Feb 20, 2011

In Search of the Perfect: Doughnut/Donut

There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh doughnuts. Although there is a doughnut shop in every neighborhood, what is it that sets one apart from the other?  Most of the time, they sell the usual: glaze, twists, chocolate bars, cake doughnuts, bear claws, etc... But, what really sets a shop apart from the rest is a specialty flavor not commonly found everywhere.  This was our inspiration in searching for the "perfect doughnut/donut."  Caitlin lives close enough to the famous Voodoo Doughnut shop, so of course, the perfect doughnut was easily found there. After researching Yelp and asking around, Monica ended up in Anaheim at a small shop that is known for their warm blueberry donuts.  So for those of you in the Portland/Eugene area and those of you in the Los Angeles/Orange County area...we are searching to find you the "perfect" places to enjoy some delicious treats. This is just the first in a many more posts to come.  And if you have other suggestions, please share in the comments section below.

Caitlin's Choice: Voodoo Doughnut - Eugene/Portland, OR
Bacon Maple Bar, Glazed and Captain my Captain
*****stars out of 5
As soon as Monica mentioned searching for the perfect doughnut shop, there wasn't even the slightest hesitation or research needed for the place I had in mind. If you're a fan of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show, or just a Portland native or visitor, then there's no doubt you've heard of Voodoo Doughnut. I'm quite lucky enough to live in Eugene, where the 2nd location has been opened since last June. If you haven't heard of them, here's a brief synopsis: a couple of guys (presumably potheads, hence the Maple Blazer Blunt) concoct the most insane yet delicious combinations of things and put them on a doughnut. Case in point: the bacon maple bar - a maple glazed doughnut with a large piece of crispy bacon on top. It's absolute heaven.  There's also the Old Dirty Bastard - chocolate donut topped with chocolate frosting, crushed Oreos and drizzled with peanut butter. I don't have time to list the crazy (yet absolutely delicious) doughnuts they make - so here's the link to their menu. I urge you to browse the menu - if anything, for the comical names and shapes of some of the donuts (the cock and balls which is shaped like, well I'm sure you can guess...). The donuts are so delicious that in 2008 the Portland mayor introduced a resolution naming Voodoo's Portland Creme the official donut of the city.

We got three this past weekend, the aforementioned bacon maple bar, a regular old glazed, and a Captain my Captain which is a donut topped with vanilla cream and captain crunch cereal. My absolute favorite is the bacon maple bar, hands down. It's an amazing combination of ingredients, not to mention the donut is thick and cake-like so you're eating actual substance rather than other donuts that seem to deflate when you take a bite out of them. The same can be said with all the other donuts from Voodoo  - they're thick which seems to deter from the sometimes frightening and overly sweet toppings. 

The final verdict: If you live in the area - please take advantage of this national landmark as much as you can. If you don't, I'm truly sorry for your loss...

Monica's Choice: M & M Donuts - Anaheim, CA

The Blueberry Donut, ****stars out of 5
About a 30 minute drive from my house, in the heart of Disneyland country, I found a tasty, blueberry donut. After researching on the web (primarily Yelp - it was actually the third hottest thing on Yelp last month) I stumbled upon M & M Donuts in Anaheim, CA.  Is this a fancy place? No, not by any means. It is in a strip mall on Katella Ave, about 2 miles west of Disneyland - no hipsters, no fancy dining area - just donuts, and a pretty darn good one at that.

1614 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA
The shop doesn't open until 10 pm and closes at 1 pm, the following day.  That means if you want a freshly made blueberry donut, you have to get there anytime around opening until the wee hours of the morning; after that, you run the risk of there not being any left.  Should you order anything other than the blueberry donut? I really don't know, however, from what I've heard and read, it really is all about these blueberry donuts. 
As I arrived, there was already a line formed in their drive-thru (which I've read is slightly quicker than standing in line) and it was about 9:50 pm. I decided to stand in line and wait for my donut. Others waiting in line were all there for the same reason.  It took about 45 minutes in all from standing in line, ordering, and actually getting my donuts.  Quick, they are not.  They are making their donuts in a tiny kitchen space, so you have to be patient. 
Once I received my order, I was so anxious to try these donuts that everyone was raving about. On the outside, the donuts look like a cross between a Krispy Kreme glaze donut mixed with a cake style donut speckled with blueberries.
warm donuts, 45 minutes later...
The donut was warm and I decided to cut mine in half in order to see what the texture looked like on the inside. It looked soft on the inside, much like a blueberry muffin and not as dense as a cake style donut.
blueberry muffin-like texture on the inside 
Now was the true test - the taste test.  Were these going to be as good as everyone said? Was it worth waiting 45 minutes (or longer) to try this blueberry treat?  And the answer is...YES and YES!  They were crispy on the outside, perfectly glazed and once I took that first bite, it tasted like a soft blueberry muffin fried in a butter coated glaze.  In other words...it was good! If you can't wait until you get home (and I couldn't), you can sit in your car with a hot cup of coffee, and feast on the deliciousness.  I shared these with a few other people, and everyone agreed that they were both unique in flavor and perfectly made - sweet, but not overly so, crunchy, and fluffy on the inside. 

The final verdict: I wouldn't advise eating an entire dozen (I don't subscribe to the Sarah Palin mentality of eating junk food all the time - anytime), everything in moderation is more my style. So, if you want to indulge every once in awhile  and are craving a donut - these are a must try. Unfortunately being nearly 1000 miles away from the closest Voodoo Doughnut shop, one must search high and low for these fried gems. If you are near Disneyland one evening, stop by M & M's and definitely try these out - just bring your own coffee. 

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