Wednesday, March 29, 2006

There will not be any donuts served during Brooklyn Restaurant Week

Blognut is dissappointed to learn that of the over 150 restaurants participating in Brooklyn's upcoming Restaurant Week, not a single one will be serving donuts.

Blognut is still looking foward to enjoying some local, discounted cuisine. Most restaurants will offer 3 course meals for $20.06, with a few places offering a 2-person dinner for $20.06. The event will run from April 3rd through April 11th and includes eateries in just about every Brooklyn neighborhood.

For those of you worried that Restaurant Week can get too "foodie," you're in luck - the Dyker Heights Outback Steakhouse has signed on, promising to serve up "high quality food and service, generous portions, and moderate prices." Wow.

Blognut plans on checking out Chestnut on Smith St, while also stopping by Schnack and Atlantic Chip Shop for a beer shake and some mushy peas.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Donuts in the Slope

7th Avenue Donut Shop
324 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

If you're looking for a freshly-baked Nut in Park Slope, and assuming you don't get trampled by a stroller on the way there, the 7th Ave Donut Shop is the place for you.

Blognut approaches 7th Ave at 12:30 PM Monday afternoon (Blognut had the day off work today -- and apparently so did everyone else in the Slope, seeing as how the streets were filled with twenty-somethings). We were greeted by a wonderful window display full of plump, round Nuts and a bustling diner serving up omelettes, BLTs, and coffee to the lunch break crowd. We order a chocolate glazed, a plain glazed, and an egg white omelette with feta cheese and potatoes.

The chocolate glazed was excellent - a perfectly soft cake Nut with just the right amount of glaze. Blognut was especially impressed with the subtleness of the chocolate component - barely noticable behind the taste of glazed cake. Correlating nicely with this chocolate-minimalism, was the light brown hue of the Nut, which made it one of the more visually interesting options on the rack. The plain glazed was also enjoyed. It was light, soft, and not too sweet - very similar to a Dunkin glazed. Blognut recommends them both.

Although not a donut, we would also highly recommend the egg white and feta omelette - what better way to wash down a glazed!? Our entire bill, including coffees, came to $7.20.


In non-donut happenings:

Later in the day, Blognut heads uptown to grab a burger at Big Nick's. Located at 2175 Broadway (between 76th and 77th), Nick's offers customers just about anything they want to eat. While their 24 page menu-book includes pizza, greek specialties, and a wide-array of sandwiches, their specialty is definitely hamburgers. With over 30 to choose from, Blognut was initally overwhelmed, but finally settled on the BBQ burger with cheddar and waffle fries (Mrs. Blognut had the turkey burger, also with waffle fries). Delicious - some of best burgers we've had in NYC - but make sure you come with an appetite. We were full all the way through the Walter Reade Theater screening of the Will Oldham vehicle Old Joy.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blognut Chimes in on Brooklyn Donut Debate

When Peter Ungaro was asked by the New York Daily News about his plan to replace Leonardo's Brick Oven Pizza with a Dunkin Donuts (DD), he made it clear that it would not be "your typical Dunkin design." Ungaro was going to great lengths to give this DD a "brownstone look," and ensure that it fit nicely into the surrounding neighborhood aesthetic.

Located at 383 Court Street in the largely Italian Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, Leonardo's was praised by local pizza lovers. The news that a DD would be moving in came as a shock to many Brooklynites as Carroll Gardens has, for the most part, avoided the infiltration of corporate chain establishments. The news has stirred a great deal of cyber-debate, with related stories appearing on numerous sites including A Brooklyn Life, Brownstoner, and the New York Daily News. While the general consensus seems to be heavily anti-DD, our corporate disdain can be partially lessened by a report that Ungaro may actually be a relative of the Leonardo's owners (it should be noted that Blognut has not investigated the validity of this claim).


Blognut arrives at DD at 11:30 AM Sunday morning - we nearly mistake it for a brownstone.

As far as DDs go, this one is especially nice - almost cozy. We opt not to purchase any Nuts since we've just finished breakfast at one of our favorite Brooklyn breakfast spots down the street, the Brooklyn Bread Cafe (who, unfortunately, do not serve Nuts). We instead stare dumbly at the exterior trying to decide how we feel about the new DD presence on Court Street. We wander over to a nearby antique store where we overhear a wonderful conversation on the matter:

Cashier to cup-toting customer - "Where'd you get that coffee?"

Customer - "The Fall Cafe, on Smith Street."

Cashier - "They've got good coffee down there. You know who else has good coffee? ...Dunkin Donuts."

Customer - "You been to the new one across the street yet?"

Cashier - "Yeah - a couple times - you?"

Customer - "Nope - I had a bad experience at the Dunkin Donuts down on Fulton while the wife and I were shopping the other day. She says she's going to Lane Bryant, so I decide to pop in and get a cinnamon bun. I get the bun and it's hard as a rock - I couldn't believe it. Then the lady over-charges me by 30 cents! Turned me off to Dunkin Donuts - but I hear this one's owned by a couple of Italian Americans, so it's probably OK."

Blognut has mixed feelings. While we understand that DD often serves up delicious Nuts, and we prefer them to most Pop-nuts, it's a shame to walk down Court past the hanging salamis and numerous slice-dealers only to find those visually-aggressive orange and purple letters that we normally find so comforting. I guess we can put up with one Pop-nut dealer in our neighborhood, but let's leave it at that. Ungaro apparently has plans to open another DD on nearby Smith Street, with possible plans for a third in the area as well. One cannot help but be concerned for the future of mom-and-pop Nuts in Brooklyn.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

South Beach

Miami does not have good donuts. Do not go to Miami for donuts.

When in Miami and craving a Nut, stop by Puerto Sagua and get an authentic cuban sandwich (ham, pulled pork, cheese, pickles, and mustard) and a Presidente instead.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street
New York, NY

Blognut enters Doughnut Plant Sunday afternoon after subsisting on coffee all morning in anticipation for the now somewhat legendary NYC donut purveyor. Existing somewhere in between Lower East Side hipness and the dried scallop bins of Chinatown, Doughnut Plant sits quietly on Grand Street (between Essex and Norfolk), cooking up some of New York's most intriguing baked goods.

A chalkboard sign on the sidewalk advertises The Plant's daily special, a peanut butter glazed with banana cream filling. Although Blognut enjoyed a similar flavor combination while visiting Graceland in Memphis, Tennesee (Elvis's favorite sandwich: fried peanut butter and banana on bread), we've never experienced such a gustatory combination in the form of a doughnut. Without apprehension we order The Doughnut Plant's Nut-of-the-day.

The peanut butter glazed with banana cream filling defies Donut-convention in many ways. First of all, it's one of The Doughnut Plant's many square varieties, a shape which takes some getting used when sitting down to enjoy a Nut. Second, it's a filled-donut which maintains a ring shape. The concept of a filling coexisting with a donut-hole was previouly unimaginable to Blognut. Initially skeptical of a peanut butter-flavored Nut, Blognut was pleasantly suprised at the subtleness of the peanut taste; a simple accent to the sweet glaze. Still in awe of the creamy banana filling oozing from a square, ringed Nut, we finish our purchase, happy and perplexed. While not the best doughnut we've had, the uniqueness of the flavor combinations offered at The Plant justifies many return visits to sample the wide array of abstract flavors. The cashier was extremely friendly while serving our Nut and seemed genuinely apologetic when breaking the news that they were out of raspberry (a Nut-flavor we had been looking foward to experiencing).

The Doughnut Plant has grown out of a rich, family doughnut tradition tracing back to pre-World War II Greensboro, North Carolina. This has Blognut thinking; what is it about North Carolina that generates such Donut-excellence (see Blognut entry for March 13, 2006)? We will definitely return to The Plant and look foward to trying the many unique flavors, just some of which include poppy-seed, malted milk, and rosewater.

Donut Score: 9.1

If you're looking to cut the sweetness of your Plant experience, step over to The Pickle Guys on Essex between Grand and Hester Streets, and pick up a quart of half sours.

Barrels full of pickles at The Pickle Guys.

Friday, March 17, 2006


In the town of Sauget, Illinois, a donut revolution is about to begin.

Just in time for their 2006 season opener this May, the Gateway Grizzlies baseball team, part of the Frontier League, will unveil what they're calling "Baseball's Best Burger." The sandwich will consist of a hamburger, sharp cheddar cheese, and two slices of bacon nestled between a sliced Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut! The burger will contain approximately 1000 calories and 45 grams of fat. It will retail for $4.50.

Tony Funderburg, the Grizzly's general manager, told that he got the idea after reading about a restaurant/bar called Mulligan's in Decatur, Georgia, which serves up a similar Kreme-encased sandwich. Mulligan's version is called the "Luther Burger," after the late R&B singer Luther Vandross. Rumor has it that the Nut-burger may actually have been invented by Vandross himself, one day when he ran out of hamburger buns.

Whatever the initial source of the Nut-burger may be, Blognut would like to salute this culinary masterpiece.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Important Dates in Donut History

July 13, 1937

In 1933 Vernon Rudolph buys a doughnut delivery service in Paducah, Kentucky from a French, New Orleans-based chef. Rudolph also purchases the chef's secret recipe for yeast-raised doughnuts (although legend has it that Mr. Rudolph won the recipe in a poker game). In 1937 he moves to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and rents a building on South Main Street. On July 13 he starts selling the first Krispy Kreme doughnuts to local grocery stores (opting for the more traditional European spelling).

The first Krispy Kreme - Winson-Salem, NC

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Southwestern Florida Donut Adventure Part #2

Yummies Donuts (cont'd) -
After dining on the Yummies front porch we return inside to thank the cashier and catch one more glimpse of the mouth-watering rack of freshly-baked Nuts. Walking to our car we see a long-haired teenager ride up to Yummies on his bicycle being chased by a tiny, bow-legged chihuahua. They both walk into the shop. Blognut decides to wait around to see them leave and get another look at the dog. A minute later they exit, at which point we exchange a few words and compliment the Chihuahua - his name was "Runt." The teenager then gets on his bike and the two of them are off, speeding down highway 776.

Sunday Evening, 8:00 PM - Blognut has the urge for an after-dinner Nut. We pull into a Dunkin' Donuts located at 1801 Tamiami Trail South in Venice. The place is packed with elderly people being served by a small army of frazzled employees (I counted 9). Upon scanning the familiar Dunkin spread, we immediately spot our donuts of choice: two frosted Nuts with completely ridiculous (yet weirdly Florida-friendly) purple and orange icing. Although Dunkin consistently serves up many of our favorite Pop-Nuts, these brightly-colored eye catchers were somewhat disappointing. The acidic bite that comes from over-food dying frosting was hard to get past, and made for a subpar Dunkin Experience.

Donut Score: 4.3

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Southwestern Florida Donut Adventure Part #1

Yummies Donuts
5005 State Road 776
Venice, Florida

Saturday afternoon, 2:00 PM - Blognut arrives at Yummies excited to enjoy a mid-afternoon donut, only to find Yummies closed. It turns out Yummies operates under the assumption that the Southwestern Florida early-bird contingent, who generally sit down to dinner at 4:30 PM, also prefer their breakfast at unusually early hours. They're open from 4:00 AM (!) until noon.

Sunday morning, 10:00 AM - Blognut returns to Yummies (now more accustomed to the local culinary time difference). After thoroughly enjoying the establishment's exterior, with its ever-so-Floridian pastel pink and yellow siding, we enter the tiny building. Right away we can tell that Yummies is a top-notch donut retailer. The staff is exceedingly friendly and pleased to help with our many donut inquries. We order a lot of donuts.

Probably the most pleasing/intriguing donut behind the counter is what Yummies calls their "Honey-glazed Blossom." These crescent shape delicacies are essentially fritters sweetened with a slighty yellow honey glaze, and are defininetly one of the finest Nuts we've sunken our teeth into. The honey glaze puts the Blossom into a Fritter-class of its own. Blognut also tried the unsweetened blossom, the apple fritter, a maple-nut roll, an eclair, and the plain glazed, all of which we would highly recommend.

After talking with the employees, Blognut discovered that Yummies has been at the same Venice location for more than 15 years since the owner moved it there from Michigan. We were more than happy with our Yummies experience and will definitely return next time we are in Southwestern Florida.

Donut Scores:

Honey-glazed Blossom - 9.4
Plain glazed - 9. 2
Apple fritter - 8.3
Maple-nut roll - 8.5
Unsweetened Blossom - 8. 1 (not for the sweet-tooth)
Eclair - 7.9