WLW: Salty Donut making me not salty about Florida

Donuts. I’ll say it: they are not dessert. They are breakfast. (albeit a socially acceptable way to eat cake for breakfast)

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But what happens when donuts are no longer coffee-dunkable? Have they then progressed past the bfast menu realm? When they come in fancy flavors and are dressed to the nines, they do rise above their historically coffee-dunked ancestors? Like, I don’t really ever dunk anything, but seriously thanksbutnothanks I’m not going to risk an entire strawberry or chunks of candied bacon falling into my coffee. (can you imagine the dregs at the bottom of that cup??? barf.) I might even need a fork and knife instead – not even thinking twice about summoning my inner George-Costanza-with-a-Snickers-bar.

unnamed-1And so, artisanal donuts have got me thinking outside the pastry box, and one shop in particular has done the unimaginable and got me thinking outside the sweaty Florida Disney/oranges/hurricanes box. The Salty Donut: this week’s Wish List travelfortreats destination. You heard me. I’m going to Florida to eat donuts.

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Located in Miami, The Salty Donut is a small-batch establishment making EVERYTHING in house, and trying their damnedest to change the donut/coffee landscape of South Florida. They’re basically like, “Everyone, get with the times. Eat this.” And I’m like, “Don’t mind if I do! And thanks for not just being another souvenir shop with shelf-aged “Key lime” pies!”

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I’m talking lemon meringue fritters. Guava and cheese stuffed brioche. Fresh strawberries and cream, passion fruit and coconut, baked sweet potato, and the universally loved white chocolate tres leches.

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Should you still feel the monstrous need to dunk (please just sip alongside), they also offer a fancy coffee program to complement these beauties. Think cold brew Palmers and Cinnamon Toast Crunch lattes. Mmmmmmmm……… Beats yard long boozy slushies from Fort LaudyDaudy any day, and since you’re in Florida you’re probs on vacation, making boxful of fried pastries a 100% acceptable way to start the day.

*pics by @allisonkimchi, @chewyorkcity, @jenntronic, @onehungryygirl, @foodieattraction and someday by me

WLW: all pie all the time

You guys. I’ve been sitting around eating lots of nuts and chocolate and appley ginger-based stuff lately, bc it’s freezing fall out and like a smart person I’m trying to prepare for hibernation. But you know what I really wish I was eating? No, no, not a cherpumple (tho I obvs wouldn’t dare turn it down….GIVE ME). While I sit here in my très chic hoodie/sweater/fat socks/blanket combo, I’m really wishing for some Strawberry Short Pie from Lauretta Jean’s. And I KNOW it’s seasonal and tisn’t the season now……that’s why it’s Wednesday and I’m wishing.

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How Stephanie Tanner rude that I tempt you with this unattainable pie, right? Looking more closely (NOT licking my screen, PROMISE!), it’s kinda like the springtimey little sister of the cherpumple. This truly looks like the dessert of dreams. Bake it and I will eat.

Anyhoo, not to leave you in tears of unsatisfiable dessert cravings, the good news is that it is at least pie season in the nation, and if you live in Portland you can still skedaddle over to Lauretta Jean’s for a more in-the-now seasonal offering. Might I suggest Chocolate Pecan or S’mores?

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Both clear winners and in keeping with my hibernation diet. Both also considered A+ choices to pair with coffee for a breakfast of champions. But you know what works really well at the end of the day after a heavy hearty meat and potatoes-rich fallwinter meal? Something with a bright little zip to cut right through the food coma. Something like Key Lime or Lemon Meringue:

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Mmmmmm pie. Never not in season.

*pics by @laurettajeans and @pdxfoodlove

Sunday Study Sundae

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A single scoop – normal. A double scoop – hey now. A triple scoop – whoawhoawhoa. A quadruple scoop – who even does that unless you’re Napoleon via Bill and Ted??!?!? But if Jeni’s understands one thing, it’s that it’s hard to pick just one flavor. Which is why you can ask for unlimited tastes (doled out by always smiling faces), and when you order 4 scoops they call it a “study,” not a “fatfatty,” and simply ask cone/cup/cookie with that? (also they make you feel less crazy by calling their scoops “half scoops,” but who are we kidding? these are normal size)

And so for this Sunday’s breakfast, I was an ice cream academic doing full coursework on summer flavors. Having had an unusually indoored summer this year, it was lovely to run through a sprinkler, visit a farm, go to the drive-in, lay out at the Cape and run through meadows all in the span of 35min.

Watermelon Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt – if Jeni’s shut down all flavor production and closed all but one shop and was just left with a little hut selling this one flavor in some off-road middle-of-nowhere town, there will still be a line out the door. It’s like childhood sour taffy but fresh and refreshing (like running through front lawn sprinklers while chasing the ice cream truck down the block).

Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries – reminds me of my summers spent on the farm….jk jk, maybe I’ve actually never been to a farm? But I did summer around a lot of corn and pick wild black raspberries when hiking in the woods, so basically this ice cream is Midwest at its best (sans mosquitoes).

Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk – if ever a strawberry milkshake could give you a hug, this is what it would be like. And then you just get a blanket in the backseat of some car at the drive-in and get down to business.

Lemon and Blueberries Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt – if you’re at Jeni’s and having a hard time deciding on a scoop of the whole lemon sorbet or the ultramarine, let me give you a pro tip: get a scoop of this instead bc it’s the best of both worlds. Tart tart with sweet and jammy berry ribbons, each bite is a bright shock with a smooth, calm finish – much like the recurring cold shock of entering the freezing ocean on a boiling day.

Honorary shout out to Ylang Ylang & Fennel – who didn’t entirely match the fruity study flavor profile, but was like running through a spicy, flowery, golden summer meadow all the same.

A+++++

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Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

FaveREDs: all red all the time

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Let’s say you have a 3 hour drive ahead of you and maybe you’re a bit hungover, and you’re falling asleep not bc you’re tired but bc you’re squinting into the sun bc you’re wearing glasses and hence can’t wear sunnies at the same time and so basically your eyes are almost closed. Let’s just say. You need something to keep you alert. You need a treat.

Well good ol’ Starburst has finally listened and is now offering only the best of the best. The cream of the crop. No longer are you forced to take your eyes off the road to hunt past/struggle through orange and lemon and kiwi-banana or some nonsense before you get to a good one. Introducing: FaveREDs. Only cherry, strawberry, fruit punch and watermelon chews! What more do you need? Nothing. Nothing more. (except maybe a ginger ale and a bag of Cheetos….)

Who knows how long this option has been around? I’ve been out of the gas station candy loop for a bit as I’ve been veering towards more pastried desserts, but, hello. what. a. godsend. #allelujah

 

Pandamonium Doughnuts

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When I was in college at the University of Illinois way back when, it didn’t occur to me that the donut scene was substantially lacking. There was a Dunkin’ and a little hut called Ye Olde Donut Shoppe that morphed into Ye Olde BBQ Pit around 3pmish each day. What else could you need? Oh how young, how naive…..

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It would be a loooong wait until Pandamonium Doughnuts realized and tackled this void. Luckily I wasn’t around to suffer, and now I am around to enjoy! A real win win! Everything is made from scratch (organic whenever possible), flavors changing with the seasons (some traditional, some cray). Track them down and then track down your fave.

So far, in the name of donut research, I have dabbled with the creme brûlée, red velvet, strawberry basil, raspberry rose, banana split, maple pecan crunch, toffee crunch and blackberry. Phew! The flower and berry flavors are super fresh/springtimey/summery, anything chocolate tastes like real chocolate (because it is), but I gotta say, I prefer their more inventive combos the most: the creme brûlée and banana split are the standouts. Let’s discuss.

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The creme brûlée is filled with vanilla custard and topped with a layer of hard burnt sugar. It is a portable, breakfastable creme brûlée. No need to tap a spoon to crack the sugar, just bite right in and be amazed and also have some coffee. (my dad is a dentist should you require any post-donut “tidying up”)

The banana split is a vanilla raised doughnut doused in chocolate glaze and sprinkles, filled with fresh banana cream (like it actually tastes like a real banana), drizzled with strawberry sauce, hit with a hefty pinch of ground peanuts, and topped with a cherry. WTF. The definition of a donut novelty.

So I have to say, when next you find yourself driving through the great, flat expanse of Central Illinois, or settled in at a tailgate but over the beer and brat scene, it would be in your best interest to seek out the Pandamonium truck. Your efforts will not be in vain. Pinky swear!

Fonuts: I love you fo real

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So. Many. Questions.

Is this my new fave donut?? Is this a donut-shaped cake? Is this my new fave cake??!!? Does baked = (sorry) moist? Is this a known thing? If so, I did not know this thing. I don’t know what’s going on.

Fonuts are baked (and/or sometimes steamed) donuts. They are never fried. Huh?? They are AMAZING!!!!!!! As I took my first bite of the blueberry earl grey, (as I was sitting in my car in the FREE PARKING in back), I out loud said, “Holy shit.” True story. Even the free parking part.

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blueberry earl grey – fresh blueberries, better than the best blueberry muffin you’ve ever had, scented with bergamot.

rosemary olive oil – like an Italian olive oil cake with a hint of lemon. I’d bet it pairs nicely with a chunk of parmesan and an espresso. Just a guess….

strawberry buttermilk – the Strawberry Shortcake doll in donut form. I have died and gone to heaven. Bye.

Hawaiian – enrobed in shredded coconut, and filled with coconut cream! Take a minute and look again at that first pic – there is a hole in the center of the donut. How then, did they fill it with coconut cream?!? Donut magic. Further, this cream isn’t sweet – it tastes like you scraped butter out of a fresh-off-the-palm coconut. More magic.

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Also, they have a zillion gluten-free and/or vegan options, if that’s your thing. Also, they tie a pretty bow around your box as if you were going to gift these donuts instead of wolfing them down on your own (ie: gifting them to yourself). Also, I’m sad I haven’t been coming here every day since 2011 when they opened. Also, free parking.

(Fōnuts) Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

All the donut people

This weekend I made the rounds and visited all the donut people: The Donut Man – the old “Pride of the Foothills,” Donut Friend – I might get a DBFF (donut best friend forever) necklace shaped like a donut and give them the other half, and Donut Snob – who should really be called “Donut Tease” since they make you search for them and then leave you wanting more.

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Donut Friend: like any true friend, they just want you to be happy and never disappointed. They have a fresh case full of their signature combinations ready for take-away, or they will make you any combo you want to create your perfect donut. Add goat cheese with peanut butter or fresh mint with Oreos – anything goes! I had:

Nutellavision: chocolate hazelnut with a dash of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt
Husker Blu: a blueberry cake donut with blueberry glaze
Polar Berry Club: lemon glaze piled with fresh berries
Lemon Weapon (my all-time fave): fresh lemon cream and blueberry compote in a traditional raised donut with lemon glaze and fresh mint! (they even tear tiny bits of mint and hide them in the donut too!)

(below: ready to go, and Lemon Weapon in the works)

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Donut Snob: No janky-looking donuts here. And nothing sitting around for hours gathering flies. Just pretty and fresh and limited quantities (quite the ‘leave ’em wanting more’ attitude). You can place your own delivery order, or you can consult their site to view their daily stockist schedule and then hope to catch a donut or two before they fly off the shelf! I was lucky/early-out-of-bed enough to get to FoodLab and snag:

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Pistachio Orange: fluffy donut topped with orange zest glaze and chopped organic pistachios (it’s good for me!)
The Berry Best: like a donut-based berry tart with a mixed berry coulis center, cinnamon glaze and fresh whole berries on top

I’m keeping my eye out and my alarm set to find/eat their Blueberry Earl Grey and Campfire donuts next!

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The Donut Man: this guy has been in Glendora for over 40 years, so I doubt he’s moving closer, though I wish he would….. Good thing is that he’s open 24/7, so whenever you motivate yourself to drive on over, donuts will be there waiting for you! Here’s what to get:

fresh strawberry: as seen on many TV shows and as seen in my mouth, this is what they are known for. A big, soft, golden glazed donut stuffed beyond capacity with fresh, whole strawberries
Tiger Tail: extraextra long (like over a foot and a half) twisted glazed donut with chocolate swirled into the twist
chocolate frosted cruller: it is what it is, and it is one of the best I’ve ever had!
maple glazed: truth be told, this one was for my assistant/driver, but I ate some too (obvi) and it was delicious – perfect, freshly poured maple

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FYI: the strawberry donuts are only available during strawberry season, and in about 1.5 weeks the peaches will be ready!!! Be sure to call ahead for the peach-stuffed donuts as they are only around for a couple of weeks and apparently this year’s harvest will be smaller than before. F’ing drought ruining everything….