The return of MAD Donuts

MAD Donuts

A couple weeks ago, MAD Donuts in White Plains, which I first wrote about back in November, reopened for the first time since closing because of COVID-19, this time as a pop-up. It was emotional for me to chat with the owner, Matt, and to hear about how the business had changed so dramatically since his grand opening in Westchester Mall.

While it was tough to process the impact of the pandemic on Matt, his family and his staff, it was also great to see him doing what he loves to do, and the results remain spectacular.

I was lucky enough to snag a four-donut sampler (Vanilla Bean Glazed, Chocolate Iced, Piña Colada and an unbelievable Lemon Meringue) and a two-pack of their one-of-a-kind apple fritters, which remain a thing to behold. As big as my face, the fritters are just so good. I always say I am just going to have a bite, and I always eat the whole thing. The tart granny smith apples contrasted with the sweet cinnamon glaze gets me pumped up every time.

As both Marc and I have written here, our local donut spots have gotten hurt so badly by COVID-19. Even NYC stalwarts like Doughnut Plant have struggled to figure out how to open in a way that makes sense. So I got immense joy from seeing Matt, his shop and his amazing donuts again. He just announced that the next MAD Donuts pop-up will be on Saturday, October 10, and I encourage anyone in or near Westchester County to place an order.

North Fork Doughnut Company – Cereal Killer

Throughout the summer, Long Island’s North Fork Doughnut Company has been partnering with Sail Away Coffee for local deliveries around the area and even into the five boroughs (well, at least to Brooklyn). Pairing six canned coffees with six fresh donuts is a hard combo to pass-up and I usually jump at the chance to place an order for the weekend.

NoFoDoCo specializes in big, craft, artisanal donuts that do a great job of combining classic flavors with fun new inventions. Everything from classic glazed, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, to things a bit more adventurous like Samoa, Boston Creme, and Black Raspberry Jelly to new extremes like Tiramisu, Brown Sugar Bacon Pecan, and Pop Tart populate their menu, which changes on a weekly basis. The yeast beasts are quite filling and while not as dense as cake donuts, they’re more filling and packed full of flavor.

The Cereal Killer was a real highlight this go around. Covered in a strong vanilla frosting and then topped with a ton of Fruity Pebbles, it had wonderful textures and a perfect amount of sweetness. Despite its size and volume, it wasn’t too overwhelming and managed to leave me feeling perfectly full (I still tried the others). The crunch of the cereal was the perfect added bonus (something that Donut Pub here in NYC also nails exquisitely) and really enriched the entire experience. Each bite had the perfect amount of cereal and the vanilla icing held them nicely in place to prevent a mess with each mouthful. Even with a name like Cereal Killer, this one won’t destroy the roof of your mouth, but leave you wanting more.

Cereal Killer – 9/10

More Cape Cod donuts

Chatham Village Cafe and Bakery

Last month, I hit the road to Cape Cod, which is now a bit of a late summer family tradition. While there, I always try to visit the Chatham Village Cafe and Bakery, which to me is the ultimate local, small-town donut destination. This year, it was a little different with social distancing, but I was so glad the bakery was still open. When I walked in, the first thing I saw was an employee walking from the kitchen to the front of the shop with a stack of fresh jelly donuts (“just made this morning”), and I knew it was going to be a great visit.

There’s just something about grabbing a donut (or maybe multiple donuts) and an iced coffee then sitting outside in the sunshine that is so perfect. This year, we even saw a couple (along with their dog and their cat) who we saw last year as well. When my daughter said hello, they mentioned that their dog Whitney whines in the morning until they go to the bakery. Amen, Whitney.

This trip, we also tried a new place called Old King’s Coffeehouse in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts. A newcomer founded in 2019, Old King’s is much more than a donut shop, serving tons of breakfast and lunch items. But keep your eyes peeled for the donut case at the front counter, which has a daily selection of classic (Old Fashioned) and more modern (Maple Bacon) flavors.

Old King’s Coffeehouse
Cinnamon Bun and Maple Bacon donuts from Old King’s Coffeehouse

Finding these local spots – especially in an otherwise sea of Dunkin’ Donuts in Massachusetts – is always such a joy. Support your local donut shops, my friends!

Cover image credit: Chatham Village Cafe and Bakery Facebook page

Hole in One Bakery – Cape Cod, MA

Let’s be honest, Cape Cod is known for lots of great food and as a native New Englander, my memories of visiting the Cape are mostly filled with lobster and clam chowder. Returning as an adult these days, it’s become quite apparent to me that local donut shops (that are specifically NOT Dunkin’ Donuts) are hard to come by the further you head out down the Cape. However, Hole in One Bakery is a local mini-chain (of sorts) that offers up some delicious baked goods and proves to be a solid option for donuts when in a pinch.

With a few locations up and down the Cape, I popped in to their Eastham joint just before closing to snag their remaining options for the day. This spot lands on the classic, old fashioned style donuts spectrum, but they do seem to have more crafty, artisanal options during the day that I was bummed to have missed. I went straight for their Cinnamon Sugar donut and it was delicious, old-time delight. Wonderfully chewy dough brought home the old school charm and it was beautifully dusted in a cinnamon sugar powder that enhanced every bite. Perfectly coated, excess powder never fell off the donut or covered my mouth, which is always a great highlight when enjoying this style. Their plain option was rather dry and not too flavorful, but would probably be best paired with a hot cup of coffee (not really my vibe). Even at the end of the day, the cinnamon sugar tasted amazingly fresh and was a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

The local charm of the shop and ability to nail a classic was enough to satisfy me and leave me intrigued for future visits.

Save our donut shops!

There’s no doubt that this pandemic has brought unforeseeable changes to so many aspects of our daily lives. Seemingly overnight, our world was turned upside down. Restaurants in particular have really felt the hit brought on by shuttered doors and operating on delivery alone is proving to be not only a health risk, but virtually unsustainable.

In early Spring, the beloved Doughnut Plant closed in order to better understand how to operate safely in our new climate and in May, they slowly began to reopen their stores for delivery and pick-up. Sadly, they’ve now announced that they’ve closed once again, and now through at least August.

Owner Mark Israel took to Instagram to write a lengthy post on the difficult decision to wind down operations and the future of their stores.

“Small businesses need help and more support. Restaurants have lost more revenue and jobs than any other industry. Fixed expenses have remained the same but as we all know, business is down. NYC in particular has been hit hard: people have left and people are staying home (including tourists).  Doughnut Plant doesn’t want to be part of the problem — landlords and property management companies are also bearing the brunt of the pandemic. By temporarily suspending operations our goal is to have a long-term solution with our property managers, not be another “number” shuttering its doors. Later this month Congress will consider their final coronavirus response bill for 2020. We know that the federal government is in the position to provide bakeries, cafes and restaurants the support necessary to help countless businesses survive. Time is running out. Your support these past months has helped, but there is more that needs to be done. Tell Congress to support your local coffee shops, cafes, bakeries, restaurants and employees. Tell Congress to pass the Blueprint for Restaurant Revival.”

We stay away from politics in the Donut Club, but helping our favorite stores stay in business is beyond politics and a critical duty as connoisseurs. Learn more about the Blueprint for Restaurant Revival and, if possible, please do what you can to support these crucial businesses and jobs for countless people.

Save our donut shops!

An Ode to the Boston Creme

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Boston Creme donuts. Growing up in suburban Massachusetts, I ordered them regularly when either of my parents would take me to Dunkin’ Donuts and they’ve remained a favorite of mine for nearly thirty years. However, with the rise of craft, artisanal donuts around the city, classic flavors like the Boston Creme are often replaced with interesting combinations or new, wild flavors. So, while I do like to be adventurous and even though I prefer cake donuts to yeast, I still order this classic whenever I can.

Jason has referred to this as my “suburb order” and, for reasons mentioned above, that feels pretty spot on. It’s my go-to when we hit up Donut Delight in Connecticut or Dunkin’ when I go back to see my parents and while I definitely associate it with more casual experiences, there are spots in the city where the Boston Creme is worth your money.

Yes, a lot of the hip spots like Du’s or Doughnut Plant offer some truly remarkable treats (the later serves my current favorite), but there is still a special place in heart for the cream filled concoction. Peter Pan (in Greenpoint and pictured above) and Donut Pub (on 14th Street and Astor Place) have two of the best in the city and Doughnut Project’s version (aptly called a Manhattan Creme) is also rather remarkable. Dun-Well makes one as well, but I do think this is the one time where the vegan twist slightly harms the quality of the cream.

Trying new creations will always fuel my hunger for donuts and I love tasting all of these new varieties that pop-up over the city, but the nostalgia for a Boston Creme will always tug at my heart strings. It’s hard to give up your first love.

🍩 🏳️‍🌈 Pride Donuts 🏳️‍🌈 🍩

Today would’ve been the Pride Parade in New York City. However, like the rest of the world, it was cancelled due to COVID-19. Still, there are some things that just can’t be cancelled, and this is one of them because Pride is not just a parade, but a movement, a way of life, and so much more. Doughnut Plant still made their monthly special the Raspberry Pride donut so today I made sure to pick one up.

According to their website, “a Doughnut Plant tradition since 1997. Special handmade triangle shaped yeast doughnut with a fresh raspberry glaze and all-natural rainbow stripes! We first made this doughnut back in 1997, when Mark sold them at the Gay Pride Parade in front of Eureka Joe on Fifth Avenue, one of the first shops to sell our doughnuts.”

Last year, I bought every Pride donut in the Chelsea location and brought them to work to kick-off our celebration. I desperately wish I could do that again right now. Being your true self is always important not only at work, but in life as well, and nothing helps us remind ourselves of this quite like Pride. Be yourself, be proud, wear a mask, and eat a donut! Happy Pride, everyone!

North Fork Doughnut Company

It is currently a challenge to find new donut spots. While I’m so happy to have Dun-Well Doughnuts and Doughnut Plant, my forever go-tos, operating in my neighborhood, the quest for new discoveries has been stalled. So, when I saw that Sail Away Coffee was partnering with a local Long Island shop, North Fork Doughnut Company, for an incredible weekend delivery of six cans of nitro cold brew and six donuts DELIVERED, I couldn’t resist.

While working from home, Jason and I have been hunting for the best canned cold brew options since our afternoon coffee runs were immediately cancelled. Sail Away’s Nitro Cold Brew has been a big hit and it felt like a no-brainer to indulge in this new offering. Delivery options are for weekends only and orders cannot be customized, but an assortment of random donuts is never a bad thing. The six flavors included in my order were: Vanilla OG, Jelly, Salted Caramel, Cookies N Creme, Maple Bacon, White Chocolate Raspberry (although I believe they change it up each weekend).

My order arrived promptly Friday morning with a box of (still cold) canned cold brew and a giant pink box of donuts handed to me by a super friendly delivery driver. You can also track your delivery via an app so you know your ETA and can plan your day around the drop-off time.

The donuts themselves are big, yeast cakes with super sweet toppings that add the perfect balance to the chewy dough and while intense, are not overpowering in flavor. The unsweetened Nitro Cold Brew also cuts the sweetness perfectly with its bitter taste. These feel and taste like classic yeast donuts with an excellent consistency in each bite. They’re dense, but they’re not epic in size so consumption doesn’t leave you in a food coma.

I miss visiting stores and admiring the aesthetics and vibes of donut shops around New York City and beyond. I miss going to them with my friends. However, I’ve been excited to find new ways to discover and enjoy my favorite treats and hope to make more exciting orders in the future.

National Donut Day and One Year of Donut Club NYC

Dun-Well

On Thursdays, we’d get donuts. Before work from home became our consistent reality, every Thursday was donut day in the office. On my way to work, I’d stop by Doughnut Plant’s Chelsea location to grab donuts for Jason and I to share. I started off getting one of our favorites and one of the flavors of the month for us to try. We’d rate and discuss the limited edition specials and indulge in our long-time favorites. Over time, this evolved into me grabbing enough for a morning bite in addition to an afternoon pick-me-up (paired with a coffee run), plus more for Jason to take home to his family. In the Fall, Jason’s brought me incredible Apple Cider donuts from Stew Leonards which rank as an all-time favorite. Once a quarter, we’d meet before a company-wide meeting either at that Doughnut Plant location or our old school favorite, Donut Pub on 14th Street, where we’d both enjoy more of our classic obsessions (red velvet and cinnamon sugar) as well as black iced coffees. We even took things up a notch and planned a weekend where I went up to Westchester so Jason could show me MAD Donuts, his local spot and others to Danbury, CT to try local chain Donut Delight. We’d also go all out for our teams at work on holidays and special occasions, always outdoing ourselves with bigger and better orders. In fact, the last day we were in the office was Employee Appreciation Day and we managed to cater donuts from multiple sources around New York City as a thank you for our colleagues.

Dough

By now it’s clear that a craving has turned into a passion, a full blown hobby, and a new dietary lifestyle. However, even before we committed our adventures to this blog, our fondness was there and we’d both share updates on our latest weekend treats, out of state finds that we’d discover on various vacations, and share our love of supporting so many local spots. I also spent two months traveling through Australia, South Korea, and Japan and would send pictures and detailed updates to Jason along the way (Seoul wins in overall presentation and service, but Sydney wins for overall taste). So, while our infatuation for donuts was in existence long before we worked together or started writing about them here, sharing these moments with others has been a lot of fun and brought a whole new level of enjoyment to finding new favorites. I also never imagined someone else would be onboard to write a whole blog entirely dedicated to donuts!

Doughtnut Plant

Supporting community shops has always been part of the experience and it’s only grown over these past months. Since today is National Donut Day, naturally I’m participating by ordering from my favorite NYC shop and am happy to be supporting them in a time of need. However, it also means it has been a year since we’ve started Donut Club NYC. In the past, we’ve both written about our traditions growing up with donuts and now I’m excited to have this as an added part of the story. Thanks to everyone who has read this for the past year and thanks to all the donut shops for making this a never ending quest.

Score:
Donuts: 11/10

Peaceful Provisions – a break from the madness

Peaceful Provisions

It was one of the first times I had worn a mask in public. I hadn’t really figured it out so it was fogging up my glasses to the point that I couldn’t see that well. The experience was pretty stressful. But when I walked up to the Peekskill Brewery and got my box of donuts and goodies from Peaceful Provisions, I felt better. I felt more normal.

I’ve written about Peaceful Provisions before – it’s a small bakery that sells out of the ground floor of a brewery in Peekskill, NY, which is about an hour north of New York City by car and about 30 minutes north of where I live. They’ve always done small-batch, vegan baking by hand and sold their products primarily on the weekends. During the pandemic, they have continued to do their thing, accepting online pre-orders and curbside pickup.

For me, ordering from Peaceful Provisions and trekking up there has been a wonderful break from the current craziness. And it seems I’m not alone – Peaceful Provisions opens up ordering for each weekend on Mondays at noon, and while it used to be no big deal to get an order in for every weekend, they now sell out quickly. For me, getting donuts on the weekend is a return to normalcy, and I think it’s cool that others agree.

That weekend when I was new to my mask, I got an awesome order that included cinnamon sugar donuts, coffee cinnamon mixed nut donut buns (yeah, that’s a thing!), a dark chocolate brownie and a coffee cake. Cinnamon sugar is one of my favorite donut flavors of all time, and this one didn’t disappoint – it was light and airy and honestly amazing. The coffee cinnamon mixed nut donut bun was one of the most ambitious donuts I’ve ever seen – it was an enormous cinnamon bun-style fried and sugared creation topped with pistachios and almonds, then filled with a coffee pudding (made with Bucci coffee). I’m normally not a big filled donut fan, but it was special.

Peaceful Provisions
Coffee cinnamon mixed nut donut bun from Peaceful Provisions

I’m glad people are finding donuts again, and I’m really glad Peaceful Provisions has stayed open during this challenging time. I now have an alarm set to try to place an order every week, which is a nice break in my day. I can’t wait to try again this week!