee, with just a touch of 2% milk and little to no sweetener.
Back to Vegas: I was a little distraught at my taste buds revolting against my brain and the sweet memories associated with the pink and orange cups I had grown to adore. I didn’t know what to do, so I “toughed” it out and nursed the drink on my way home (I am notorious for taking 4 hours to drink an iced coffee, sometimes only finishing half of it).
Back to Philadelphia: So here I am in line at the airport, and I realize that since then I drink barely sweetened coffee with very little milk
Boston, 2008-2010, My 2 roommates and I would walk to Dunks down the street from our house in a suburb of Boston to get our daily fix of Dunks. I would order my aforementioned “Regulah French Vaniller”, Walker who can’t do dairy would order his black with sugar, and Steve would order his with skim milk and splenda. The funny thing was that we ridiculed Steve for not ordering his coffee like a man. We even created a faux Twitter handle for him because of it. (Yes, it was @gaycoffeeman…please glaad don’t kill me)
Back to Philadelphia: I approached the cashier and ordered a medium iced French Vanilla, 2% and 1 sugar. I anxiously waited. It arrived. I took a sip.
And almost spit it out. It was so bland. Actually tasted like dirty water. It had no flavor and wasn’t strong at all. My mind screamed at the thought of something I held on such a high pedestal crashing down and shattering into a million pieces.
It was true. Dunkin Donuts coffee just didn’t have enough flavor for me and was certainly not strong enough.
In the last 16 months since moving to Los Angeles I had developed a routine of ordering an iced coffee with a splash of sweetener and a bit of 2% milk. Partly because that meant my drink of choice was only 70 calories (instead of 250-300 for the Dunks Version) and partly because I really like the taste of strong coffee.
Now, naysayers have said that Starbucks coffee is too strong and tastes burnt…and I absolutely respect that opinion. My father swore off “American” coffee and always made his own in one of those old (American’s call it espresso) stovetop kettles. When I was a kid, it tasted like sludge. Things change. Palates develop and people discover options that better suit their needs. Now it’s delicious.
It’s all about what you like balanced with where you are from.
Boston, 2003 In college my friend Landon would absolutely RAVE about this burger joint, The Apple Pan, to anyone that would listen. And Landon, who was not short winded, would go on and on and on and on about how this was the best burger ever.
I found myself in LA with him in 2005 and one of the first things we did was go to the Apple Pan. Los Angeles pride and joy burger joint. (This was before burgers became the new sushi out here and tripled in cost) We sat down. I ordered. I anxiously waited. It arrived. I took a bite.
It was ok.
I tried as hard as I could to not disappoint Landon, but he saw right through it. (I’ve since disappointed him many times. I blame this as the launching point)
Point is, he grew up with The Apple Pan and he had an allegiance that would never break. That is how many Transplants out here feel about Dunks. It’s safe and an instant reminder of Home.
Back to Today: The backlash continues against Tom and Myself for posting these thoughts. Here are some gems thus far
“I’m appalled. Didn’t think you’d turn into a west coast sell-out.”
“I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed”
“Consider yourself crucified by Bolivian law! They have your picture now… if you ever set foot on Bolivian soil you shall be flogged with impunity for this blasphemy” - this one is funny because the friend is actually Bulgarian
These are all clearly funny. But a few jab a bit too much. Someone called me a “Hollywood Sellout” and also added the wonderful “Go Fuck Yourself” at the end.
That’s where I draw the line.
It’s not like you see me in Laker urine and purple, or rooting for LA’s football team.
It just means that I prefer my coffee from Seattle, while wearing my Boston Jersey in Los Angeles. It just means that I have an affinity for a stronger roast than most of the people back home. It just means that I still bleed Boston in everything I do out here. I just don’t bleed sugary creamy water in a cup.
America doesn’t run on Dunkin Donuts.
A large portion east of the Mississippi does.
Would it be different if DD was out here? I don’t know. I had to find an alternative and that alternative worked out pretty well. So well ,in fact, that when I went back to DD, it just didn’t satisfy me the way that it used to. Long distance relationships never…ever work out. Sorry Dunks, She has more flavor. She’s stronger. She’s here.
Maybe you should have come out here with me.