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.

27 March, 2010

Just For You - Beignets - San Francisco, CA

Nothing better than showing up to work with a set of beignets from Just For You.  Fried dough + powdered sugar = Big San Frantastic.  Hello please!

My boss has been out for 3 weeks on paternity leave.  He showed up today with a big mason jar of coffee (snug in a custom cozy) to match my sack of beignets, cosmic!  Miraculously, the beignets were still warm after the BART ride to Oakland.  Light and fluffy as always.  Anything with powdered sugar dusted on top will give Mr. Bloughnut the chokes (apparently I like to breathe through my mouth when eating---bad habit) and these beignets were no exception.  Other than that I give them a 10.

Just For You has been a Dogpatch staple for nearly 20 years.  Arrive early unless you like waiting in line.  You late birds could visit our friends Brian and Noah at Piccino for a cup of Blue Bottle java while you wait (Gibraltar on the menu there!).

p.s. Here is my "thumbnail" picture of the world's tiniest oil painting, as seen in an AWESOME house in North Oakland.

14 March, 2010

Silver Crest Donut Shop - San Francisco, CA

Nothing better than a chocolate-coconut raised to kick off a session at the Alemany Flea Market with Bloughnut collaborator and Just Fine conspirator Matt W.  Open 24 hours for breakfast-lunch-dinner and snacks in between, the Silver Crest fries up their own doughnuts daily! Ding dong!

This specimen was springy and coconuty.  It was so delectable I was compelled to eat it with a fork.

Every time I go in there, this place feels a little closer to shutting their doors for good.  But I hear that has been the case for a while now.  Give it a try, if not only for the doughnuts for the chicken fried steak and the Greek music.

Bloughnut collaborator Kevin B. tells the story of Chester D., original Louisiana bluesman, who used to ride his horse to the Silver Crest in the 1940s.  Kevin B. met him much later.  Chester D. was a welder in the Hunters Point Naval Shipyards who lost part of his hand in a shotgun accident.  He learned to play guitar lefty--the best place to catch him was at the 24th Street BART station.  Come back and visit for a little music featuring Chester D. and Brian "The Fisherman."

05 March, 2010

Bagels or Doughnuts: Who are we to decide?


Thanks for the link Ms. Becky.

Four Barrel - San Francisco CA

Yesterday we had the pleasant company of a certain friend and fellow doughnut enthusiast visiting from New York. She ordered the vanilla doughnut at Four Barrel Coffee, courtesy of Dynamo Donuts on 24th Street in the Mission. Certainly a spectacle to behold, this concoction, though not the typical pot o' gold the Bloughnut team seeks.

Orange zest in the dough, tiny flecks of vanilla bean in the frosting, a springy dough that rebounds when prodded. The vanilla was present but mellow, the whole package not candy-sweet but subtle.  This doughnut is not worth the markup to this tight-fisted reviewer, but the Dynamo Vanilla is most definitely a beautiful creature to be appreciated by the gourmet doughnut enthusiast.

And finally, a place to have a cup of excellent coffee with my morning dough-doughs. Check it out! They roast their own.  And they will make you a Gibraltar if you ask nicely.