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.
As Jason and I have said over the past few weeks, local businesses need our support more than ever and donut shops are no exclusion. While many of our favorites have had to stop operations for the time being, a few spots in the city are still open for business.
Moe’s Doughs, located in Greenpoint, is known by many for their rivalry with neighborhood legend Peter Pan, but their tasty creations are well worth a visit and since many others have struggled to stay open, it felt exciting to support a business that is not part of my usual rotation. I went big for my order and got six specialty donuts delivered to my apartment. Samoa, Salted Caramel, Rainbow Cake, Snickers, Caramel Cheesecake, and Maple Bacon rounded out the order and each was more delectable than the last. Moe’s is a classic-style donut shop with light, fluffy yeast donuts that are perfectly fried and seriously sweet cake donuts that are dense to the core. There are traditional charms here much like Peter Pan and Donut Pub, but Moe’s takes the extravagance up a notch (and the sugar levels as well) making these truly dessert donuts and not so much a breakfast pastry. The Samoa tasted like a perfect replica of the Girl Scout cookie with flakes of coconut hitting the spot, the Salted Caramel exceptionally gooey, and the crispy crunch of the Maple Bacon brought splendid texture to the mix. Every one was wonderfully fresh, sticky, and a much needed sweet relief during such chaotic times.
As Jason previously noted, the COVID-19 pandemic is seriously impacting our local donut shops. In these times, I’m taking the most extreme cautions while still doing my best to support all my favorite spots and will continue to do so until this crisis is over.
For the time being, Doughnut Plant is still open for pick-up and delivery (no dine-in options) so this week I placed an ordered for my roommate and myself while we continued to work from home. In addition to some of my usual favorites, I added one of this month’s specials to the order; a fantastic Meyer Lemon and Poppy Seed available in both cake and yeast versions. Naturally, I opted for the cake and was wonderfully impressed by the chain’s latest creation. A perfectly tart sensation embodies the cake, without ever being too sweet or overpowering. As is customary with any Doughnut Plant cake donut, they go above and beyond with their batter and include key elements of the flavor throughout the cake itself. Poppy seeds are scattered not just in the glaze outside along some lemon zest, but in the treat itself giving the slightest crunch and a subtle injection of texture. It’s a light, refreshing treat, rich in flavor and satisfyingly moist.
Last weekend, I was traveling for a family event and stopped off at Honey Dew Donuts in Mansfield, MA. I learned that it’s actually a chain (corporate and franchise) localized in New England, with 145 locations from Rhode Island to New Hampshire.
The idea of a “local chain” isn’t that common in the donut world anymore – while we have a few chains in NYC, most donut shops today are either ultra-local (single location) or national (Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme, etc.) – so it was cool to check out Honey Dew.
The Honey Dew experience felt like Dunkin’ with nice upgrades built in – the customer service was ultra-friendly and helpful and the donuts themselves were much higher quality. I wanted to try a bunch of different flavors, so I got a dozen, and I asked the employee helping me for recommendations. She was more than happy to assist, and reminded me that anyone getting a dozen donuts in Massachusetts better not forget a Boston Cream. And when their signature “Mansfield” donut was sold out, she gave us the last three donut hole versions instead.
I tried a bunch of flavors, and my favorites were the Chocolate Honey Dip, Blueberry Cake (I always try blueberry) and Cinnamon powdered. The first two reminded me of the Peter Pan/Donut Pub style (deep fried plus sweet glaze), but on the lighter side, while the Cinnamon was my favorite. It was super light and almost refreshing.
Overall, it was great to support a business like Honey Dew that has been going for so long and has had success with the multi-location regional model. I’ll definitely be back.
Cereal and donuts. Two iconic fixtures of classic American breakfasts. On National Cereal Day, Dun-Well Doughnuts brought the two together in seven different combinations.
Peanut Butter Cap N Crunch, Cookie Crisp, Fruity Pebbles, Chocolate Cocoa Pebbles, Corn Flakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Muddy Buddy Pie adorned the line-up and they all met, if not exceeded expectations. The textures of the cereals in tandem with the soft, fluffy donuts themselves were quite the delight, flavors collaborating in the perfect fashion. If there is any fault to a Dun-Well donut, it’s that their frosting congeals in such a way that it shatters with every bite, often making it hard to fully capture the flavors so the Fruity Pebbles and Corn Flakes were a little much and not on the same level as the others. They were a bit of a messy ordeal, but every crumb was worth it. The Chocolate Cocoa Pebbles was delectable, the frosting was perfect and the crunch of the cereal felt the freshest of the bunch. The Peanut Butter Cap N Crunch was another great combo, but the Muddy Buddy Pie why the best of the heap. The pudding center and powdered sugar topping really took things to new heights. The chocolate and peanut butter combo mixed with Chex Mix was a true highlight and without question the best of the batch. Dun-Well is known for always throwing a twist into their classic, daily line-ups, but they really shine when they go all out like today and showcase their ability to go the extra step with their flavors without being too over the top.
I’ve written about my love for Donut Pub numerous times, but the iconic landmark always deserves attention. Located in prime Manhattan real estate, the 24/7 establishment is always great for a pit-stop to either kick-start your day, grab a mid-day bite, or a late-night snack and the Fruity Pebble donut is always an incredible choice.
Perfectly sweet vanilla icing covers the yeast donut and the bright, colorful cereal is a perfect crunchy topping that gives just a little extra flavor, but tons of new textures. It’s not as traditional as classic like Marble, Red Velvet, or even Boston Creme, however you cannot go wrong with this one. A long-time staple of the shop, it’s enough of a twist on a traditional donut without going overboard. The bright white icing lets the bold colors of the cereal really pop making it visually pleasing in addition to its fantastic taste. There’s nothing fancy with this one (no cereal milk frosting as an extra bonus), but sometimes you just need something to satisfy a sweet craving and the Fruity Pebbles does all that and more.
One of the newest editions to New York City’s growing donut shop population is The Dough Club, the city’s first Pon-de-Ring mochi donut shop. Located in Chinatown just off Canal St, the Dough Club specializes in the Japanese style that has been popularized around that country by their local Mr. Donut and uses fresh ingredients to serve up six unique flavors daily.
The shop itself is a small, narrow storefront with bright white paint and marble table on golden legs. It’s a clean, inviting space with a neon sign near the counter that reads “rollin in the dough” in brilliant pink. The donuts themselves are soft, light, and fluffy and the mochi gives them a nice, subtle chew. They’re also stunning to look at and like their sistershop next door, Taiyaki, these are some truly Instagramable donuts, but while they dominate in appearance, they lack in overall enjoyment. On my visit, I opted for the Purple Pebble, Miso Bacon, and the Cookies and Creme (I split them with a friend). In the pon-de-ring style, these donuts easily rip off into small, munchkin-esque balls that make them easy for sharing. The Purple Pebble had a nice sweetness and the added Fruity Pebble cereal gave it a solid crunch. The Miso Bacon really had a heavy smoked-meat flavor and not much sweetness as at all, a real savory treat that wasn’t my personal favorite. The Cookies and Creme was the most straight-forward of them all, the cookie adding some nice new texture to the dough’s light chew and overall was the most promising in flavor.
It’s nice to have a new style in town and not a rehash of the craft vs classic or cake vs yeast that exist in so many other shops.
Scores: Miso Bacon: 5/10 Purple Pebble: 6/10 Cookies and Creme: 6/10
As Jason mentioned back in November, MAD Donuts is a hot new spot in Westchester Mall serving up some of the best donuts in the tri-state area outside of the five boroughs and like many other places, with a new year and season comes their new menu.
This weekend, I made the trip out of the city and went to visit Jason in Westchester so we could try out some of the new items on the menu. Funnily enough, despite our love and constant conversation over the sweet treats, it’s not often we’re actually eating donuts together. I went for the Frosty Flakes and Maple Bacon and Jason went with the classic Cinnamon Sugar and Apple Fritter. While Jason’s were truly delectable and the Apple Fritter does indeed live up to the hype, the Frosty Flakes was my highlight of the day. These are yeast donuts so they’re quite large in size and powerful in flavor. The texture is pretty think for yeast and not so light and fluffy, but that is not a problem. The icing was the standout for me on this guy. Instead of a basic sugary vanilla coating with Frosted Flakes cereal on top, the brains at MAD Donuts made a cereal milk icing which really elevates the flavor and makes it just sweet enough and gives an incredible balance to the crunchy pieces of cereal.
The Maple Bacon is another great gem on their menu, albeit a bit more inline with others you can find around the area. The sweet maple is quite generously poured over the donut and the tiny bacon bits add just the right amount of chewy texture without it becoming the main focus. The icing was like a sheet and broke off in chunks which made getting all the flavors in one bit a slight challenge, but a rewarding one at that.
As I mentioned in my recent post, growing up in Massachusetts meant I was a Dunkin’ Donuts loyalist and my donut of choice was (and still is when I return to the suburbs) a Boston Creme. Lucky for me, New York City’s Doughnut Project has updated their daily menu in 2020 to include their take on the classic, the lovely Manhattan Cream.
First thing to note about this donut, aside from the name, nothing here differs from the classic. The Doughnut Project (TDP) specializes in wonderful yeast creations with fresh, flakey pastries and delectable flavors that truly enhance their donuts and take them to another level. Often known for their extreme collaborations, TDP doesn’t shy away from radical ideas, but often succeed with their standard daily menu which is their own unique, but subtle twists on classics. For the Manhattan Cream, they do a simple yeast donut covered in chocolate ganache and a vanilla custard filling. Everything about this donut felt perfect to me. The dough itself was insanely fresh and perfectly chewy, the chocolate never melted on to my fingers and was impeccably sweet, but not overpowering, and the custard was phenomenal. The vanilla was vibrant and gooey, but not overstuffed.
Also, unlike some of the other yeast varieties around the city, this one is not massive in size so eating one (especially with the filling) doesn’t feel like such an undertaking. As one of a few new options, this truly feels like a worthy addition to their expanding daily offerings.
With Fall Flavors officially behind us, I’m a bit late to the game in trying the holiday donuts from around town. Much like Apple Cider dominating autumn, Chocolate Peppermint and Eggnog are common flavors for this time of year. I still plan to round up some of those before the new year, but started off my seasonal adventure with two that were a bit more fun and festive.
For the holidays, Doughnut Plant is in full celebration mode offering up seasonal specials like Gingerdough Men, Christmas Trees, Gingerbread, Coconut Snowman, and Marzipan (in both star and jelly filled varieties). I kept things a bit basic and opted for a Gingerdough Man and a Christmas Tree. Both are larger than the average circular donut and the fun shapes add to the holiday bliss and while I tend to always stick to cake over yeast, for the holidays I made an exception.
The Gingerdough Man was heavy and dense, more so than most yeast donuts, and the sugar coating really packed on the sweetness. The dough itself was extra chewy and the size, density, and texture really made it quite filling. The Christmas Tree was also on the larger size and its bright green glaze really added the festive nature to the enhance the shape. Underneath the minty outer shell (which reminded me of a lovely Andes candy), the yeast donut is filled with a rich chocolate pudding that takes each bite to another level and perfectly achieves the chocolate and mint pairing so one never overpowers the other. Doughnut Plant always excels in the look of their treats, perfectly round with an immaculate shine, each one looks like it could’ve come straight from a display case and not just a shelf behind the counter. These holiday donuts take it up another level so not only is each bite delicious, but just staring at them will put you in the holiday spirit.