Everyone loves doughnuts—anyone who says he doesn't is either lying or has never had a good one.
- Nancy Silverton, "Pastries from the La Brea Bakery"
Yesterday we celebrated National Doughnut (or "Donut", as I prefer) at Serious Eats. You can read a little history about the holiday, which lands on the first Friday of June, at the awesome donut-obsessed Blognut. SE interviewed the blognut himself, Bret Stetka, at The Donut Pub, a favorite destination of mine and some of my friends for tasty unhealthy things. As it's open 24 hours a day, it's probably good to go to if you're drunk at 3 AM, assuming you have enough consciousness to find it. Of course, I have no experience with drunken donut eating...
I drew the happy cavorting donuts to illustrate how happy this day of donuts is, but to be honest I'm not a big donut fan, although I may like them more now than I did before going through a donut tasting. [puts up a shield to deflect bullets and sharp pokey things from angry donut lovers.] I don't hate them and I do enjoy reading about them or staring at them in all their cute rotund-ness, but I've never eaten a donut that made me think, "Damn, that was a really good donut. I think I will eat five more of those. Right now." While growing up I distinctly remember disliking doughnuts from my neighborhood grocery store, Market Basket, for tasting like heavy, somewhat dry, not very flavorful cake.
This week we prepared to talk about donuts by eating them. A lot of them. I missed out on the NYC donut tasting, but got the full blast of the cross-country tasting, which involved shipping boxes of donuts from Portland, Seattle, and Beverly Hills overnight so we could eat them in their day-old glory. Obviously it's not the optimal situation for eating donuts—I don't think they improve with age—but it was the best we could do and we weren't planning on rating them for the site.
However, this is my site! So I can rate them! Haha! As fairly as I can, of course.
Seattle's Top Pot sent us a dozen donuts. Sadly, I don't recall much about them. I think the time and travel took their toll on whatever deliciousness the donuts may have possibly once held. They weren't bad, they just didn't conjure up that, "OMG, SO TASTY!" reaction that I like to have. One thing that I don't think would've changed with age is the flavor of the chocolate donut, which oddly didn't really taste like chocolate. None of us could put on finger on it. Surely it's real chocolate. Unless chocolate undergoes some kind of transformation in the donuting process...
We also obtained a box of donuts from Portland's Voodoo Doughnuts, but not without some difficulty. Ed made his call to the donut shop and requested a box shipped overnight to NYC. Of course, it's not surprising that someone would question that. ...Or think that we were insane. Whoever Ed talked to was against sending his donut offspring so far from their homeland. We understood his stance; the donuts would lose most of their magical donuty essence in the process of flying across the country.
Instead, Ed got a friend in Portland to buy us a box of donuts and ship it to us. It seems a bit underhanded, but Ed did inform the Voodoo Doughnuts guy that we would do that instead. As we were not on some kind of evil donut-fueled mission involving the sacrifice of innocence children's souls, we didn't think this was a bad thing to do.
Sadly, we found out that these donuts really do not travel well, maybe even worse than the Top Pot donuts. Oops. (They look cute though, eh?) I'm sure they're good fresh from the source, but I'll never know unless I visit Portland. The first donut is a maple bacon bar, which, despite that I say I like to try everything, I really didn't want to try. How much would you hate me if I said I wasn't a fan of bacon? [cowers in fear]
Update (6/3): I just remembered that there was something from Voodoo that I liked. ...But it wasn't a donut. At least, it wasn't rotund. It looked like a small pound cake, but tasted a million times better, with a crisp crust and tender...um...cakey innards. Nothing like the donuts. HOORAY, MYSTERY CAKE!
While Frittelli's donuts from Beverly Hills arrived in a Tiffany's-blue box so mangled (hence why I didn't take photos of them except for one photogenic specimen), they were possibly the best tasting donuts I had ever eaten, keeping in mind that I haven't eaten that many donuts in my life. Frittelli's piqued Ed's interest after he found out that they were approved by Nancy Silverton, who seems to be a goddess in world of baking (something I would be more sure about if I could eat some of her creations).
They didn't taste like they suffered at the hands of aging, which Santos said may be due to preservatives, but ye know...they were pretty damn good, so I'm okay with it. The crust was delicate and crisp unlike any other donut I had eaten and the crumb was light, tender and moist in a way that wasn't like...anything else. Not a cake, nor a quickbread. Just DONUT. The apple fritter was also "OMG GIVE ME MORE" good, with all the tastiness of something that is deep fried without the grease or heaviness that I would be afraid to get from a ball of dough and apple chunks dunked in a vat of oil. I'm sure there are many places to get donuts of the same awesomeness quotient (or more, while being more accessible than Beverly Hills); I just haven't been to any of these donut shops yet.
Of course, if I go to LA I do expect some kind of donut hunting adventure to occur. :]
Although I do not love donuts as Nancy says I should, I like them more than I used to. Maybe I should make it my mission to sample the best donuts when possible in hopes of finding the Holy Grail of donuts, to taste the one that will fill my soul with incalculably obsessive donut love, so that can never part from donuts ever agaaaain...
On second though, I probably shouldn't.
and now for some curry
My curry-loving heart skipped a beat when I heard that curry shop Go Go Curry opened in NYC. A restaurant solely dedicated to Japanese curry, a foodstuff that, despite looking like a bad case of the runs, tastes like awesome happy sweet spicy thick sodiumy probably MSG-enhanced....tastiness...of some sort...
If you like Japanese curry as much as I do, surely you understand. I grew up eating curry, whether out of a retort pouch, homemade with condensed curry cubes (at least once in Paris), from our family friend's Japanese take-out in NJ, at Mitsuwa, at a curry shop in Taipei, at buffets in Taipei, at the American Club in Taipei, practically ANYWHERE that sold it in Japan (I wasn't an adventurous eater when I was younger), at Wagamama, and...well, anywhere else that I could find it. [eyes glaze over in a curry-filled reverie] I LOVE THAT BROWN GOOPY SAUCE, YES I DO. Stop looking at me funnily.
Nathan didn't mind where we ate out as long as it was cheap. Luckily I remembered that Go Go Curry was having an "EVERYTHING IS ONLY $5!!!" campaign all throughout May in honor of its opening. Which means you can't have in on the cheapness anymore. Sorry.
Although I could've gotten a large for the same price, it seemed best to limit the size to a medium because if given the chance I could down a large dish of rice smothered in curry sauce. This thing called "willpower" doesn't exist around curry. The medium ended up being a perfect size; I ate it all without wanting to pump my stomach afterwards. The curry sauce lacked the chunks of potato and carrot that I was used to seeing in other curries, but it was noticeably more flavorful and spicy that what I was used to eating. Even better was the pork katsu—the perfect accompaniment to curry, surely—whose tender meat was encased in an exceptionally light, thin crispy coating. I wouldn't say I'm a katsu expert, but having eaten so much katsu in my life (which has since become part of my thighs) I'd label this as one of my favorites. For something that I naturally love like pork katsu to register in my brain as memorable, it has to do some major poking on my brain cells with a stick of deliciousness. THE STICK, IT HAS POKETHED ME.
The medium chicken curry came with more meat, but it's simply not as tasty as pork. GET THE PIGGY! Piggy loves you.
Go Go Curry wasn't crowded when we went for dinner, but I heard that going at lunchtime feels like being herded into a zoo. A crowded zoo. So it's good, but keep that in mind. I think they're offering take-out now anyway, which wasn't available in May.
Afterwards at Nathan's request we went to Pinkberry for dessert. Although it tasted better this time than during my first visit, I'm still immune to the supposed awesomeness of Pinkberry. If I want something that tastes like yogurt, I'd rather eat yogurt; if I want something frozen, I'd rather eat ice cream/gelato; if I want something fruity, I'd rather eat fruit. Just personal preference. Of course, Pinkberry does great business with three locations in NYC so far and probably more to come, so I'll stick to my beloved creamy fat-filled desserts.
My latest Gothamist post about my favorite lunch spot Kofoo is up.
I'm not posting as much as I'd like to. Sorry. :( I'll just say from now on that I'll post once a week (and sometimes more), probably on the weekend since that seems to be the only time that I can devote more than an ounce of brainpower to the task. And honestly, it doesn't require that much brain power, but that gives you an idea of how much I had to begin with. I hate to think that people are actually visiting this site every day to see if I've updated when my laziness has prevented it.