As an American abroad in Canada for the past three years, I would like to say that I have some experience when it comes to both of these places. My parents are Canadian, and while I grew up in suburban Connecticut, I ended up going to school in Toronto. As a kid, I spent a lot of time back and forth in the summers between the States, Toronto, and Montreal.

Our vacations were almost always in Canada, ranging from Vancouver to Prince Edward Island. Needless to say, through my traveling and my actual childhood in the states, I am a dual citizen in every sense of the term. So, I'm going to take two franchises or brands that fall under the same category and that are exclusive to each great nation, compare them, and then evaluate. Who better to determine who's actually doing it right, than me?

Dunkin' Donuts vs. Tim Hortons

milk, ice, cream, coffee, sweet, juice, milkshake, yogurt
Left: Photo courtesy of @DunkinDonuts on Twitter, Right: Holly Lipka

Funny enough, I didn't actually start drinking coffee until university (what a cliche, I know). However, now I can say that half of my blood is probably coffee. I indulge literally every day, so now I can say I am not a coffee newbie.

When it comes to straight coffee, I have to say Dunkin' Donuts is the clear winner. I actually get my coffee from Starbucks when I'm in Canada because I just can't stand Timmy's (what us Canadians call Tim Hortons for short). Sorry, my fellow Canucks. When it comes to donuts, I also am quite keen on Dunkin'.

However, Tim Hortons isn't all bad. They have a much more extensive lunch menu than Dunkin' does—sandwiches, soups, the whole nine yards. If you are in a quick pinch for lunch, there's always a Tim's around every corner. Unfortunately, these two places pride themselves on being coffee shops, so I have to say Dunkin' reigns in this category. 

Winner: Dunkin' Donuts

Trader Joe's vs. Loblaws

beer, coffee, tea, wine, pizza
Left: Becky Hughes,  Right: Photo courtesy of ucumari photography on Flickr

Now, before I get called out, I know that these two brands are quite different. However, they both are supreme in the groceries world of the US and Canada, and they are exclusive to each respective place, hence the comparison. Both, to me, are just incredible.

Trader Joe's exclusive products make my heart skip a beat. The closest Trader Joe's is at least a 20-minute drive from where I live and I still make the trek. Don't even get me started on cookie butter. I genuinely believe that Trader Joe's is an amazing chain and their availability of special products and good prices are quite unbeatable. I anxiously await the day they decide to open in Canada.

However, let's not forget about the Canadian grocery store chain, Loblaws. This place is also just phenomenal to me. Loblaws offers an array of food options as well, and their notorious brand is known as President's Choice. Their products are usually not as niche to their brand as Trader Joe's, however, their own products do not disappoint. In the summer time, their house made meats are fun to pick up for the BBQ. That's just one feature though on their long list of products.

Because the nature of the stores is not exactly the same, and I just love them both so much, I'm declaring a tie.

Winner: Tie

Swiss Chalet vs. Boston Market

The grand old debate of rotisserie chicken. Every time I've gone to Canada, my famiy is quite eager to order Swiss Chalet. It's even got to the point where my dad sends me coupons via email, eagerly prompting my siblings and me to go when we get a chance. They offer a boat load of sides with the chicken, similar style to Boston Market.

I ate Boston Market for dinner as there was one conveniently located in Greenwich (my hometown), and it was an easy fix for three hungry kids. I haven't eaten it recently, but as a child I had no complaints. Although this isn't my favorite type of food, I don't mind a nice, warm meal whenever my family orders either. Which do I prefer? Quite a tough call for me because in my opinion these two establishments are eerily similar.

Winner: Inconclusive. We need to call an expert on that one.

Harvey's vs. White Castle

bread, egg, sandwich, bun
Jennifer Nigro

Fast food chains are pretty universal. You'll find a McDonald's, Wendy's, anything you can find in the States you can pretty much find in Canada. It was hard for me to pick a US fast food chain that we couldn't find in Canada, and vice versa. I finally found two that fit that narrow description.

Harvey's is pretty prime and a tough competitor. My dad raves about it every time I go back to school. I'm a pretty big fan as well, opting for Harvey's as a kid instead of McDonald's. I love their fries, their chicken, their burgers, basically everything.

White Castle, however, is an American favorite because of the many ties it has to pop culture and its overall novelty. Their food, on the other hand, is not even close to lead competitors like McDonald's or Wendy's. Harvey's, arguably, would indeed stand a fair chance against these big wigs. Therefore, unfortunately, I think the winner is clear.

Winner: Harvey's

These are just an assortment of the large chains both countries have to offer. There's definitely so much more to each country than their franchises, but as my results conclude an even tie, both seem to be pretty great. And hey, maybe you disagree with me, it's just one dual citizen's opinion anyway. I think at the end of the day the clear message is in either country you should just eat.