Every morning, millions of people across the country start their day with fat rings of fried dough.
...Well, technically they go to the potty (or "loo," which I think sounds nicer) first and freshen themselves up for the outside world...
But after that, they get donuts! DONUTS, YEAH! I think. As someone who rarely eats breakfast (don't bug me about this; my stomach generally reacts to being stuffed with food first thing in the morning with moans and gurgles) you shouldn't take my words as cold, hard, facts (EVEN IF I AM A BOTTOMLESS PIT OF UNQUESTIONABLE WISDOM!!!), but these "donut" things have proven to be popular. Over the years. Notice, I have taken it.
Olivia and I started our last morning in 2007 with a visit to Spudnuts, Charlottesville's famed donut shop. Or semi-famed. Tristan nor any of his friends had ever been there, it seemed, although Tristan did at least know where it was. When we mentioned it to other people in Charlottesville, most of them had either never been there or hadn't heard of it. I, on the other hand, had been determined to enter the long-established haven of potato flour-enhanced goodies ever since I read about it on The Blognut.
I had a goal. A delicious, mildly unconventional goal.
Ten flavors of donuts sat before us: glazed, chocolate, cinnamon and coconut for yeast raised; blueberry, chocolate cinnamon and plain for cake; and two special mega-donuts, cinnamon apple and cinnamon cherry. Now that I'm looking at the menu, I can't believe I didn't just get one of each. I guess I exercised some sort of control. Stupid, Robyn.
Donuts were stored in a front glass-covered case and shelves behind the counter. The top row held the cake donuts, the bottom right tray held the cinnamon cherries, the middle tray held two lonely cinnamon apples, and the bottom right tray was stuffed with glazed donuts.
I walked out with a bag of three donuts—plain, glazed, and cinnamon apple—while Olivia had gotten two. Or three. Whatever amount we collectively bought, it was foolishly low considering that were also buying donuts for Tristan, Ryan, and whoever else happened to be working at Hedge that morning. WE COULD'VE BOUGHT EVERYTHING. I mean, one of each, not the entire store. (A girl can dream. Oh, yes.) On retrospect, I feel like a dumbass.
So how were the donuts? As someone who is just a malformed fetus squirming in the soothing womb of the donut world (in other words, I don't know half a shit), I'm unable to give anything approaching an expert opinion about the donuts. But here's my feeble attempt: "FREAKIN' AWESOME PILLOWY HALOS OF FLUFFY, EDIBLE JOY BLESSED BY THE TINY, DELICATE PAWS OF NEWBORN SUGAR KITTENS (that is, kittens made out of sugar)!"
Something like that.
I mean, it's a fresh donut; of course it tastes good.
One reason I can't describe these donuts well is because they were shared among a handful of people, meaning that each donut had a lifespan of about 30 seconds or less. My brain is unable to process much sensory data in such a short period of time.
My glazed donut gave a perfect balanced of "glaze" to "donut." And softness to chewiness. And sugar to fat. And moistness to dryness. And air to non-air.
If plain cake donuts tastes so good, why can't someone just make a huge cake out of it? ...Okay, the frying part may get tricky. But a giant slab of plain cake donut would be marvelous. What a perfect lil' pudgy dough ring it was.
Cinnamon apple was my favorite of the three. I don't remember why exactly, but I'd venture to say that it had something to do with coating a twist of fried dough in the combination of a light glaze, a touch of apple, and a sprinkling of cinnamon, a triad that led to a magically delicious crust. It just triggered some part of my brain that caused me to feel a melting "mmm"-ness, maybe like whatever cats feel when you scratch their heads and they get that glazed-over, squinty look on their little faces. Like this --> ^--__--^ But three-dimensional.
Spudnuts = success.
Update (1/17): Check out cVillain's post about Spudnuts! The photos will look familiar, but it's more informative than what I wrote.
Tristan, Olivia and I headed to our next food victim: feast! Or Feast. The exclamation mark makes it sound exciting, but that the name is all in lowercase also gives a sense of restraint. "We know how to party, but it's the kind of party where everyone is sitting down and eating cheese." A kind of party that I'm all for, by the way. I like cheese.
The awesome thing about Feast is that they have lots of samples of their gourmet foodstuffs. You could eat lunch here for free. Kind of. If you're not starving. The cheese samples were the most appealing (and they worked—I ended up buying a slab of one of their featured cheeses, Délice de Bourgogne, an unbelievably heavenly buttery-soft thing of coagulated beauty), but the various kinds of hummus goo were also favored.
I was also fond of the wall of extra virgin olive oil. ...Or wall of olive oil interspersed with other kinds of oils and vinegars, but I was mostly interested in the olive squeezings. After tasting the Tuscan olive oil ("bright and spicy with a grassy sweetness and a pleasant bitterness") I took a bottle of it into my arms with the intention of giving it a good home. In my stomach.
After we were done at Feast, we went around the corner to Albemarle Baking Co to pick up a baguette to go with my slab of cheese. Despite nearly weeping at the sight of golden croissants and danishes, I didn't have the appetite to try any of their pastries. :'( The donuts and the free samples at Feast stomped all over my appetite and for good measure also shot them with lasers. If the croissants taste as good as they looked, then I missed out on a very good thing.
We popped into the next door Gearhart's Chocolates where I picked up a 16-piece box containing one of every chocolate they made. That's how I roll.
Sufficiently stuffed, we went back to Tristan's apartment—Olivia and me in my car and Tristan on his bright yellow fixed gear bike.
Yes, we used Tristan as our GPS that morning. He did a fine job of not getting us lost. We mostly had a view of his ass, but...I think that was alright.
I attempted to ride his bike, but my midget-like stature prevented me from mounting the bike in a comfortable way. However, my size did prove to be optimal if I wanted to dangerously waver and fall over after two seconds.
This will be the cover of Tristan and Olivia's collaboration album.
We strolled around UVA since it was across the street and it's a pretty area to roam about. Especially when no students are around.
Tristan told us that the dorms around the quad are the oldest on campus and are highly coveted...despite that they lack modern bathroom facilities. Heat is provided by burning wood, hence the piles of cut logs outside the doors. Old skool. Just the way Jefferson would've liked it!
Besides burning wood, students like to grill a lot. For at least one block it looked as though every room had a grill.
One room is dedicated to preserving the memory of Edgar Allen Poe, at least until a student more famous can command their own historically accurate eternal chamber. Instead of a door, the room has a glass partition so that visitors can peer inside and see where he had his nightmares. Pressing a button near the entrance causes a prerecorded voice to burst forth from the room and recount a short history of Mr. Poe's existence at UVA...until he dropped out.
Since the weather was gorgeous, sunny, clear, and overall happiness-inducing, I demanded taking some jumping photos.
"Wait, we can make pixelations!" suggested Olivia.
Which is how some" turned into "a shitton." For example:
Olivia went first. We progressed from there.
Six frames for me!
More frames for Tristan. His look is priceless...or worth a few hearty guffaws accompanied by pointing.
Olivia proceeded to glide.
Olivia and Tristan jumped back...
...While Tristan and I jumped forward. (The photos are in the wrong order. Doh.)
We finished off with Olivia floating around me. MAAAGIIIC!!
You can watch a cute movie of the photos splodged together at Olivia's website. We probably needed about a gazillion more frames to make it smooth, but maybe next time. All that jumping constitutes as a workout, man.
And what does a workout do? It creates hunger. Hellooo, lunchtime!
After driving past an unexpectedly closed Korean House and internally sobbing for our lost kimchi, we drove to Sticks, named after its kebob-erie nature, for food that was filling but not supremely unhealthy. I ordered a rosemary-rubbed leg of lamb kebob flatbread sandwich with cilantro-lime sauce. The juicy lamb chunks were satisfyingly cooked to something between medium and medium rare, and had the plumpness of fat, exploding marshmallows. You know—you've seen so many exploding marshmallows. One of the chunks sadly (well, sad for me) escaped a stomach acid bath by shooting out of the crevice of my flabread across the table, then rolling under the table to meet some other kind of non-acidic demise. Yes, it did this all on its own. Had nothing to do with the Earth's gravitational pull on the sandwich's contents as I held it in a position prone to meat nubbin escapees.
Olivia went for a healthier choice; a kebob on a salad. No fluffy, warm, chewy flatbread.
...Yeah, all these carbs are making me hella fat.
Tristan's vegetable platter was the heftiest with two sticks of grilled vegetables, basmati rice, grilled flatbread, and a side of roasted eggplant salad. Now that I'm looking at it, I think I probably should've ordered that instead. My fiber intake over the weekend was sorely lacking. Fiber and vitamins. Oops.
I'm not entire sure what happened the rest of the afternoon. Some sleeping probably occured. A grocery store trek was also called for. But alas, my camera didn't document every waking moment of our lives (thank god, you'd flee so quickly) and this is all I've got:
Tristan and Olivia rocking out their party attire for the New Year's Eve party Tristan would be throwing that night. (Of course, I didn't change. I can't haz party attire.) Notice Tristan's mildly tacky and adorable Christmas-themed sweater—it unlocks the mysteries of the universe. The mystery that is FUCKIN' MOONGOLFING! (Alright, it's probably the North Pole, but moongolfing sounds better than North Polegolfing.)
And here are some green beans. See, we went to the grocery store to buy ingredients that would allow us to make a niscoise salad for dinner since we weren't in the mood to eat much else. But by the time "dinner" rolled around, it turned out we weren't even in the mood to eat salad. Our pot of potatoes took so unbearably long to cook (we were stuck in a dimension of culinary hell where water refused to boil, seriously) that we abandoned it and mostly picked at the green beans as partygoers started filing into the apartment. Appetites had mostly dissippated by that point. Maybe that rum and coke I sipped had something to do with that. This is where I totally fail as a lover of eating. Sorry.
Oh, and then we had a party. Which you shall read about in the next entry. Bwahaha.
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And an unimportant announcement
I tied for first place with 101 Cookbooks for Best Food/Health Blog of 2007 from Performancing.com. Obviously not for the "health" bit. Thank you for your support! As flattering as it is, I have no idea how this happened. Computer error? Misalignment of the planets? So many possibilities...