Their slogan is “America runs on Dunkin’.” Well, I don’t know about that, but I can affirm that Boston runs on Dunkin’. Seriously, though, it’s ridiculous. There are Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants all over the place. I know one area near Chinatown where there are two Dunkins located literally one block from each other. One block! I mean, honestly!
But I suppose in some ways this makes sense. The first Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Quincy, Massachusetts, just south of the city, in 1948. It was at first called Open Kettle, but then the name was changed to Dunkin’ Donuts in 1950. So this classic breakfast franchise has its roots here. I guess it’s only to be expected that I should find a Dunkin’ along the way on my journey down Centre Street. But after having to go to Subway last time, I am ready to move on from these franchises. Nevertheless, as I said in the last blog, I must press on in fulfillment of my duty.
Upon entering the Dunkin’ Donuts, I notice that it is rather more cramped than most locations. I don’t recall tables and chairs, though there probably were some somewhere. I step up to the counter and address the gentleman at the register.
“What is your personal favorite item on the menu?” I include the word “personal” hoping that this might make it easier to answer. It seems that people don’t like to tell me what is their favorite for fear that I won’t like it, but I hope that by saying “personal favorite,” I might be able to emphasize that I am intentionally looking for an opinion. So does it work? Well, I’ll have to wait to try another time. The man, looking up at the menu, tells me that his religion does not allow him to eat pork, so he cannot really answer my question. That’s a pretty fair answer. I respect that. So I try a different tack: “What would you say is the most popular item on the menu?”
The response is a bit disappointing, “Everyone orders differently. People order all sorts of things.”
I’m not really making any progress. I look over to the other worker and ask him if he has a personal favorite. He, too, is unable to eat pork. But he throws out several suggestions for things. The trouble is, I can’t work with several suggestions; I need something more concrete. I am trying to figure out what I am going to do. Perhaps I should come back another time and try again with someone else?
Then, one of the workers asks me, “Do you not come to Dunkin’ very often?” His tone is a bit confused and incredulous: How could I live in Boston and not know what to order at Dunkin’ Donuts? If it’s not un-American, it’s definitely un-Bostonian. I’m about to explain my blog when a police officer enters, hits me with a Taser, and handcuffs me. Just kidding. Wanted to make sure you were paying attention.
But seriously, a police officer enters, so I think maybe I’ve got another shot. “Sir, do you have a personal favorite here?”
“Everything,” he chuckles. I am less amused. Not helpful. Fortunately, he continues. “The Bacon Ranch Chicken is pretty good. It’s what I usually get.”
Now that is something I can work with. What’s more, it was something on the list of menu items that the worker had rattled off earlier. And to top it all off—bacon. If you know me at all, you might be inclined to think that I’m addicted to bacon. I don’t know that I would disagree. I’m in therapy. They’ve tried to break the habit using turkey bacon. As you can probably guess, that did not work.
Anyhow, I order the Bacon Ranch Chicken with hash browns. Total is $5.11 with tax.
I go home, which is very close by. First, I go for the hash browns. Six half-dollar-sized hash browns. I like hash browns. They’re sort of a more classy tater tot. These hash browns are a bit squishy, whereas I prefer a more crunchy texture. They have a pretty good flavor, though. There is some sort of seasoning or spice on them that is a pretty good addition. Hash browns can be rather bland, but these really aren’t.
Now for the sandwich. I bite in. Initial reaction: it tastes fine. I know that’s not very descriptive, but it is not anywhere near fantastic and nor is it awful. Just…fine. I can’t really taste the cheese. The bacon is paper thin and all but flavorless. The only thing I can really taste is the chicken, which is good, but it’s also dry. The ranch does contribute some to the overall flavor, but there is too little to compensate for the dryness of the chicken. I do like the bread. It has a nice, springy texture. Before I actually had taken a bite, I asked my roommate, “What is this bread? Is it French bread?”
“I don’t know,” she replied, “One of those breads with a face.” What? I had no idea what she meant until I looked down.
Sure enough. The two cuts in the bread look like the eyes, and the little strip of bacon sticking out look like the tongue. Overall, my sandwich looks a bit like a snake. Can you see it? Or am I just insane?
So there you have it. The summary of my trip to Boston’s favorite breakfast pitstop. Can I please be done with these franchises now?