Saturday, August 29, 2009

Caught in the Act

Introducing "Caught in the Act," a new Blognut column featuring photos of people caught in the act of enjoying a doughnut.

Here's friend and crack freelance doughnut scout Marc taking care of a self-designed banana nut bread doughnut at the Fractured Prune in Baltimore. The other doughnut he created that day combined raspberry, mini chocolate chips, and - get ready - coconut. For the record this dude voluntarily eats something called "Gel Rings" and his favorite sandwich involves turkey, tomatoes, and raisin-walnut cream cheese. And they might actually be called "Jell Rings." Still gross, but having your great aunt's taste in sweets is part of what makes Marc an interesting, blog-worthy figure.

Correction: Marc's candy of choice is actually a Marshmallow Joy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dunkin's New "Toffee For Your Coffee" Hits Stores

Breaking news from Dunkin' today:

The winning donut in DD's recent "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" contest has hit participating stores through October 6th. The "Toffee for Your Coffee" was created by Jeff Hager of Hoover, Alabama. Hager beat out nearly 130,000 other contest submissions by topping a sour cream cake donut with glaze and chopped Heath Bar.

I'm no longer (that) bitter about losing, so look for a fair and balanced review of "Toffee for Your Coffee" in the coming days. And congrats to Jeff!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bayless to Fry Mexican Doughnuts

Mexican food wiz and Top Chef Masters winner Rick Bayless is opening a churro spot in Chicago! Churros are long and crispy Mexican doughnuts covered in cinnamon and sugar - they're usually delicious unless purchased on the subway platform and I'm sure Bayless's will kill. He'll also be serving tortas, the often over-looked amazingly good Mexican sandwich that doesn't come on a tortilla. The place is called Xoco and opens September 1st. Also, make sure to buy Rick's Mexican Everyday cookbook, if only because in it he discusses weight lifting and there's a picture of him doing a headstand.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Doctor Fired For Bashing Doughnuts (a marginally less important healthcare debate)

We know: doctors don’t like doughnuts. But as Florida’s Dr. Jason Newsom found out when he posted anti-doughnut propaganda on a sign outside a Florida health department, doughnuts wield extraordinary power. Or at least county commissioners and lawyers who own doughnut shops do. My pal Kwas said it best: “This doctor went way too far.”

Read the full story here

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Even Buddhist Monks Like Donuts...

...or at least donut-related beverages.

These fellows are snacking on something delicious involving green and white-ish vegetables, carafes of hot liquid, and - over there in the bottom-right corner - a to-go cardboard box of Dunkin' Donuts coffee! I guess we know where monks stand in the Dunkin' vs Starbucks vs McCafe debate.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Pac-Northwest Donuts Part III: Just Donuts, Not Much Else

Post-foie-gras donut we strolled by the Willamette River which was relaxing except for maniac mountain bikers careening by at high speeds. Too unsettling, so we headed back to the Subaru and our Voodoos weren’t melted. Phew! Back at the Ace the lighting was dim, but we managed to capture their likeness pretty OK and started with this doughnut which, as you can see, has a handle bar mustache. Mrs. B thinks it was called the Mayor of Portland or some such.

Doughnut With Mustache

The dough was light and pocketed with air – even better than I remember – and had a bright cinnamon-tinged spice with plenty of yeasty, wheaty bread. Blanketing the top was a thick layer of sweet and sappy maple frosting giving the Mayor a shiny brownish complexion; inside a smooth and rich Boston Cream completed the perfectly executed union of dough, maple and dairy – like a portable pancake breakfast shooting a blank stare.

Marshall Mathers

The Marshall Mathers came next. Get it? Small M&Ms. Not much to get actually, but here it is in front of hip Ace Hotel artwork. Didn’t have high hopes for this one, but the colors caught my eye and Mrs. B seemed to enjoy plucking individual candies to feed her unparalleled sugar jones. Definitely one of the few Voodoo disappoinments. The standard cake dough was soft, nicely dense and tasty as usual, but between the gopped vanilla frosting and loads of mini candies: WAY too sweet.

Again, because bacon on a doughnut!

Had better luck with the Bacon Maple Bar, a Voodoo classic which deservedly gets mentioned whenever the press or Bourdain show up. Same outstanding raised dough and maple frosting as before, but elevated to new circles of donutdom by three ultra crisp strips of smoky bacon. Just like the previous pancake analogy, but now the syrup has crept across the plate and encroached the breakfast pork for that glorious morning mess of maple, sweet and meat.


And last: a plain glazed, my favorite. I remember Voodoo’s glazed being good, but not this good! Slightly firm exterior with an ideal fry and a thin layer of shiny, perfectly dry glaze (wet glaze is the worst). The center was incredibly vacuous and melted away instantly leaving a clean, light wheatiness behind. An absolutely perfect doughnut. Top five all time. And all without trans-fat.

Marshall, the Mayor and the 4th of July doughnut from Part II.

Next up: Sad to leave Portland, but lots more doughnuts

Monday, August 03, 2009

I DO NOT ENDORSE FOIE GRAS (just foie gras donuts)

My food morals are well-defined, but also extremely negotiable when the right animal part comes along: no red meat unless it’s a famous, notable or special occasion cut; no veal, unless it’s in a particularly awesome sounding ragu; and no foie gras, except in extreme circumstances. So really my principles are mostly meaningless. But still, I try. And when it comes to foie gras, I’m not sure my experiences with the plump and fatty delicacy were ever rewarding enough to justify force feeding a goose with a hose.

But on our first night in Portland Mrs. B and I ate at Le Pigeon, and woah (!), a foie gras donut. Definitely extreme circumstances. Le Pigeon (translation: The Pigeon) is one of the best restaurants in Portland; part of the new casual – and heavily tattooed - fine-dining scene. And there it was, under Starters: a $16 foie gras jelly donut. We had to.

It arrived glistening like a glazed on the beach and knocked me out with the force of a dozen Krispy Kremes. Mrs. B - who once referred to garnishing a grilled cheese with tomato slices as "too exotic" - had bailed so I was going at it solo.

So over the top. The soft light dough was stuffed with thick and tart homemade pickled strawberry jam and the top surface smeared with foie gras powdered sugar (not sure what this means), coagulated from the massive piece of seared foie gras balanced precariously on top. We watched the slab slide slowly to the plate and land in a pool of aged balsamic vinegar and more jam, a dose of acidic sweet to balance the intense savoriness. Together the whole thing was unbelievably rich and fruity and dominated by a pleasing gamey, fatty, funk.

Honestly, I’d take a Voodoo glazed any day. But, in terms of memorable donuts, this was up there with the bacon maple bar (more on this in Part III) and the Dominic donut. My meat guilt was sky-high. Damage done. I ordered the steak with duck fat potatoes and bone marrow, which was outstanding.

Digesting by the river.