It’s Foodie Tuesday!
If you are like me and obsessively watch cooking shows and drool over dozens of food blogs as part of your weekly entertainment, you no doubt are aware of the growing interest in retro foods. Gourmet versions of mac n’ cheese, meatloaf, and other diner classics have been making appearances in upscale restaurants for a while now. And the same trend is popping up in the dessert world too.
Look at the rise of the cupcake from a simple birthday party treat to a three-dollar masterpiece. And now it seems like it is the donut’s turn.
The upscale donut is not totally new. Portland, Oregon’s Voodoo Donut opened in 2003 and has been famous for its unusual toppings like Tang crystals and sugary breakfast cereals ever since.
I for one find the idea of stabbing their eponymous Voodoo Donut with the included pretzel “stake” to watch the jelly gush out to be a very therapeutic take on snack time.
But the place that is most often credited with elevating the donut to new heights is Donut Plant in New York City. Friends of mine whole live there have raved about their exotic flavours for a few years but I finally got to try them for myself in April.
I loved the Chelsea location’s funky decorations. Everywhere I looked there were brightly coloured “donuts,” from the soft sculptures on the walls to the ceramic motifs on the benches. And they even include the square shapes for which Donut Plant is famous!
When I arrived mid-morning, there were still almost a dozen flavours to choose from. I knew I wanted one of the huge square ones and was tempted by the peanut butter and jelly which made them famous but finally settled on a coconut cream. This was seriously the best donut I have ever eaten. A light and fluffy yeast donut filled with a not too sweet coconut cream (how do they fill those square donuts?), with the outside drenched in a sweet coconut glaze. Now that’s the breakfast of champions!
Still dreaming of my Donut Plant experience, I was thrilled to find out that so many new donut shops are opening in Toronto. Little Nicky’s Coffee has made a name for itself by serving itty bitty bites that make all Torontonians nostalgic for the Tiny Tom donuts sold at the Canadian National Exhibition.
And Paulette’s Original Chicken and Donuts recently opened, offering up half a dozen gourmet flavours a day. The small turquoise store is super-cute and I love the old fashioned uniforms the staff wear but I must admit that I was a little disappointed in the product. At $2.50 per piece, this is a pricy option that delivers neither the size nor the flavour of Donut Plant’s confections.
For the sake of research I tried all six flavours on offer: Oreo, Cinnamon Latte, Root Beer Float, Blueberry Balsamic, Mango Yuzu, and Raspberry Rose. My favourites were the fruit flavours which were bright and fresh, and not as sweet as the others. I liked them and will be sure to return to try new kinds as they are rolled out but I’m still on the hunt for a Canadian replacement for Donut Plant. Any suggestions for a place that serves new twists on an old favourite?