Food & Wine: America’s Best Doughnuts

1. The Doughnut Vault – Chicago, IL
What to get: chocolate glazed, pistachio, old fashioned, $1 coffee

2. Betty Ann Food Shop – Boston, MA
What to get: classic sugar rolled doughnuts, cake and jelly filled

3. Clear Flour Bread Bakery – Brookline, MA
What to get: baked currant doughnuts

4. Primo’s Donuts – Los Angeles, CA
What to get: glazed rings, cake and yeast doughtnuts for less than $1

5. Doughnut Plant – New York, NY
What to get: glazed oatmeal cake doughnut

6. Dynamo Donuts – San Francisco, CA
What to get: lemon-pistachio, banana de leche, bacon maple

7. Top Pot Doughnuts – Seattle, WA
What to get: chocolate peanut, Valley Girl lemon, feather boas

8. Voodoo Doughnut – Portland, OR
What to get: voodoo doll, Fruit Loop and bubble gum dust toppings

9. Cafe du Monde – New Orleans, LA
What to get: beignets, dark roast chicory coffee

10. Sublime Doughnuts – Atlanta, GA
What to get: fresh strawberry n cream, A-town cream

11. Congdon’s Doughtnuts – Wells, ME
What to get: blueberry jelly, honey dipped

12. Gourdough’s – Austin, TX
What to get: Funky Monkey (brown sugar glazed bananas), Mother Clucker (fried chicken strips with honey butter)

13. The Donut Stop – St. Louis, MO
What to get: cinnamon globs

14. Britt’s Donuts – Carolina Beach, NC (Open around Memorial Day)
What to get: glazed

15. Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop – Brooklyn, NY
What to get: sour cream, coconut cream, ice cream sandwich with red velvet doughnut and strawberry ice cream

16. Do-Rite Donuts – Chicago, IL
What to get: everything and anything

The Land of Enchantment

After spending the last 3 months in New Mexico, I have learned why it is referred to as “The Land of Enchantment.” The scenery and people are beautiful, and more importantly the food… OMG. New Mexican food is full of tradition and soul. Perhaps one of the best things I experienced during my stay in the southwest was a wonderful little something called a sopapilla. Very similar to Native Indian flybread, New Mexico has a long history of creating and enjoying these pieces of fried dough. On our first night in,  my new roommate and I went out to eat at a local Santa Fean spot and we were introduced to these beauties.

Maria's New Mexican Kitchen
Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen

When ordering, our waiter, originally from Connecticut, told us “Oh yeah you’ll want these.” Truer words have never been spoken. AMAZING little pockets of fried dough smothered in simple honey. DO NOT forget the honey. It became an instant comfort food and the perfect dessert to top off a good meal of red/green chile.

Horseman Haven Cafe
Horseman Haven Cafe

If you ever find yourself in the southwest definitely make a trip to New Mexico and enjoy all that it has to offer. The food, the mountains, the desert, and the people. They are all a treasure held within this other land that time forgot.

“New Mexico is a land of rich heritage, deep people, frank food, and long sunsets.” – Jon Hunter, Las Cruces

Hole in the Sky

Randy’s Donuts. Los Angeles, CA.

Driving by the 405 you are destined to come across this beauty. Inspired by photographer Will Deleon’s project Hole in the Sky I am reminded of my very own trip to this iconic donut shop. July 11th, 2012 was Randy’s 60th anniversary. And it was an awesome day.

With a mix of mariachi and reggaeton in the background and balloons as bright as the Southern California sun, I couldn’t think of a more perfect place to spend a Wednesday afternoon. I stood in line to get my free glazed donut with a big ass smile on my face (see below).

Happiness is this
Happiness is this

Side note: I find it funny that in almost every picture you’ll see of Randy’s you’ll also see some bird popping its silly little head in the shot. Greedy bitches don’t get enough being all up in your grill while you’re eating lunch at the park, they have to try to get at the biggest piece of “food” they see in the sky too (I really, really don’t like birds btw).

Back to the donut: fresh out of the frier and seconds after the wet, dripping glaze touched down, they were handed out to loyal patrons waiting in line. Talk about melt in your mouth delicious. Randy’s just proved that simple definitely does have its place in this city and that less is actually in fact more.

Free donuts are always awesome, but this one was particularly amazing. The atmosphere was full of not only celebration for this iconic donut shop but the day also felt like a celebration of the city of Los Angeles. LA is mixed with so many different types of people from so many different backgrounds. That day Randy’s became a haven bridging social economic gaps to bring everyone together for the common good (aka a great donut).

60th Anniversay 7/11/12
60th Anniversay 7/11/12
From Larry and Ron
From Larry and Ron

“10 Best Doughnut Shops in America”

A list of the 10 Best Doughnut Shops in America by travel blog Rates To Go:

10. Bouchon Bakery (New York, Las Vegas, and California)

9. Chef Mavro (Honolulu, Hawaii)

8. Coffee an’ Donut Shop (Westport, Connecticut)

7. The Donut Man (Glendora, California)

6. Doughnut Plant (New York, New York)

5. Morning Call (Metairie, Louisiana)

4. Spudnuts (Charlottesville, Virginia)

3. Top Pot (Seattle, Washington)

2. Zingerman’s Bakehouse (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

1. Randy’s Donuts (Los Angeles, California)

Fried and Frozen: the Perfect Treat

There’s nothing quite like learning that not only can you have a doughnut for dessert, but that you can have that same doughnut with delicious ice cream in the form of a doughnut ice cream sandwich. This is the delicacy that now awaits diners on the dessert menu at Umami Burger.

Our location of choice was the Santa Monica Umami. For the uninitiated to Umami Santa Monica, you’re in the right place when you see a door with a big red burger bun on the front door. Yes, it says “Fred Segal” below it — and no, there is no “Umami Burger” sign outside — but you’re in the right place. Head on inside and grab a seat and prepare for a tasty treat.

Umami Store Front
Umami Store Front
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior

The four of us decided to try every kind of doughnut ice cream sandwich combination we could! That evening they had two sugary delights for us; a maple donut with vanilla bacon ice cream and an apple fritter doughnut with vanilla ice cream. In order for each of us each to sample the doughnuts, we had them cut into quarters (and what tempting little quarters they were!).

Maple / Vanilla Bacon (bottom left) & Apple Fritter / Vanilla (top right)
Maple / Vanilla Bacon (bottom left) & Apple Fritter / Vanilla (top right)
Maple / Vanilla Bacon
Maple / Vanilla Bacon
Apple Fritter / Vanilla
Apple Fritter / Vanilla

The maple doughnut with vanilla bacon ice cream was extremely flavorful. The doughnut wasn’t quite as light and fluffy as we had anticipated, but the slightly firmer pastry paired well with the firm ice cream. The apple fritter variation turned out simple and just as scrumptious. I don’t see any reason why either doughnut ice cream sandwich couldn’t be had for breakfast in place of a regular doughnut…it’s basically a donut and ‘milk’, right?

Wanting more, we rounded out our dessert discovery adventure by going back to the basics: ice cream sandwiches. Specifically, The Chocolate: chocolate chip cookie with chocolate ice cream. Compared to the doughnut bites, the cookie ice cream sandwich was plain — unoriginal next to its doughnut cousin.

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip / Chocolate
Chocolate, Chocolate Chip / Chocolate

So next time you find yourself looking for a sweet treat in Santa Monica, why not swing by Umami and grab a doughnut ice cream sandwich? You won’t be disappointed.

For Chasing Doughnuts, this has been a special guest post by Rachel Corell, Veronica Fuog, Michael Kirkpatrick, and Emily Teitelbaum.

Veronica, Michael, Emily, Rachel
Veronica, Michael, Emily, Rachel

Special thanks to my ‘nut lovers for their scouting and contribution to Chasing Doughnuts!

Check out MEK Studios and A Whispered Wish for more cool stuff.

Cafe Du Monde

As a late homage to National Coffee Day (September 29th), I would like to highlight one of the absolute best coffee doughnut combinations.

Cafe Freaking Du Monde, New Orleans, LA

cafe' au lait

Cafe Du Monde

One of the most famous cafes in the country, Cafe Du Monde is everything it is cracked up to be. And I really mean that, crack is a very appropriate term. Their legendary cafe au laits and beignets together are enough to knock you unconscious from pure ecstasy.  It is an absolute must see when in New Orleans. If my friends would have let me, we would have been here every single morning of our trip. The line may be a little intimidating, but it’s actually not much of a wait. They have their system pretty well organized and can get you in and out of there in no time.

Words will hardly do this justice but I will try. To start, the only serve these two items. Cafe au laits and beignets. There’s no need for anything else on the menu because they are that good. The iced cafe au lait is one of the the best drinks I’ve ever had. Their unique flavor comes from the chicory they include in the grounds. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever had in the best way possible. Strong and creamy with a slightly woody flavor (in effect, the makings of a good man).

cafe au lait

And the beignets… the best piece of fried dough you will ever have in your life. If you do it right you will have powdered sugar all over you by the time you leave. People may mistake you for a drug addict or they may be extremely jealous of what you just devoured.

heaven

heaven

This must be what pillows look like in heaven.

There are few things I love more than sitting outside enjoying a cup of coffee and dough. The atmosphere here is hard to beat. You’re in the heart of the french quarter and you can’t escape from the jazz all over the streets. I couldn’t be happier.

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