09 November, 2010

Red's Donuts - Monterey, CA

Visited Ma n' Pa this weekend so I made 2 special trips to the mothership, Red's Donuts in Monterey. Frequent visitors to this blog know how deep my affections run for this small joint on Alvarado Street. If you haven't yet experienced a maple bar from Red's you can't really call yourself a doughnut enthusiast.

Can I make a recommendation to make your next visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium even more enjoyable? RED'S CINNAMON ROLL HEATED UP IN A MICROWAVE WITH A PAT OF BUTTER!

03 October, 2010

Donut Farm - Oakland, CA

My enthusiasm for vegan doughnuts is blossoming!  On my regular commute down San Pablo Ave to the shop this morning I saw a storefront with "Donut Farm" stenciled on the window.  Had I been missing something?!  No (of course not!), it's the new Pepple's Donuts cafe, only been there a couple weeks.

Salt Caramel organic vegan cake doughnut, $3.  More than Team Bloughnut likes to spend on its treats, but what can I say I was feeling generous.  I gotta say it was good.  I couldn't taste the salt (it wasn't Bi-Rite creamery, after all) but the cake wasn't stale, so it was an improvement on my other Pepple's encounters.  The caramel was creamy (apparently it has coconut milk in it), the dough was springy.  Not sure what kind of coffee they serve as I had brought my own.

The gentleman behind the counter also answered a question Team Bloughnut associate Hillary K. "raised" on this blog nearly 2 months ago: "Can they even make a vegan raised?"  Well, faithful readers, check back at the Donut Farm in a week or two.  They have the special oven needed (a "Proofer" it's called, it's airtight) and they will be making raised doughnuts and fritters for sale in-store only (they go stale in only 5 hours!).  Sadly, but luckily, these won't be organic, so they won't cost an arm and a leg.  Estimate is $3.  I'll definitely be back to check them out.  According to their website, they also have a kiosk at the SF Ferry Building (a dozen dough-doughs will set you back $26!!  Yes you read that right: dollar sign twenty-six).

'Til next time, keep it maple 4-eva.

01 October, 2010

Cyrus - Healdsburg, CA

This interesting creation at the end of a very long menu is titled "Orange Blossom Fritter with Apricot, Basil and Pine Nuts" (paired with Vouvray Moelleux, Huet "Clos du Bourg - Iere Trie", Loire Valley, France 2008).

I wish I could remember more about this sublime little fried gift from the gods, but after 7 courses it was too much; like everything at Cyrus, over-the-top.  Taken on its own, in the morning, with a fresh 4 Barrel Gibraltar, this reviewer surely would have been ready to tackle a long day of design/build. 

I appreciate what they do at Cyrus, with their compressed fruits and dishes that stimulate the 5 elements of taste perception (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, savory----guess which is my favorite?!), and this doughnut didn't disappoint, but after such sensory overload, at the end of a 3 hour meal even this most dedicated doughnut blogger couldn't jot such informative mental notes!  And if you are dining at Cyrus, dear reader, you probably aren't there for the doughnuts anyways.  Cyrus: "Go for the lobster and fois gras, stay for the orange blossom fritter."

26 September, 2010

Rainbow Donuts - Berkeley, CA

On the way to an install at William Stout Bookstore on Solano Avenue, Matt wanted a fancy coffee.  Next door was Rainbow Donuts (San Pablo @ University), what a pleasant surprise! Unfortunately, the best part of this maple bar was the name of the establishment.

Just your standard plab doughnut fare, nothing special.  The glaze was crispy and sweet, the dough was too heavy for my liking. But it did give me the juice to get the install done.  If you find yourself in the neighborhood, you are better off heading up to the UC Berkeley campus to Kingpin. Which reminds me, that place is due for another visit from Team Bloughnut.

23 August, 2010

Fleur de Lis at Hollywood Farmer's Market - Portland, OR

Team Bloughnut has been hibernating in the Bay Area, but our INTERNATIONAL correspondents have been busy. Here's the latest from our British Columbia Bureau, which had to cross a border to research this posting:

Down in Portland for a wedding, I swung by the Hollywood Farmer's Market this morning. I was surprised to see a stack of gorgeous doughnuts at the Fleur de Lis bakery stand. They specialize in French pastries of all stripes, but I took a chance on a cinnamon sugar doughnut. The yeast is the star here: this was a fluffy and flavorful raised doughnut with an appropriately spicy sugary coating. I don't know if there's anything French about it, but it's definitely tasty.

Thanks to Bloughnut contributor Kelly Mc. for the review.  Have a wondoughful day.

08 August, 2010

Mighty O at Stumptown Coffee - Seattle, WA

Team Bloughnut took a trip on an aeroplane to the Northwest, home of Filson, Boeing, and Seattle's Best Coffee (as if!).  We hoped to hit Top Pot as required by most Seattle sources but didn't make it.  What we could accomplish was stop for some of Portland's finest coffee in one of their Seattle cafes, where we were (sort of) pleased to find Seattle's vegan doughnut option, Mighty O.

These tasted a lot like a vegan doughnut I have sampled here in the Bay Area: just alright.  The flavors were a yawn (vanilla chocolate and a blueberry mini--75 cents a bite).  "Can they even make a vegan raised?" queries Team Bloughnut associate Hillary K.  That's a good question, with my limited vegan doughnut experience they are always cake.

Here's another question: Do blueberries and yellow cake doughnuts make green?

The final question I will pose to you is a territorial one:  Do you think, based on this neon sign (I love all the neon in the Northwest, by the way), that the Portland-based micro-roasting behemoth Stumptown is trying to represent a little bit of P-Town pride among their neighbors to the north?

These vegan cake doughnuts just don't do it for me. If someone has found a vegan maple bar, vegan chocolate old-fashioned, or a vegan apple fritter, please let me know!

27 July, 2010

Without coffee, doughnuts just aren't very appealing to be honest

Team Bloughnut gave up coffee for 2 weeks to reset the body and give the Team some time to relax, and we found doughnuts just weren't really on the radar (it's like Mickey without Minnie). But thanks to a certain team member bringing back some Stumptown all the way from NYC's Ace Hotel, Team Bloughnut decided 2 weeks was long enough without the black gold. We're back!

We were quiet, but still busy.  Here are a few photos from a small doughnut adventure at the beginning of my coffee fast.  The first two are from The Jelly Donut in Pleasanton: never trust a doughnut shop next to a Little Caesar's Pizza Pizza, especially if it's spelled 'donut' -- though they do have decent Yelp reviews, and though they did serve up a pretty half-decent maple cinnamon roll, which I have never seen before!

This next pic is from the Pleasanton Fair Grounds, cleaning up after the Alameda County Fair.  Apparently the new rage is competitive tweener sheep riding?!  "The Toughest Sport on Wool" --- maybe the only sport on wool?!

The last shot is another bit of an interlude, paying homage to the King of Bad, bigger than life, Mr. Eastwood himself.  Spotted on 3rd Street in the Dogpatch, San Francisco.

'Til next time, keep it doughy.

23 June, 2010

King Pin Donuts - Berkeley, CA; and an Interlude

News Flash: King Pin Donuts gives Bob's a run for its money!  Hanging out with Bloughnut fan Aliza R. we stumbled upon this Cal hot spot after hours.  Doughnut holes fresh out of the oven and the greasiest deliciousest maple bar!  I'll be back..

Interlude: I have seen this billboard on Mandela Parkway in West Oakland for years (though they recently added the Kinetic Steam Works banner) and still don't know what to make of it.  Anybody have a clue?  Though, it's kind of a nice little personal mystery.

21 June, 2010

Bob's Donuts - San Francisco, CA

Bob's brings the heat yet again with another fine showing.  After nearly getting a flat tire Team Bloughnut needed some relief and Bob's delivered.  Apple fritter, chocolate old fashioned, and maple french.  I'm still waiting for the day when Bob's starts slippin' but it wasn't this fine day.

In the window: another satisfied customer licking her chops, or a sidewalk stroller contemplating her next fried dough move?  Bob's: BE THERE.

14 June, 2010

Bob's Donuts - San Francisco CA

After feverish World Cup action nothing calms me down like a gigantic slice of apple loaf from Bob's.  I recently discovered this little piece of magic: Bob's takes the leftover doughnuts, mashes them up, and creates a giant loaf filled with baked apples and topped with raisins.  At $2.45 a slice it's not cheap but definitely worth it, and a good use of day old doughnuts if you ask this reviewer. 

 The glazed buttermilk evoked oohs and ahhs from the Bloughnut review team.  Bob's delivers, again.

06 June, 2010

Doughnut Dunking Etiquette - 1946

Here is a nice video from 1946 worth watching for anybody concerned with the etiquette of dunking your doughnuts.


Thanks to our international Bloughnut contributor Kelly Mc for the link!

05 June, 2010

HAPPY NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY - Dream Fluff Donuts - Berkeley, CA

Team Bloughnut joins in this national celebration of all things round and fried on the first Friday in June.  This day was first conceived by the Salvation Army 72 years ago to commemorate the women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War 1.  For an early morning celebration we stopped by Dream Fluff Donuts on our way to breakfast at Mama's Royal Cafe for a sample pack: maple old fashioned, chocolate old fashioned (2), apple fritter (consumed in the Bloughnutmobile before we could get a picture), coconut cake, and crumb cake.

Dream Fluff knows what's up.  The fritter was aptly appley, massive, and the glaze not sickly-sweet.  The old fashioneds had the funky contours we have come to appreciate.  The cake doughnuts were moist, even after 5 hours in a paper bag in my backpack (though in all fairness maybe keeping doughnuts in a paper bag keeps them moist).  Our only concern is the maple glaze is very pale and sickly looking, noted on our maple OF and on the bars sitting in the store.  Overall we continue to give Dream Fluff high marks.

To acknowledge this important should-be public holiday we encourage YOU our faithful readers to in turn encourage your local shops to switch the incorrectly spelled "Donut" in their title to "Doughnut."  If you know us, you know how much "Krazy Glue" and "La-Z-Boy" and all the other stupidly misspelled, condensed, hyphenated, and otherwise annoyingly incorrect names really raise our hackles.

Happy National Doughnut Day, get out there and celebrate with some fried dough fireworks of your own.  Thanks to Bloughnut enthusiast Peter K. for the holiday heads up.

24 May, 2010

Harvey's Gourmet Mini Donuts at Maker Faire - San Mateo, CA

The Just Fine Design/Build team brought our newest chicken coop design and my two hens to Maker Faire this last weekend and luckily there was a mini doughnut maker on hand to keep us going. Seven dollars for a dozen mini doughnuts is a rip off if you ask this experienced deal-seeker, but as part of an enormous captive audience what were we gonna do? Buy a funnel cake? I don't think so.

Many choices of toppings---I chose maple of course and to be honest the rest of the toppings didn't really register. I should have taken a picture of the sign for you.  Any doughnut will taste better hot out of the fryer and these were no exception. The oil was soy: "0 Trans Fat 0 Cholesterol.."  They had a cool stainless steel dough squeezer/fryer/flipper combination.

Tiny bite-sized morsels of dough and maple goodness. I would have bought another dozen if only some lucky urban farmer would have thrown down $2000 for our chicken coop.

'Til next time--Happy Dough Lucky.

20 May, 2010

Gateway Croissant at The Crucible - San Francisco, CA

This fella brings in a dozen doughnuts to the Crucible every Wednesday night for his stone-carving class, and I happen to be working in the Studio every Wednesday night. Finally I decided to give these dough-doughs a proper review. They are always good! Check out the Yelp page for some interesting reviews of this doughnuts-and-more joint in the Tenderloin/Civic Center in San Francsico. Tell them you're going to a class at the Crucible and they just might give you a deal. I ate that cinnamon-raisin braid and it was crispy and flaky goodness through and through. Go get one!

14 May, 2010

Pepple's Donuts via Actual Cafe - Oakland, CA

Team Bloughnut stopped by the Actual Cafe Thursday morning to "energize" at their station as part of Bike-to-Work Day.  Damn the free coffee was good but I'm sorry, the Pepple's Donuts just taste stale to me.  I like my cake doughnuts to melt in my mouth.  Coconut cake and some kind of berry situation.  And we heard a rumor as to why they changed their name from People's to Pepple's...which makes me like them even less!


We will definitely stop by the Actual Cafe again but not for the doughnuts.  Next up is the Berkeley Donut Shop which is right around the corner from my new place in Oakland!!

Lee's Donuts - Vancouver B.C.

Team Bloughnut goes INTERNATIONAL today with a posting from beautiful Vancouver, courtesy of frequent Bloughnut critic Kelly Mc:

Lee's is a lovely oldetimey stand in the public market on Granville Island. Their coconut cream doughnuts are legendary: the homemade filling is fresh, creamy, and not overly sweet. Unfortunately, when we stopped by this morning we were too early for any filled doughnuts. I didn't catch the details of why, but it's something to keep in mind for early morning snacking. 

Instead, I ended up with this cinnamon number, a fluffy cake doughnut with a crispy outer layer, dipped in cinnamon sugar. Perfect for dunking in coffee while watching the European tourists watch the Japanese school kids watch the pigeons by False Creek.

Thanks to Kelly for the INTERNATIONAL review and the photos!

10 May, 2010

Red's Donuts - Monterey, CA

Mother's Day Love Fest in beautiful Monterey, California featuring one chocolate custard bar (mom's favorite), four maple bars, and two cinnamon rolls (heated, with butter).  So good!  Pictures can't even begin to describe it.

08 May, 2010

Red's Donuts - Monterey, CA

Here's frequent Bloughnut critic Graham M. enjoying a delicious Red's maple bar explosion at the tiny art show at my tiny cabin in San Francisco!

So good!

05 May, 2010

Dosa - San Francisco, CA

Team Bloughnut comes at you from left field today.  Before the Porchlight story telling series at the Kabuki last night a big heavily-Google'd group met at Dosa.  I won't bore you with all the details of our delicious dinner; you faithfully visit my blog for the desserts.  On the menu was "Gulab Jamoon: two soft, lightly-fried milk-dough balls served in a warm, cardamom flavored sugar syrup" ($5).

Certainly the most expensive doughnut this reviewer has ever sampled, it tasted pretty much as it sounded.  Google Matt #1 (of 2) said, "Whenever I get this I can't tell if it's cheese or dough."  He was only half-kidding.  For creativity I give it 3 stars, but for delivery I think I'll stick to my Red's maple bar, thank you very much.  Thanks to Chris for the gPhone pic.

29 April, 2010

Pepple's Donuts via Mojo Cafe - San Francisco, CA

We decided to follow up last Saturday's Mojo session with an afternoon-motorcycle-ride-Mojo-birthday-doughnut-&-a-Gibraltar-extravaganza.  I don't know what it is, those Pepple's doughnuts always taste stale to me (even when they aren't a day old).  Let me again put out my plea for a blind taste test moderator: Pepple's vs. Bob's.  Who can help me out?

Coconut cake.  Tasted a little stale but maybe that's because Mojo leaves their doughnuts out on a plate, and it was four o'clock in the afternoon.  Or maybe "firm" is just the Pepple's way.  If you know me, you know I like to give the benefit of a doubt!

25 April, 2010

Pepple's Donuts via Mojo Cafe - San Francisco, CA

Team Bloughnut gave Pepple's's cinnamon-sugar cake doughnut another shake, not at Local 123 like last time but at my neighborhood cafe/bar/bike shop Mojo Bicycle Cafe.

Yep, that's right my dear readers.  Your eyes do not deceive you.  I went to People's Donuts' website today and their name has changed.

Whatever their reasoning for the switch, their doughnuts are still quite expensive and delicious.  However, side-by-side I would still go for a Bob's cake doughnut (currently looking for a volunteer to set up a blind taste test for me).  The Pepple's version was a little too dense for my liking.

Mojo is another great coffee & doughnut resource.  And they will tune up your bike while you snack.  They pulled a miracle with the city and installed a "parklet" in 3 parking spaces in front of their cafe on Divisadero.  Check it out!  It's packed with sun chasers and cyclists every time I roll by there.

24 April, 2010

Happy Donuts - San Francisco, CA

As if hanging out with 7 week old Joseph Aloysius Gottbrath IV wasn't all the invitation I needed, Joseph Aloysius Gottbrath III offered to bring along some afternoon offerings from Happy Donuts and meet in the Panhandle. The wee man clearly wasn't interested in the maple raised stuff so early in his game, but you gotta plant the seed..

Maple raised, chocolate old fashioned, plain glazed old fashioned, chocolate buttermilk. All just pretty alright like only Happy Donuts can do. Nothing epic, just solid offerings from the Bay Area stalwart. Look at the style of that old-fashioned!

 Dear readers: Don't forget about Old Hat's estate sale going on this weekend on Portola.  And pick up a doughnut on the way.

15 April, 2010

People's Donuts via Local 123 - Berkeley, CA

Today Team Bloughnut finds ourselves on San Pablo Ave at University so we popped into Local 123 for a cuppa.  A single lonely day old cinnamon-sugar cake doughnut from People's Donuts was sitting there looking at me funny.  For only one dollar, I had to "bite."  This is the first vegan doughnut Bloughnut has reviewed and it didn't disappoint---even a day later.  The cake was moist, the cinnamon and sugar dusted all fairy-like.

Local 123 might be the end-all spot: good coffee brewed one cup at a time, with 3 or 4 selections to choose from (Costa Rican? Ethiopian? Kenyan? Fully processed? Washed?...) on top of tasty locally-made (vegan) doughnuts.  Not to mention it always seems to be sunny on their back patio.  I will have to sample more of People's to give the definitive word, but since Arlo used to bring them in to the Crucible by the bagful I can tell you there's some good stuff going on there.

In addition to the do-do's and coffee I also sampled a day old "morning bun."  Though I didn't ask where it was from, it sure tasted a lot like my old dumpster diving days at Semifreddi's.  So sweet, just the kick I needed to finish those bar stools in time for the art show at the Crucible's Open House this weekend.

Update: Our memory served us incorrectly, we called Local 123 and were informed the morning bun was not from Semifreddi's  It came from a place we have not heard of but will surely check out: Hopkins Street Bakery in North Berkeley.  Check out the website, that ham & cheese croissant looks bangin'!

07 April, 2010

Dream Fluff Donuts - Berkeley, CA

We found ourselves in the neighborhood of College & Ashby today, just when we had a hankering for some fried sugar.  The old lady walking out of Dream Fluff on my way in said "Best doughnuts around" and that was enough for me. 

Apple fritter and maple french, both excellent.  The apple fritter was sweet but not sickly-so and even had the hint of apples that most don't.  The maple french was eggy and delicate; its maple frosting seemed a bit canned though.  There's always room for improvement! 

With doughnuts if the consistency is on I can deal with a sub-par frosting.  Aside from fresh dough-doughs this place also serves up sandwiches and fried chicken.  I'm lovin' the old sign.

In our next posting Team Bloughnut tries out his own Whirley-Pop home coffee roaster.....with extremely mixed results.

30 March, 2010

Interlude: a New Waffle Iron

This blog could have been a waffle blog: "Wafflog" or "Bloffle" or somesuch.  Waffles and doughnuts hold such dear spots in the chambers of my heart, though for different reasons surely.  So I just wanted to show off the results of my new (to me) Danish waffle iron and encourage all of you to seek out beautiful waffles when beautiful doughnuts simply aren't practical.

Colonial Donuts - and Fresh Home Roasted Coffee - Oakland CA

Today we feature frequent Bloughnut contributor Megan S. as she demonstrates the wonders of roasting your own coffee. Of course I couldn't show up empty-handed so, knowing her weakness for the apple fritter I took the opportunity to re-visit Colonial Donuts on Lakeshore in Oakland for a sack. Fritter, maple french, and chocolate old-fashioned.   Sorry, couldn't wait to snap a picture before having a couple bites.

The coffee roasting process is one of those things that can be as scientific and controlled as you want it to be.  We went old-world style: sight and smell.  The beans are organic Ethiopian from Seven Bridges Cooperative in Santa Cruz, CA.  Having never experienced green beans before (shocking I know), I was surprised to learn that they don't have any of that coffee crack scent until roasted.

Most home roasters employ a dedicated popcorn popper; Megan's is a vintage Whirley-Pop on the stove top.

After about 7 minutes the beans are smoking like crazy.  We were going for a dark roast so we rolled with it and keep cranking the handle to keep any beans from burning.  After about 10 minutes the beans were nice and dark so we transferred to a colander to shake off the chaff.

Right into the grinder, French Press, boiling water, joy.

I couldn't imagine a better accompaniment to a set of dough-doughs.  Too bad Colonial was slipping this day.  The apple fritter's sugar coating was hard and bitter like it had caramelized; the maple french was bland.  Seems like you either get one or the other in life: good coffee or good doughnuts--rarely both at once.  The quest continues.  Thanks to Megan S. for the schooling.