Anytime you make a big move, you may not notice the shiny new stuff at first, but rather what’s missing. When I picked up and moved across the country from New York City to San Francisco back in medieval times (aka 2002), one of the hallmarks of East Coast life that was markedly absent in California was my beloved Dunkin’ Donuts.
Yes, Dunkin’ Donuts. I grew up in New Jersey and went to Boston College, where DD was so prevalent that we even had a location on campus—where there were no other fast-food outposts, mind you. I would stop in McElroy Commons on my way to class and order an extra-large coffee (with skim and two sugars, because skim milk made it healthy, duh). Later, on trips home from SF, my dad would pick me up at Newark airport, and he knew to either bring me a DD coffee or that it would be a stop on the way home. I’d pop open the plastic top of the thick, soft Styrofoam cup and inhale the coffee’s almost-metallic scent, and I knew I was home.
And now, go figure, I move back to New York City, and five years later, the Bay Area is going to have all the Boston Kremes and Munchkins its free-range, organic, locally sourced heart desires (the first location opens in Walnut Creek today). I may have given a quick profession of my love for the chain, but writer Esther Mobley does a much more eloquent job of explaining why it’s sacred to New Englanders—and her fears for the new location—in her piece for the San Francisco Chronicle:
“When I heard that a Dunkins was opening in Walnut Creek, part of me was worried. Will you guys get it? Removed from its natural habitat, will it make sense? Are you just going to compare it with Sightglass? Is Styrofoam even legal in the East Bay? Can you, in this meteorologically coddled Bay Area, ever understand how a creamy, Sweet’N Low-loaded hazelnut coffee can warm your hands through thermal gloves, reviving you on a snowy morning after you’ve spent an hour scraping the ice off your windshield?”
Read her essay. Feel the glazed-cruller love oozing out of her every pore. If you don’t find yourself craving a hazelnut coffee afterward, well, you’re simply not human.
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