On the way home from a recent weekend getaway to Brattleboro, Vermont in which I scored/stole a Tim Horton's Donut plate, Mrs. Blognut and I stop off in Amherst, Mass to browse the vinyl at Mystery Train Records – I land unscratched selections from the Stones, the Kinks and the Faces. On the way out of town, the keen-eyed Mrs. B scares the filling out of me with her high-decibel pastry-proclamation:
There, resting quietly on the shoulder of Route 9 (Russell Street), sits The Donut Man.
The décor is nothing special – plain white walls, generic faux-Formica tables – and I'm 99% sure the place used to be a bank, given the drive-up window and ATM card slot beside the front door. But the fare more than makes up for the bland milieu:
Used to be a bank.
First Course: Apple Cider Glazed and Cherry Glazed.
The Apple Cider has everything I wish most Orchard-born apple cider Donuts would have – hearty cake dough with a complex, spicy, clove-y and apple-y flavor. Enveloping this satisfying core is a thin and not-too-sweet layer of glaze in perfect surface area to Donut-volume ratio. Save the oily-decadence that pops out of the fryer on Carter Mountain in Charlottesville, VA, this is the finest cider Donut Blognut has dined on.
Apple Cider Glazed.
The Cherry's composed of equally hearty dough, this time interspersed with bright red cherry patches. Given the neon coloration, I'm pleasantly surprised when the flavor is far from artificial - it actually tastes like cherries. Again, a perfectly-thin layer of sugary glaze coats the surface.
Second Course: Sugar-Coated Apple Cider and Glazed Cruller (expect an upcoming historical expose based upon the numerous regional variations and mispronunciations of this curled Donut).
Apple Cider Sugar-Coated.
The Cider Glazed is not enough. Before leaving I saunter to the counter and order the Donut Man's other cider variation, the Sugar-Coated Apple Cider Donut. As a consolation for showing enough appreciation to place two entirely separate Donut orders, the Donut Man throws in a complimentary Glazed Cruller.
Again, the Cider is tops – essentially the same verbiage applies that I used to describe the Cider Glazed, only this time with chunky, granulated sugar mingling on the surface. And for someone who detests crullers – primarily for the same reason I detest many egg-based dishes, that being that they're too eggy – this one is solid, and has enough of the sugary simplicity of a plain glazed that I'm able to down half before depositing the rest in my R2D2-shaped trashcan. Usually I chuck a cruller after only one bite. So I'd like to make it clear that my disposing of the Donut Man's cruller in no way reflects the quality of their Donuts. I just hate the egginess of crullers.
So with two courses of top-notch Donuts in me, I've decided that I love the Donut Man and must visit him again. Most likely I'll sell Mrs. Blognut on another trip to New England-proper with notions of maple syrup, cross country skiing and "getting away from it all," but we all (her included) know the real motivation behind our next visit.
The Donut Man
142 Russell Street
Apple Cider Glazed -
Apple Cider Sugar-Coated-
Stay tuned for a complete report on a guilt-free wonder out of Bayridge, Brooklyn called Holey Donuts.