Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dunkies Iced Coffee

The SnackMaster isn’t afraid to start a contentious debate:
When it comes to iced coffee, Dunkin Donuts dominates.

In fact, I wouldn’t be drinking coffee at all if it weren’t for Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.

For me, it started as a 20 year old, working for a small house painting crew. Before that, I always loved the smell of ground coffee, but never enjoyed the bitter taste. Somewhere mid-summer of that year I tried Dunkies’ coffee coolattas. This seemed like a safe enough venture since it was really a lot like a Slush Puppy or an ice cream shake. Soon enough, I was housing large iced coffees every morning at work.

It is undeniable that the iced coffee is a summer staple. When you need a quick buzz, and it’s 90 something degrees out, this is where its at. What’s great about the iced coffee on a summer day is how quickly you can get that caffeine buzz going; slamming down an iced coffee in less than 5 minutes is not really a demanding task. Dunkies iced coffee is the perfect iced coffee for this task. It’s sweet and flavorful without being too dark. Even with just a little bit of sugar and a little bit of milk, a sweet, syrupy flavor will resonate while not taking away from the overall taste of coffee. The majority of the employees at Dunkin Donuts have the iced coffee mixture technique down. If they know what they’re doing, they’ll put the sugar into the cup first, pour a small splash of hot coffee to melt the sugar, swish it around, and then add milk/cream, cold coffee and ice. This ensures the equal distribution of the sugar throughout the entire drink as opposed to having a big sugar deposit sitting at the bottom of your drink. Dunkin Donuts is really the only place I’ve been to that has offered this incredibly important service. I consider this pretty much a norm when ordering iced coffee at Dunkies so much so that times where this has not been the case, I have left visibly upset and disgruntled. What may be as equally important as the sugar technique is Dunkin Donuts’ commitment to a real “large” iced coffee: 32 ounces. I have not found a “large size” bigger anywhere else; and, come on, this is America, bigger is definitely better when it comes to food portions. I’d rather have the option of not being able to finish something than the dilemma of wanting more.

The obvious competitor to mention is Starbucks. Maybe drinking hot coffee that tastes like mud is a preference to many, but you really can’t make a case for drinking cold mud. I really have no taste for Starbucks coffee in any incarnation so I can’t really, fairly, discuss it to any detail. Local coffee shops cannot be disparaged. I truly do enjoy some local coffee shops’ iced coffee for the chance to get some variation of flavor and a slightly stronger caffeination. However, I have never gotten the melted sugar technique performed for me at any local cafĂ© that I’ve been to, not to mention their clear inferiority in “large” coffee sizes.

(The SnackMaster’s Disclaimer: I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. There is a Dunkin Donuts every 3 blocks in Boston. It is truly a staple of Boston. One could say I am biased, but I view these statements as hardcore fact nonetheless.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dinner Tonight

For dinner tonight I had a handful of Cool Ranch Doritos and a 50 cent Little Debbie's Fudge Brownie.
I am not an unhappy man.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Economy Candy

So in further pursuit of nostalgia, I decided to see if I could find any "penny" candy shops in NYC.
Doing some intense research (*cough*cough* google *cough*cough*) I came up with Economy Candy in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Like every retail store in Manhattan, space is always an issue. Walking in, the store feels a lot smaller than it really is. Similar to most New York bodegas, there are a lot of shelves and narrow aisles, cramming a lot into a small space. In reality, the store is fairly large, and cramming so much stuff into it meant that I knew I had found what I was looking for.
My gameplan was to go for variety; grab one of anything that called out to me. I left with a pretty good variety.

The highlight of the trip for me was the Jelly Belly dispensers. Tucked way into the back corner of the store were a block of probably 30 plus clear plastic dispensers, each containing their own individual flavor of Jelly Belly gourmet jelly beans. I went nuts on this and spent fifteen bucks on jelly beans by the pound. For me the clear choice was maxing out on some of the weirder flavors, sprinkling in tastes of choice fruit flavors.
The premium flavors: Peanut Butter, Bubble Gum, Banana, Buttered Popcorn, Orange Sherbert
The filler: Pink Lemonade (surprisingly not as good as I'd like), Kiwi, Cantaloupe, Pina Colada, Tangerine

After a few weeks, I'm still working on this bag. Of course this is a situation where the better flavors are going to get picked out first. The bubble gum was first to go, but I'm still finding one or two that I had overlooked every now and then. Banana is pretty much gone as well. Peanut Butter, while a premium brand, is not a flavor that I can eat a lot of at a time. This flavor is still in the mix. The majority of what remains is mostly the random tropical fruit flavors.

Other Candy purchased:

Homemade rock candy on a stick
Abba Zabba
Pop Rocks Dips
Candy Necklace
"Unicorn" Lollipop
Pixy Stix
Candy Buttons (You know, those strips of paper with small dots of candy that you're supposed to bite off of the paper and you always inevitably get a little bit of paper stuck onto the bottom of them? Yeah, don't hate, they're pretty weird-awesome.)

Anyone interested in making a SnackMaster field trip back to Economy Candy, hit me up. There was a lot that I passed up on the first time around that I'd love to revisit.

Also, random shout out:
Much respect to Dave and Russell for coming equipped to Gino's bachelor party week with the 100 count box of Airheads. Whatever would possess a man to grab this while shopping at BJ's for a week long food and BBQ fest can be called nothing less than brilliance.