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I’m not a huge breakfast eater, when I do decide to eat an actual meal before lunch, I’m always looking for savory, not sweet, options. Savory food at least starts to mimic the lunch experience, which I prefer. When I saw that Dunkin’ Donuts had introduced a Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich, I initially wasn’t interested in trying it. I’m not a huge fan of maple flavoring, and the name alone made it seem like the sandwich would veer too far into sweet territory. However, one morning I found myself at a Dunkin’ Donuts, hungry and with no prospect of lunch within the next few hours thanks to a fantasy hockey draft, so I decided to take the plunge and see if Dunkin’ could provide the maple sugar flavor without turning the sandwich into a sugar bomb.

The Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich is “a double portion of sweet caramelized Maple Sugar Bacon, Egg and Cheese … on a freshly baked Croissant.” The price for the sandwich is $3.99 before tax and without any accompaniments. As an insight into my process here, when I order something, I want it as close to the advertisement as possible. If a company has created a product, I want to try what they’ve decided the public will want to eat, rather than order it with my own modifications. This is why I get annoyed with Subway, where I go in to order their promoted product, but I have to remember what’s on it because they don’t provide a default option.

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With that being said… I did not order the sandwich on a croissant. First, instead of defaulting to the croissant, the employee behind the counter gave me the option to choose my bread, which threw me off guard and let me to ordering the sandwich on a ciabatta roll. Second, I have eaten one croissant in my life which I actually enjoyed, and it was not from Dunkin’ Donuts. By ordering the roll instead of the croissant, I had more of a chance of enjoying the sandwich. I’ll keep my roll comments to a minimum since they aren’t necessarily relevant to the advertised product.

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Taking the sandwich out of the bag, I was struck by how small it was. I thought the roll would be bigger. It smelled great through. It had a strong maple and bacon aroma, and I couldn’t wait to begin eating. While the sandwich had a good amount of bacon coverage, my first bite managed to only have egg and cheese. The egg and cheese are standard Dunkin’ fare. They’re supporting players to the bacon, there more for added heft plus the slight melted cheese taste.

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I also think getting the roll was a better choice than sticking with the croissant. Though the sandwich was small, the roll was more substantial than a croissant would have been. The crust added a more of a crunch to the sandwich than a soft croissant. Also, as a breakfast sandwich, eating a butter-soaked croissant on top of bacon, egg, and cheese seems way too heavy for an AM meal. I ate this on a Saturday morning, and could imagine feeling sluggish and staying on the couch through the afternoon if I got the croissant. Eating this at work is incomprehensible if you wanted to be productive.

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The Maple Sugar Bacon had some pluses and minuses. It was crunchier than I anticipated, which can be a problem with fast food sandwiches. The taste was a mix between smoke and maple, skewed heavily towards the maple flavor. It seemed as if the bacon was soaked in maple and removed right before it was added to the sandwich. When eating the bacon alone, it was almost too sweet.

As mentioned above, they didn’t skimp on the bacon. I sometimes hesitate ordering bacon breakfast sandwiches when compared with sausage, because a sausage patty is going to cover almost all of the sandwich, while a lot of places chose only give a few thin strips of bacon, making the sandwich feel light. Dunkin’ definitely chose to highlight the Maple Sugar Bacon and ensure it was a good portion.

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When eating all the components together, the sandwich was quite good. The smokiness of the bacon shone through and the sweet maple flavor was offset by the cheese. Even though I didn’t get much eggy taste, I think using it as another non-sweet element toned down the bacon to an acceptable level, keeping the sandwich as a nice balance between savory and sweet.

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Overall, the Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich was really good. I’m not a big breakfast sandwich guy, and I’m more likely to get a donut if I’m ordering food at Dunkin’, but for anyone in the mood for a breakfast sandwich, this is definitely worth a shot. It was filling, despite its size and just sweet enough to get that maple taste without tasting like candy. Of course, it’s worth noting that this was a seasonal offering, but I’m guessing it will return to the Dunkin’ menu sometime soon.

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Countries, cities and regions are frequently linked to their famous foodstuffs. When you travel to that place, or go to a restaurant serving that particular cuisine, there’s always a local delicacy that you have to try; otherwise, did you really visit that location and eat what the locals eat?

Thus it is with Montreal. While the city is also famous for its French cuisine, bakeries, and smoked meat, in my humble option, poutine reigns supreme above all other local foods. I’ve had the chance to visit the city several times, and no visit is complete without one (or two, or three…) meals featuring poutine. Therefore, on my last visit this spring, even though I had already eaten poutine and a smoked meat sandwich for lunch, after a full dinner I needed to make a stop for one last fix at Montreal’s most famous poutinerie: McDonald’s.

I knew McDonald’s in Montreal had poutine, little did I know I arrive soon after the release of their Three Cheese and Bacon Poutine, also known as a Poutine au bacon et 3 fromages to the locals. Their regular poutine contains gravy and cheese curds over their regular fries, but this edition also contained bacon pieces and a shredded cheese blend. The price for this delicacy was 5.24 CAD, and after adding a medium soda and tax, the total was 7.74 CAD which is $6.39 USD as of this writing.

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One potential flaw in my plan for this snack: I purchased the food then walked back to my hotel before eating it. I hustled back, but it was still in the bag for 5ish minutes. While I held the bag open to reduce moisture and forestall sogginess, some sog was inevitable.

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Of course, the presentation of the poutine didn’t help keep it crispy. It was served in a box with a lid. I understand wanting to keep the whole mess contained so there was no leakage in the bag, but closing the box only created more humidity. The other issue is that the poutine took up all the space in the container, so it was difficult to pick around to choose my bites. If I’d eaten at the restaurant, I probably would have dumped it on my tray, and I think it would have been a better eating experience.

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Anyway, onto the actual eating experience. Upon taking the poutine out of the bag, I was greeted with a cheesy and bacon aroma. It was loaded with cheese, but I didn’t notice the traditional cheese curds. Instead the three cheese blend looked like it came from a bag of shredded cheese that you can get in a market. This doesn’t make it automatically bad, but without the curds, this isn’t really poutine. It’s more akin to disco fries. Of course, after some digging, I did find cheese curds buried underneath the initial layer of cheese, so they made sure to cover all their bases.

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I tried a bacon piece before I dove into the full experience. To their credit, the bacon wasn’t just bacon bits from a plastic container. It looked like McDonald’s actual bacon chopped up into good sized chunks. They were smoky and salty, and generally maintained their crispness as I ate.

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The layer of triple cheese on top, by now fully melted and solid posed as a real obstacle to digging down and getting some fries. It was thick, and the plastic fork may not been have been the best utensil for the task. I did sneak a plain fry on the side, and not much needs to be said about it: fresh McDonald’s fries are delicious.

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The poutine was really salty. I kept reaching for my drink as I ate. The bacon was a nice touch to break up the flavor, but of course added to the saltiness. As mentioned above, I was surprised we got whole curds. Not because they don’t belong, but because in McDonald’s interpretation of poutine, I figured the three-cheese blend would be enough. I can’t pretend to be an expert in cheese curds (I’ve only eaten them on poutine), but these met my standards in terms of cheesy flavor and squeakiness.

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Taking all of the components together, cheese was the biggest flavor, as the curds and cheese blend were the star of the dish. The next strongest flavors were unsurprisingly the salt and smokiness of the bacon. The fries were in the background, mainly as a vehicle for the more assertive toppings and the gravy as well had a slight beefy oniony flavor, but I really only  tasted that when it was isolated with the fries. The poutine was so cheese forward that I’m not sure that extra layer of cheese was necessary, or at least if McDonald’s wanted that cheese to make this their dish, then a smaller amount could have been used. It was hard to pick around the cheese to get non-cheese bites.

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As I continued to eat, I ran into the inevitable poutine problem (exacerbated by the walk to the hotel): eating poutine is a race against the clock. The fries are only getting soggier as they soak up the gravy and the gravy combines with the cheese to create humidity which saps crispness. The box also didn’t help, as the pouting filled the confines, so there really was no access to outside air. By the end, this was a soggy mess, with congealed gravy, which made some of those last bites undesirable. There were some untouched, fries that somehow stayed crisp on the bottom, and they were a nice reprieve.

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The Bacon and Three Cheese Poutine was a large portion of food, which I consumed after eating a full meal. Is it something I’d eat all the time if it was available in the U.S.? No, probably not. It’s a large, heavy side dish to add to a meal, plus poutine is something you want to eat immediately, and I usually save my fries for the end. However, if you really want to indulge and can handle being stuffed to the gills, then it’s worth it. Sure, this isn’t a traditional poutine, and if you have one chance to eat it in Montreal, you’re probably not stopping at McDonald’s, but if you find yourself in a McDonald’s in La belle province, treat yourself to something you can’t get back home.