Anyone who knows me well knows that I would choose Dunkin’ Donuts over Starbucks or any big coffee chain, hands down. I recently decided to try their new grilled cheese melt. On the website, they describe it as follows, “The Dunkin’ Grilled Cheese Melt is served on Sourdough Bread with two varieties of delicious melted cheese, white cheddar and American” (Link to article). It is also only $3.69. However, as a grilled cheese lover, I had some thoughts about it.
I first would like to congratulate big brands like Dunkin’ for branding sourdough sandwiches as if they have just discovered it. I really would love to see what went on in this pitch for the Dunkin’ grilled cheese. Imagine some intern saying, “It’s grilled cheese – but on sourdough!” And all the Dunkin’ executives clapping enthusiastically, because they too believe in sourdough’s magical capabilities of making any sandwich better. As much as I am a lover of sourdough as well, I couldn’t help but really feel a bit played by Dunkin’. Think of it like this: Dunkin’ watched all of us try and fail to create sourdough during the quarantine, then only to come out with their own perfect sourdough starter and not only make sourdough bread without any fail, but use it for a sandwich. I mean, what is next, are they going to come up with a really great banana bread, too? Just to rub it in our faces?
Once I got over my existential crisis that I was being deceived by big companies, I bought the sandwich. (I also got an iced caramel coffee with oat milk, if anyone wants to talk about how good oat milk is, this can be another opinion piece. If anyone also wants to talk about how messed up it was that Charli D’Amelio puts whole milk in her own branded Dunkin’ drink when there is a plethora of plant based milks out there, please let me know. I want answers). Anyway, the first disappointment was that they didn’t cut your sandwich in half, which made me feel like a heathen eating this big sandwich. However, the cheese (cheddar and American) was indeed melty. The sourdough was toasted just right and it was tangy. Was it the best sourdough I had ever tasted? Not sure. I was not going to dissemble my sandwich and see if the bread fared alone, but whatever Dunkin’ did with their sourdough starter, it worked. Props to them. I’m not jealous at all.
I will say, after eating the sandwich and chugging some of my iced coffee, that the thought did occur to me: couldn’t I just make this sandwich at home? Would that be more cost effective? I could buy a whole bag of sourdough at the bakery (I wish I could say I had learned how to successfully make sourdough over the quarantine period but I didn’t) and make the grilled cheese sandwich at home. But, on the other hand, where else am I going to get great coffee with my grilled cheese? While I don’t think Dunkin’s grilled cheese would make it on its own, paired with some coffee, it makes a decent lunch.