Cafe Reviews

Sugar and Spice: Dunkin' Donuts Tries Autumn on for Size

Autumn in Phoenix is anything but color tours, cider mills, and a chill in the air.

Tell that to Dunkin' Donuts.

With a limited-time offering of returning menu items, Fry Girl couldn't help harvesting the international doughnut and coffee retailer's autumn-themed fare. Here's the, um, fallout:

Maple Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich: For a breakfast sandwich saddled with 720 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat, it'd better be phenomenal. This one's not even close. With nary a hint of maple on its grizzled sausage patty, tasteless white cheddar, rubbery scrambled egg, and a greasy croissant all microwaved to a level implicative of McDonald's coffee, Dunkin's maple breakfast sandwich is best left to wither and die on the branch. Make with the McGriddle, please.

Pumpkin Muffin and Doughnut: How does DD run out of its special doughnut? "As you can see," DD's counter gal said with an exaggerated gesture to the empty racks behind her, "we've been busy." Sigh. At least the pumpkin muffin was good. Moist with a rich pumpkin flavor, topped with streusel crumbs, and drizzled with sweet white frosting, this return of a seasonal favorite was cause to celebrate. On my second visit, the pumpkin doughnut miraculously was in stock. A glazed cake ring with a mild pumpkin flavor, you could do worse, but DD could've done a lot better.

Pumpkin-Flavored Coffee: Yeah, there's pumpkin flavoring in there. I saw it at the bottom of my iced version, hopelessly stuck and refusing to do its job. A few jabs with my straw gave me a medicinal taste that was wince-worthy and had me wishing for a hot cup of the regular stuff.

Fall Munchkins and "Fall Harvest" Doughnut: Leave it to a corporation to come up with "autumn nonpareils" as an explanation for what makes their glazed cake doughnut holes fall-like. Ditto on Dunkin's description of a "festive pumpkin mix" for their "Fall Harvest" Donut with orange icing. We Midwest natives would simply say, "Yellow, orange, and brown jimmies?" followed by, "That's what passes for a fall doughnut? That's bullshit. Let's go bowling."

Do Dunkin' Donuts fall flavors conjure up images of changing leaves and hay rides? Hardly. But, c'mon, go outside. The sky's blue, the temps are perfect. Hell, we're not even donning jackets yet. But hang tight, Dunkin' devotees. Halloween's just around the corner and DD's offering a "Boston Scream" doughnut through October 31. What makes it a "scream"? You guessed it, orange icing.

That's it. I'm going bowling.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld