I am not a food elitist. Nay, my tongue is the prototypical plebeian populist. If he ran for office he would ride a wave a popular support that would make Obama circa 2008 jealous. You would want to have a beer with him. You’d want him to kiss your baby. Then like his Democract populist predecessors his campaign would end in tumult by banging the interns.
Good ol’ Joe Tounge is a man of simple pleasures, and therefore so am I, which is why I love Dunkin’ Donuts. If you’re from Massachusetts it’s been scientifically proven that you eat 40 percent of meals from the legendary breakfast chain. I have enjoyed damn near every single one of them. The elation of excitement that brilliant fluorescent menu draped above the donut section invokes has carried me through childhood and into my current state of advanced childhood. This list below was not made without a constant tinge of nostalgia, and a stronger tinge of hunger. I am excited, no, honored to bring you the best five items in the history of Dunkin’ Donuts decorated menu.
5. Coffee Coolatta
This shows you the strength of this list, that a living legend like the Coffee Coolatta would have four meals/drinks that best it. Is there a better summer refreshment not served in a plastic cup at Tias? I have not come across one if it exists.
When the Coolatta was first introduced, I was initially hesitant. Sure, the orange and mango flavors made sense, like fruit smoothies for the obese. But frozen, coffee-flavored sugar? It did not sound appealing.
That was before I realized whipped cream was in the equation. Whip cream is like your buddy when you’re feeling down, it immediately makes everything better; adding it to coffee was a stroke of pure genius, like your best buddy who has ADHD. Each time I go into a Dunkin’ Donuts just to use the bathroom and they make me order something first, I go with a small coffee coolatta and whipped cream.
My only criticism is what happens when you’re post-15 minutes into enjoyment, when natural processes start to mess around with the chemicals you are consuming, the result of which is an awkward mix of pure ice and whipped cream residue. It would give a Dove bar an ice cream headache. If D&D’s can fix that, then you’re looking at a potential top three item.
4. Chicken Parm Flatbread Sandwich
Dunkin’ Donuts issuing flat bread sandwiches is undoubtedly one of the most controversial decisions of the past 50 years. The top of that list looks like:
1. Roe v. Wade
2. The Bachelor chooses no one in season four
3. Dunkin’ Donuts enters the lunch market
The ham and cheese and turkey and bacon flatbreads were fine and dandy, but chicken parm was exceptional, particularly those bites right in the middle were you have the perfect combination of dough, poultry and tomatoes like you were chowing down on
a $874 cuisine in the North End.
I got the chicken parm most often at the Ma’s gas station in Bedford from 2006-2007. There was a nice little Indian lady who would serve me every day. She told me that every night after her shift she would bring one back for each one of children for dinner, and they never tired of it. Now, this is in no way an assumption based on stereotype, but I’m assuming that feeding her children required more than two chicken parms per night, a minimum of 15 per week. Jealously? Yup.
Why they discontinued chicken parm I will never understand. God (Fred the Baker) works in mysterious ways I suppose.
3. Chocolate Glazed Donut
Was George Washington the best president in our country’s history? Perhaps not. But he was there at the beginning, and that in of itself places him in the discussion. That same logic can be applied to D&D’s chocolate glazed donut.
I can not validate, but I am reasonably certain the chocolate glazed was my first Dunkin’ item, which is like listening to your first Beatles song. You’re not sure what you just experienced, but you knew it was amazing.
At 25 I still order one from time to time, as did my father and his father before him, and I am sure my son will do the same. When you bite into a chocolate glazed you’re biting into history. Hopefully it’s not literal history because I’ve also eaten a few donuts that have been sitting there for a day or so and that shit tastes like garbage.
2. Everything Bagel Breakfast Sandwich
My god. Wait, what just happened? What is this explosion of flavor sparkling in my mouth? Is this an exotic combination of herbs and meats that you read about in those classic novels of yore, only sold in the street markets of a foreign land? Was I just transported to au Paris, and I smartly told the bistro to “hold le croissant, sil vous plait Pierre?”
No, this is the everything bagel breakfast sandwich, and I’m in Somerville (and I just crafted Dunkin’ Donuts next advertising campaign. You’re paying me for this, Hill Holliday).
Without a doubt I have ordered an Everything more than any other item at Dunkins’. I have heard that smell is the most powerful of the senses in terms of memory recall, but I disagree, because I’m pretty sure I can remember every single time I have taken my first bite into this specialty. The Dunkin’ trips in Mashpee, Fairfield, Brighton, Brookline, Cambridge, Concord, the list goes on but they all include the everything bagel.
(On a quick aside, you can find the best Dunkin’ Donuts service in the Greater Boston area by far at the location on Canal St. outside the Garden. They remember what you want, make it great, and have a discussion with you while you wait, which is almost never more than a minute or two. The worst: There was a server at the Cleveland Circle spot who was there for a few months in 2008. His name, or at least what his name tag said, was Johnson, which makes me hope his last name was also, Johnson. That might explain his bitterness towards life. He would be on his cell phone all the time, and make whatever you ordered with one hand, naturally taking him twice as long. He had no love for the game, and his team’s performance subsequently suffered tremendously. Fuck you, Johnson Johnson.)
1. Caramel Swirl Iced Coffee
I am not proud to admit that I came across the caramel swirl purely by accident. Last winter I found myself in the drawls of a gingerbread swirl fix that can be best described as a debilitating addiction. It made sense that it was cold outside, because I was cold inside whenever I wasn’t sipping on an orange straw, and gingerbread, even iced, can warm your heart.
One horrible day in February they discontinued ginger bread. To get my fix I thought I might try caramel as a weak substitute, like a nicotine patch for those with the talk box in their throat. Well, Amazing Grace I was found, and my gingerbread shadow days are over.
If you have not treated yourself to a caramel swirl, drop what you’re doing right now and get to the nearest Dunkins’, which I have already calculated is less than 30 seconds from wherever you currently sit. The caramel-coffee combo is up there with the best ever, rivaling peanut butter and jelly, cookie dough and chocolate chips and Norm and Cliff as the best combination in world history.
The caramel swirl iced coffee, a delectable dessert-like delicacy, the delights of which only D&D’s can distribute daily. Will it be topped? Only time will tell, but I have a good feeling that the culinary connoisseurs they have hired over there at my favorite restaurant will work their magic again, and again, and again.