Tag: Dunkin' Donuts AlternativesView All Tags
Chicago has its street dog vendors. DC has jumbo slice. New York has Pommes Frites. Every half-decent drinking town has that one late-night, greasy, calorie-ridden eating option that any sane, sober person would avoid like the plague, but at 2 a.m. after a particularly arduous bar crawl, sounds like the very best idea in the world.
In Portland, Oregon, that option is doughnuts. Specifically, VooDoo Doughnut, a tiny, 24-7 downtown bakery outfitted with a disco ball and quirky duct tape mural, where a rowdy line inevitably starts forming once the bars start closing.
These hot, freshly baked treats could probably have attracted a following just by keeping it simple, and indeed, their basic frosted chocolate doughnuts rank up there with the best. But what keeps the late-night crowds streaming in here are the much, much crazier options, including doughnuts covered in oddball toppings of the day, from mini-marshmallows to Lucky Charms to bacon strips.
Are you going to feel good about eating a bacon-covered doughnut the next morning? Absolutely not, but that's hardly the point.
[Photo: kimberly marie lawson]
Probably everyday since 1935, Tucson residents have driven past the massive Le Cave's Bakery, looked up at its vintage facade and wondered, "what's a vegetable do-nut?"
The answer, it turns out, is both deceptive and delicious. Of course the recipe is an old family secret, but we're assured that despite the beautiful greasiness, it's not anything too lard-y.
Whatever it is, these old fashioned do-nuts have attracted admirers far and wide for their perfect balance of light, fluffy texture and rich, sugary taste. Additionally, Le Cave's keeps their do-nuts traditional by sticking to the old-school flavors: powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, chocolate frosted and maple glazed, each one completely covered in a healthy coating of the sweet stuffno bald spots here.
While the bakery is not necessarily a place for donut inventiveness, it is a stop on the route of donut history, where you will leave wondering if any of the new-fangled flavors from other donut shops are really necessary.
Jaunted life lesson number 1: It's really not possible to feel good about yourself after eating more than one donut, which is why you should always try to find the single biggest donut possible.
When in Chicago, the clear winner is the signature behemoth served at Dat Donut. The "Big Dat," as it is fondly called, is four inches across and two inches high, yet cooked to a perfect fluffiness throughout. You can order up a "Dat" in traditional flavors like chocolate or glazed, as well as more adventurous options such as buttermilk and a variety of frosted temptations.
Another attraction at the Chatham-area shop, which is set in the same building as popular restaurant Leon's BBQ, is that hungry fans can watch the donuts being madeand not by a Krispy Kreme automatron but by a real human baker who is probably very popular come closing time.
Aside from Donuts, Dat also serves up your typical junky treats like nachos and ice cream, but after one big one, it's hard to imagine wanting anything else.
How far would you go for the perfect donut? The question hardly deserves an answer for the hundreds of hungry SoCal residents who regularly brave outer-LaLa-Land traffic to reach the inconvenient-to-no-one shop none as the Donut Man.
Set off Route 66 in the suburb of Glendora, this cash-only stand doesn't look much like much of a foodie mecca, but you'll soon realize why even Elvis used to order his jelly donuts shipped in from here.
The Donut Man is most celebrated for his classic strawberry creation, but don't expect any sickly-sweet neon pink frosting – these dense cakes are topped with a mountain of fresh whole strawberries, which almost seems like cheating. Is a donut that's two-thirds fresh fruit still a donut? It doesn't matter, because no one cares when it's this delicious.
When berries are out of season, the Donut Man offers fresh peach donuts or pumpkin and cream cheese varieties instead, and everything is always available 24/7.
OK fine, maybe it's impossible to make doughnuts healthy, but new-ish Bay Area sweets purveyor Dee's Mini Organic Doughnuts does a pretty good job. Their fresh cake doughnuts leave out all the high fructose corn syrup and sodium this-and-that present in your typical store-bought-varieties, and instead use high-end ingredients like organic cacao powder and local Meyer lemons. Plus, they're tiny – how bad for you can they be!
Dee's doesn't have its own store yet, but their hand-dipped chocolate-orange and maple-crunch deliciousness is worth seeking out if you're in the Bay Area – they're now sold at more than a dozen spots, including two of our favorites – Caffe Amici near Union Square and Dish Café at the SF Film Institute.
· Dee's Mini Organic Doughnuts [Official Site]
· Are Donuts the New Cupcakes? [Jaunted]
· Beverly Hills Cops Probably Hanging Around Frittelli's Doughnuts [Jaunted]
One of the dough(NOT DO!)nut shops we've heard the most buzz about is Frittelli's Doughnuts and Coffee, a Beverly Hills bakery with the chutzpah to serve what they call "designer doughnuts." With Swiss chocolate, Tahitian vanilla and fresh fruit filling, they certainly seem to be a step above the Dunk.
They've got high-quality takes on all the classics—strawberry-glazed, sugar-topped, and chocolate sprinkle—as well as more inventive flavors like green apple fritter, latte-glazed, and PB&J-filled. At $2 a pop, they're cheaper than the New York designer doughnuts, although some of the fanciest (think Callebaut Chocolate Glaze Bars Filled w/ Chocolate Bavarian Crème) top out at $3. Still, we think that Beverly Hills cops can probably still afford a dozen doughnuts here.
Any LA readers care to weight in? Is Frittelli's dough worth a trip to the 90210? Let us know in comments below.
· Frittelli's Doughnuts [Official Site]
· A Doughnut That Will Change the Way You Think About Doughnuts [Jaunted]
· Are Donuts the New Cupcakes? [Jaunted]
The tiny Doughnut Plant storefront is hidden on one of the few still-old-school stretches of Manhattan's Lower East Side, set among housing projects, Jewish delis and Chinese groceries, rather than shiny new condos and frolicking hipsters. So you'd be forgiven if you expected this hole-in-the-wall bakery to be the kind of old-school place that only serves simple cake doughnuts, rather than the futuristic wonderland it really is.
We think so! Judging by the fervor we've seen around the virtual food world lately, we're ready to say the cupcake craze is over and donut madness has begun. It makes sense really, given the economy, that foodies would abandon the trendy, overpriced, over-fancified cupcake for the original fried dough comfort food.
So over the next few weeks we'll be taking a look at our favorite Dunkin' Donuts Alternatives—from beloved old school pastry shops to designer donut newcomers.