The Guilty Pleasure (loosely speaking): Donut Breakfast Sandwich Where to Get It: Dunkin' Donuts, locations Valleywide Price: $3.50 (Give or take, depending on location) What it Really Costs: Oh, where to begin...
Quick-service chains are on to writers like me. There's an easy way to garner media buzz: Take items you already have in stock, and combine them in unexpected ways. Almost overnight, your new creation is the talk of the blogosphere. This week, the crazy item in question comes from Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' has managed to break new ground in the lucrative breakfast market by offering a breakfast sandwich nobody saw coming, but in hindsight is patently obvious. Their new offering is... wait for it... the Donut Breakfast Sandwich.
Take an egg and some bacon, and slap it in the middle of a halved glazed donut. Voilà, you have yourself a Donut Breakfast Sandwich. You almost have to wonder why they didn't rush it to the menu ten years ago when McDonald's introduced McGriddles sandwiches. (Side notes: 1: They didn't because they hadn't expanded the menu yet, and 2: Good god, it's been ten years since the introduction of McGriddles?!) Dunkin' did regional testing on the DBS last year, and recently rolled it out to the entire country.
When an item like this is done right (i.e. a McGriddle with just sausage on it), the sweet-and-salty combo is a true guilty pleasure. With sufficient R&D, how could it possibly go wrong? Turns out, there's a whole bunch of ways, including a few I never saw coming. At first, forces unseen conspired against me from sampling this devious (or should I say deviant?) concoction. I headed over to my local Dunkin' Donuts, only to find out that they ran out of glazed donuts necessary for the sandwich. Yes, you read that right: They didn't have their literal marquee item. I've never seen a Taco Bell that ran out of tacos, or a KFC that didn't have any fried chicken, but now I've been in a Dunkin' Donuts that couldn't sell me a plain glazed donut. I'm going to be pondering for a long, long time exactly how the hell that could happen.
They told me more donuts would be ready in about fifteen minutes. No problem, I had errands to run anyway. Time passed, I came back... The situation went from just plain confusing to tragically hilarious. Not only were there still no glazed donuts, but in the interim they realized they're completely out of bacon too. That would have been the end of it, but I had a deadline to meet and no Plan B.
I dashed off to the next closest location. Thankfully, they had everything ready to go. A few moments later, I had myself a warm Donut Breakfast Sandwich. Note I didn't say "hot", I said "warm". There's a reason for this. Dunkin' Donuts doesn't cook anything in-house; they reheat everything in a space-age TurboChef oven. If you reheat eggs too long, they practically turn into rubber. So, they err on the side of caution and keep the temperature low. I can understand where they're coming from, but the sandwich suffers as a result.
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Then there's the (also reheated) bacon. This was possibly the sorriest piece of pig I've ever consumed. It was so thin you could almost read a newspaper through it, and tasted closer to salad bar bacon bits than actual bacon. Dunkin' Donuts says it's real bacon; it was more like a simulacrum of the real deal.
The whole sandwich put together was a soft mouthful of nothing. The flavorless disc of egg brought zilch to the party. There was a meek hint of sweet from the donut glaze, and a little salt from the bacon, but that was it. Instead of sweet and salty working together, they canceled each other out. This sandwich didn't satisfy on any level at all. When I was done with my Donut Breakfast Sandwich, I felt like I hadn't eaten anything, yet my wallet was now $3.50 lighter.
Speaking of which: It's $2.50 over the standard donut price to add one egg and maybe an ounce of bacon? Holy profit margin, Batman! This sandwich was an all-around rip-off. Dunkin' will still see me because I adore their iced coffee (right now an outright steal at 99 cents for a 24-ounce medium size), but I'll go literally anywhere else to get a handle on breakfast.