A quick break from Portland coverage to weigh in on the Tim Horton’s situation. Like I mentioned the other day, the Canadian doughnut giant has hit New York, replacing 12 mostly shoddy Dunkin’ locations. Time Out New York had something to say. And Gothamist. Even the Times.
I've covered Tim Horton’s in the past: once in Toronto, and once in Massachusetts where this plate found its way into Mrs. B’s purse. The fact that a massive corporate doughnut chain uses porcelain dinnerware is undeniably awesome, but Tim’s doughnuts have me torn. I spent my early years in Buffalo, which is really just an extension of Canada and definitely prime Tim territory. So I really want to like their doughnuts. But I've mostly been disappointed and find they lag well behind Dunkin', Winchell's and Krispy Kreme in the pop-doughnut hierarchy. And definitely behind Shipley's. Plus, doughnut-folk and Canadians were outraged a few years back when they started flash-freezing and shipping doughnuts from a 230,000 square-foot factory in Brantford, Ontario (birthplace of Wayne Gretzky).
But in the interest of being fair, this weekend I conducted a clean slate Dunkin’/Tim comparison, opting for head-to-head plain glazed. My Tim doughnut came from their 42nd Street location. I think it's also a KFC. Or possibly a Taco Bell. Or both like in the song. The competition came from my neighborhood DD, which is also a Baskin Robbins.
Visually they were similar and for some reason both photos turned out all Fire In the Sky. The Dunkin' had a slightly darker complexion, but each were pale brown and coated with a thin layer of see-through glaze. The dough was soft and simple with a bit of sweetness, a hint of cinnamon and a bright and yeasty Wonder Breadiness. It was light, refreshing and if a doughnut can be considered summery, this was it - the fried counterpart to hefeweizen and watermelon.
Tim's glazed (aka, The Honey Dip) wasn’t bad, but it didn’t compare. The dough was fine - if a bit too bready - but the firm, fried exterior had an unpleasant nuttiness which I assume means Tim’s fries with peanut oil; it totally disrupted any harmony between airy dough and glaze, the critical complement in a good raised doughnut.
So Dunkin' wins, hands down. But in all fairness, Tim Horton’s cake doughnuts aren’t bad at all. I picked up a glazed old fashioned in Herald Square today which was loaded with spicy nutmeg and totally worthwhile.
Next up: More Voodoo; also, my pal Marc recently suggested I conquer all 12 Tim Horton's in one day. I'm seriously considering.