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Entries in doughnuts (27)

Saturday
May152010

Bittersweet: A Tale of Donut Despair Diverted in Portland, OR

I want to tell you a sad, sad story about Delicious Donuts in Portland, Oregon.

Based on many accounts, this is the donut place in Portland--"better than Voodoo" was the bold claim of one trusted source.

But I couldn't tell you for myself, because I've never tasted them.

Oh, I've tried. In the past, when showing at the Crafty Wonderland fair in its old location at the Doug Fir Lounge, I had tried to score a doughnut on my way to the fair, but each and every time I was confronted by this sign:

I wasn't too put off though--generally I was heading over there at 11 a.m. or so, and I can understand if a popular shop might be sold out by then. If anything, it heightened the anticipation.

And on a more recent trip to Portland for the Crafty Wonderland spring fair, I was prepared, and got up early on a Sunday morning and headed over to the donut shop, a spring in my step from the sweet prospect of glazed and fried  goodness in my near future a bit before 8 a.m. Cars were parked outside, and I felt hopeful: this was gonna be my day.

But here's what I found:

The only difference? The sign was slightly nicer. But somehow, this provided little comfort.

Sold out of donuts before 8 a.m. on a Sunday? I can understand if you're a popular place, but come on. If you're selling out that early, you need to make more donuts.

Yes, I was facing deep donut despair, but happily this story has a sweet ending: because a mere few hours later I was delighted with a surprise Voodoo Doughnut, thoughtfully delivered by friends Mary and Dave Sheely. Delicious Donuts might be the best, but Voodoo definitley won my sweet affections on this fateful day.Delicious Donuts, 12 Southeast Grand Avenue Portland, OR 97214-1112 - (503) 233-1833.

Voodoo Doughnut, 22 Southwest 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204-2713, (503) 241-4704; online at voodoodoughnut.com.

Tuesday
Mar232010

Warm Feelings for Frost Doughnuts, Mill Creek WA

They say (and by they, I mean me) that bad things happen when you leave the city.

However, I was proven wrong--so wrong--when I was recently rewarded by venturing out of Seattle to visit Frost Doughnuts. It was beyond due--I mean, after hearing about their fancy doughnuts in flavors like Red Velvet from such trusted sources as Savory Sweet Life and Cookbook Chronicles, not to mention my go-to sources for all things sweet, Denise and Nick, I knew I had to visit.

Though there were a few grumblings as we made our way outside of the city into a suspiciously Anytown-looking sort of main street, all of this ceased the moment we entered the doors.

The first thing that hits you at Frost? That unmatched, beautiful, grease-meets-yeast-meets-sugar smell of doughnuts. You are breathing doughnut air from the moment you enter. But not in a gross way. In an "I wish I could live here" sort of way.

Next, you're probably going to notice the case. Like, OMG, what a case. Not only is it filled with row after row of delicious and creative flavors--but it's topped by rows of little parfait cups filled with doughnut holes and frosting for those on the run:

and flanked on the side by the most beautiful piece of decor I've ever seen: the doughnut floral arrangement.

But what about those doughnuts? They look fancy, but how do they taste?

Doughnut purists may argue that doughnuts aren't meant to be gourmet, but they have probably never tasted a fancy Wedding Cake or Red Velvet Cake doughnut from Frost. They both equal very delicious eating experiences, with moist, flavorful cake topped with a mountain of frosting. You may be inclined to say the frosting is overkill, but I assure you, it's not. It's kind of like a fancier, inverted Vanilla Kreme doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts (my favorite flavor!) but on a cake doughnut.

And the German chocolate cake and vanilla-vanilla varieties both got rave reviews too.

The verdict? Bad things may happen when you leave the city, but good things happen when you end up at Frost Doughnuts in Mill Creek.

Frost Doughnuts, 15421 Main Street, Mill Creek; online at frostology.com. Oh, and per the website, more locations are coming soon. Take over the world, Frost! Please!

Monday
Jan182010

Holey Yum: Doughnut Upside Down Cake for Serious Eats

Trying to improve a classic can be tricky business.

However, when it comes to Pineapple Upside Down Cake, I believe I may have actually done it--by adapting it into a Doughnut Upside Down Cake.

How did I attain this magic? Not through complicated chemistry or advanced algorithms. I simply looked through a classic recipe and replaced every instance of "pineapple" with "doughnut" and replaced shortening and milk with butter and heavy cream, respectively.

The result, scientifically speaking? Holey yum.

For the full entry and recipe, check out Serious Eats!

Wednesday
Jun242009

Malasada Madness: The Portuguese Doughnut That Took Over Hawaii

Malasadas!
Recently, a new espresso stand opened up very close to the CakeSpy headquarters in Seattle, a little outpost of North Shore Hawaiian BBQ. Now, this is one of those places that looks like it might be awful or awesome, but probably not in-between.


North Shore BBQ Espresso StandMalasadas on the menu!
Admittedly, most of their bakery offerings--prepackaged muffins, biscotti and cookies--didn't appeal too much. But upon noticing that they fry up malasadas (little rounds of sweet, yeasty fried dough topped with granulated sugar) to order, a visit was definitely necessary.


While waiting for the malasadas to fry up, however, I noticed something unusual: they were listed on the menu as Portuguese Doughnuts. Now, this seemed a big incongruous on a Hawaiian menu. Naturally, I ran home to Wikipedia the *&^% out of this.

 

As Wikipedia tells me, it was a development borne of immigration patterns: "In 1878, Portuguese laborers from the Azores came to Hawaii to work in the plantations. These immigrants brought their traditional foods with them, including a fried dough pastry called the 'malasada.' Today there are numerous bakeries in the Hawaiian islands specializing in malasadas."


The article references one of the most famous malasada vendors in Hawaii, Leonard's Bakery, which may not have been the first place to sell them, but it certainly sounds like it's the place that made them popular; their story further illuminates the phenomenon of the Portuguese doughnut in Hawaii:

 

In June 1882 the British sailing ship 'Monarch' brought Arecnion & Amelia DoRego from San Miguel Island, Portugal to Maui under contract to work the sugar cane fields.

Some 33 years later, their grandson Leonard was born. In 1946 Leonard and his wife Margaret moved to Honolulu with their daughter Diane, age 8. Leonard worked at Snowflake Bakery until he founded Leonard's Bakery in 1952

Leonard and Margaret were no strangers to hard work, both coming from very large families. The bakery prospered. Not long after opening, Leonard's mother suggested making malasadas for Shrove Tuesday - a Portuguese tradition.

Although thinking it may be too ethnic, Leonard's bakers complied. Malasadas were a huge hit. And, the appetite for malasadas in Hawaii was born.

Due to Leonard's popularity Leonard required a larger, more modern facility, moving into their present location at 933 Kapahulu Avenue in 1957.


These days, malasadas are closely associated with Hawaii. They're seen dressed up at fancy restaurants, they're sold out of mobile trucks, and they're naturally a delicious breakfast.

 

(CakeSpy Note: Strangely enough, according to Wikipedia, Hawaii is not the only place where malasadas are readily available: "Malasadas are also very popular in the New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts region, which has a large Portuguese population. Malasadas are also popular in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where they are called 'flippers'." So perhaps there is a hidden malasada belt in New England?)
Inside of the Malasada
Which brings us back to Seattle and North Shore Hawaiian BBQ. Remember how I said that this place was going to be either awesome or awful? Well, I can't speak to the savory fare there, but these malasadas were pretty awesome. They charmingly misshapen rounds, served unpretentiously in a plastic container and they were still hot and slightly dripping with the oil in which they had just been fried. The first irresistible bite, taken while they were still way too hot, was yeasty, sweet, pleasingly greasy, and, well, pretty perfect.

Of course if you're not in Hawaii or Seattle or Portugal, no need to panic. Here's a recipe (discovered via TastyIsland) for malasadas which are said to taste similar to the legendary ones at Leonard's!
Places mentioned:
North Shore Hawaiian Barbecue, 101 Boren Ave. S, Seattle (206)621-1121; online at northshoreseattle.com.

Leonard's Hawaii, multiple locations; online at leonardshawaii.com.

 

Thursday
May142009

Holey Cake: When Doughnuts and Cupcakes Collide

Doughnut Cupcakes c/o JustJenn
Photo c/o Justjennrants.blogspot.com

It seems that after the recent list of doughnut links, some additional commentary is necessary on the subject of the doughnut-cupcake combination.

When doughnut muffins reached the mainstream, it was only a matter of time before a slightly more awesome counterpart, the doughnut cupcake, entered the scene.

 

And they've entered in a big way, with all sorts of delicious variations. Here are just a few:

 

I do think pastry on pastry is a bit over the top - I feel like I've just made the turducken of desserts.
Of course, there is no mention of anyone declining a bite of these sweet treats.
  • On the lovely and amazing Bake & Destroy, Natalie made probably the best use ever of the new Starbucks VIA instant coffee by mixing it into the cupcakes and buttercream, and then topping it all off with a powdered sugar doughnut for a dizzying rush of sugar and a satisfying mixture of textures and tastes.
  • Of course, if you like the doughnut muffin style, on Elle's New England Kitchen, the doughnut muffin gets a sweet makeover with the addition of frosting and sprinkles--um, Elle, we think that means it's a doughnut cupcake now. And oh, so deliciously so.
  • In that vein, at Retro Bakery in Las Vegas, they they have not one, not two...but three doughnut cupcake varieties on their menu: the "Glazed Donut" (Vanilla cake drenched in donut glaze), the "Sprinkled Donut" (Vanilla cake dipped in chocolate fudge ganache and rainbow jimmies) and "Coffee and Donuts" (Vanilla cake covered in donut glaze and topped with a dollop of coffee buttercream). Oh yes.

 

Sunday
Oct052008

Cakewalk: Mostly Doughnuts in Sultan and Monroe, WA

Homer Simpson Donut, Fresh + Fancy Donuts, Monroe, WA
No doubt about it, it was a dark Monday this week, what with the financial crisis and all-time stock market lows. Needing a bit of reprieve, we took to the road to clear our minds and get some sweet relief by way of sugary carbohydrates. Heading a mere 45 minutes out of Seattle, it was if we'd escaped these urban worries: with a pastoral backdrop including ponies, cows, farms and mountains, we set to tasting some delicious baked goods. Without consciously seeking it out, we ended up gravitating toward doughnuts on most of the trip. But in retrospect, doesn't it make sense? After all, when you split it in half, sharing a doughnut is like sharing a smile. Here's a recap of our adventure:


We walked up to our first stop, Sky River Bakery, only to meet disappointment--apparently, they're closed Sunday and Monday. Now, will you allow us a slight rant? (Thank you). These are awful days for a bakery to be closed--Sunday being the perfect day for a leisurely morning cinnamon roll, and Mondays being a day on which we could all use a sweet lift. That aside, we will grudgingly admit that it looked like a cute place from the outside. Sky River Bakery, 117 1/2 W Main St, Monroe, WA 98272, (360) 794-7434; online at skyriverbakery.com.

 

Delicious Concha, La Talpita
Luckily for us, before we pulled away we spied the word "PANADERIA" across the street; while we don't speak Spanish, we know that this vital word means deliciousness awaits. Though it was a dimly lit grocery filled will all sorts of Mexican groceries and sundries, they had a surprisingly full case of Conchas, pan dulce, and other hispanic specialties. The concha, while perhaps not the best we've ever tasted, certainly did soften the blow of our first stop being closed. La Talpita, 118 W. Main St, Monroe, WA.

Sultan Bakery DonutSultan BakeryBig Foot, Sultan BakeryFruit bars and cream puffs at Sultan Bakery

Our next stop was the wonderful Sultan Bakery, which doubles as a cafe-diner and was well attended at 11 am with early lunchers and laborers taking coffee breaks. This place moves at a slower pace than urbanites might like, but ultimately your patience will be rewarded. We chose the "bigfoot"--a maple bar shaped like, well, you know, as well as a few iced cake doughnuts. While the maple icing on the bigfoot was delicious, it was the cake doughnuts that really shone--cakey, and with just the slightest, very delightful, bit of "bite" in the icing. Sultan Bakery, 711 W Stevens Ave, Sultan, WA 98294 (360) 793-7996.


Old School BBQ
At this point, if you'll allow, we'd like to give a shout-out to one place for savory fare, just because its very presence astounds us: Old School BBQ, a roadside barbecue joint housed in an old school bus. As if that wasn't cool enough? It's right next to the Reptile Museum (at which, in case you were wondering, you can get espresso too). If that doesn't sound like a recipe for complete awesomeness, we don't know what does. Read about one foodie's experience at Old School BBQ here. We couldn't find the address or phone number, so we'll include the contact info for the Reptile Museum: 22715 State Route 2, Monroe, WA - (360) 805-5300‎.


Buttermilk Maple bar, Fresh + Fancy Donuts, Monroe, WAFresh + Fancy Donuts
Our final stop was Fresh + Fancy Donuts in Monroe. Nestled in an unassuming strip mall, the yeasty, sugary doughnut smell embraces you the moment you walk in; the employee was adorable, friendly and as sweet as the doughnuts. We picked up some pink frosted doughnuts that would make Homer Simpson proud, as well as a buttermilk bar with maple frosting and a sweet glazed cruller. The doughnuts were absolute perfection, with the oil seeping in just enough for a tantalizing crunch in each sugary bite. 19983 State Route 2, Monroe, WA 98272 (360) 863-0782.

 

Wednesday
Sep102008

Holey Sweetness: An Unexpected Visit to Shipley Do-Nuts in Houston

Shipley's do-nut
Sometimes, when life gives you lemons...well, you know the rest. However, in the recent case of an unexpected 3-hour flight layover in the Houston Airport, it wasn't lemonade, but sweet, sweet donuts that sweetened our day.

We're talking about Shipley Do-Nuts, of course.
Shipley's Do-Nuts saved my life
Shipley Do-Nuts was founded in 1936 in Texas (when donuts retailed for 5 cents a dozen) – they now boast nearly 200 locations in Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. While on previous visits to their website we were inclined to rage against the chain as having a contrived sort of nostalgic atmosphere, it must be said—on our visit to the Houston airport, all of the employees were almost alarmingly upbeat, and we were ultimately won over by the old-school packaging—but more importantly, by the donuts. These donuts weren’t extraordinary, but sometimes that’s not such a bad thing--nostalgia is often comfort, is it not? They were certainly solid—our choice, the cherry-frosted (and rainbow sprinkled!) raised donut, was just greasy enough to provide a solid base for the smothering of cherry frosting, which recalled another glorious nostalgic taste memory: the cherry dip coating from Mr. Softee.
Shipley's in the Houston Airport

While we’re not going to denounce all other donuts in favor of Shipley’s (hey, there’s room for everyone!) we can indeed say that they made our layover sweet, and that we’re very happy to have made their acquaintance.

(Cakespy Note: At the time of our visit, we were not aware of the recent immigration scandal at Shipley’s, so we have chosen to just focus on the donuts in this writeup. Any reader thoughts?)

For locations, visit www.shipleydonuts.com

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