Food Fight: Gas station cappuccino
Used to be, gas station cappuccino was only for road trips. There are certain "road trip only" foods like Gardetto's, Corn Nuts, and Jalapeño Popper Doritos, and cappuccino from one of those big, loud machines that comes in every wacked out flavor but regular old cappuccino is one of them. But it turns out, when you can't make it to Iowa for Christmas, it makes for a pretty decent snowed-in beverage as well. Can't exactly say the same for Gardetto's, unfortunately. Here's how two South Minneapolis gas station cappuccinos stand up next to one another.
Even in a snowstorm, the SuperAmerica on 35th and Nicollet is a snarl of SUVs filling up, dudes under their hoods adding oil in the parking lot, and people in general all shaking their fists at each other -- even moreso at night. Not so the shop's lonely, imposing cappuccino machine just inside the door. The machine bears five coffee-like (and let's be honest, they are nothing more than coffee-like) hot beverages. Unsurprisingly, none of them are regular old cappuccino. The French Vanilla provides a surge of sweetness and that familiar, kind of chemical-ly mouth film you've come to recognize from road trips past. A 16 oz cup costs $1.09.
Its award-winning name alone should earn Pump N Munch some mad respect. Its little digs and even smaller, three-spout cappuccino machine 44th and Nicollet make it even better. Quaint almost. Well, maybe not exactly quaint. Pump N Munch's French Vanilla cappuccino unloads massive amounts of sugar on you, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. (Remember, the stuff's for special occasions only.) It's comforting, familiar, and almost addictive. A 16 oz cup costs $1.17.
The Winner: Though it costs a whole dime more, Pump N Munch's French Vanilla cappuccino is richer, denser, sweeter and just plain better than SuperAmerica's. While still an adrenaline shot of sugar, SuperAmerica's cappuccino is watery and vague compared to Pump N Munch's. It also deposits less of that slippery mouth film. It doesn't hurt that Pump N Munch is sleepier and less frenetic than SuperAmerica. Unfortunately, the foamy top on both of them was disappointing, disappearing in just minutes. But whaddya expect, it's gas station cappuccino.
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