Hot dang! Another crawl happened the weekend before Thanksgiving. I knew I could squeeze one in as there had been much interest. The weather remained chill and steady. The skies were gray all day. It was somewhat perfect for warm libation and carbo-loading. Plus, Sundays feel made for doughnuts so taking a full day to enjoy them was simply common sense. There were several places on the agenda and on a nicer day or with more will power I feel we could've done more. But seven stops in total seems pretty badass to me in hindsight.
I am saddened to report that we did not partake in Korean style doughnuts aka hodduk. While Grace Street cafe opens at 11am on Sunday they do not in fact serve their doughnuts until 1pm that day. They do have pre-purchased pastries but who wants that when you know they have made-on-site donuts with cinnamon?! Alas, while doughnuts were not had at the first stop on the Doughnut Crawl. It provided us a meeting spot and moment to warm up/caffeine it up with coffee or tea and walk over to....
While I had called Sullivan earlier in the week to see if they would have their bombolinis all day I called again from Grace Street to make extra sure. We got that last three of a batch and saw more deliciousness come out as we split a jelly filled bombolini and vanilla and chocolate creme filled bombolinis.
Bombolinis are basically doughnuts the "Italian way" which is round, yeasty, covered in sugar (powdered or granulated depending on where you go), and filled with something gooey. Levain Bakery and others also make bombolinis in the city but Sullivan's are smaller in comparison to Levain's. And pricey at $3.75. They were none-too-sweet but I had the jelly which had a lot of jelly in it. It was hemorrhaging raspberry jelly folks. Would I get these again? Yeah, as a treat. But still for the size that price tag irks me when I get get somethng twice as big at Levain for twenty to fifty cents more.
For any sweets crawl you have to factor in time and a need for savory. While some can indulge in sweets for many hours many can't. And since several people on this crawl were newbies to the food crawl we had to break. Which is just a good idea in general. After walking from the Herald Square starting point Chelsea Market (even on a weekend) was a good spot to hit because of the array of food, shopping, and an opportunity to use el bano. Though the seating has been all but eradicated in their food court area leaving lots of room for standing but not so much sitting.
I've seen Doughnuttery at several pop-ups in the city particularly Madison Square Eats and considered it but didn't go through with it. So, it was time. Doughnuttery's fame is mini deep fried doughnuts on site with glaze or a variety of sugar toppings. There's only one type of doughnut which is where the array of sugars come in. We tried Paris Time which was a lavendar sugar, glaze, strawberry sugar, and apple cider sugar. I have to say the sugar is overwhelming. They put a heaping lot on it and it can overpower the doughnut itself. So the glaze may be your best bet in this case because it adds a slight sweetness to it and a good balance. Also, with Doughnuttery doughnuts you have to have them warm/hot. All impact of flavor is lost if they get cold so that means they may not hold us as well next day. We even saw a woman named Katherine purchase $20 worth of Doughnuttery doughnuts and leave them there! Blasphemy! Even when we returned from eating savory goods the doughnuts remained! And by that time it'd been 40 minutes so they were cold and lonely doughnuts. Sadness.
An NYC Doughnut crawl would not be complete without Doughnut Plant, which as it turns out celebrated 20 years in NYC in 2014! All seven of us were able to sit down and get an add-on to the group and really mangia. Since Doughnut Plant's doughnuts come in various sizes and densities it is a commitment, especially after having a couple doughnuts already. So people went from minis or half of smaller doughnuts to full size this time around.
Go big or go home y'all!
As my buddy Daisy noted there's an inconsistency of texture for Doughnut Plant's yeast dougnuts. I like how light they can be and am a fan of indulging in the doughseeds because of their smaller size and the mastery with which DP does the creams of never being too sweet on a doughseed when the icing on top usually seals that deal. I had the pumpkin pie doughseed and it did indeed taste like a delicious pumpkin pie. Loved it.
Thankfully, Dough is now also in Manhattan in the Flatiron district. It made it a lot easier to do a Manhattan edition since so many people seem fond of Dough or curious if they're unable to try it in Brooklyn. The Manhattan location is a lot more welcoming for parties to stay yet pretty small and readily packed with families at brunch hour in the city.
All the faves are at this Dough location and seem to be made on site. Like Doughnuttery Dough is really a one trick pony which relies on the toppings. You can get hibiscus glaze, coconut glaze with toasted coconut flakes, pumpkin glaze, salted chocolate glaze, and (my fave) cinnamon sugar. But it's all the same yeast doughnut that has a more bread-like consistency to it than the fluffiness of the Doughnut Plant yeast doughnuts. Dough also has doughnut holes but nothing with filling. Huge doughnuts for a solid price.
By now we lost a couple of people due to an impending sugar-induced coma. The remainder of us walked to Donut Pub, an old-school haunt in the Village with an interior that will remind you of Happy Days. Everyone else was tapped out on doughnuts but I persevered, y'all. I got their version of the Cronut (a croissant and doughnut mix) with maple glaze. It was delicious. Was it like a Cronut? No, nothing can really match the perfection that Ansel has created there. But was it soft? Yes. Was the glaze good? Yes it was the right balance of maple and sugar. It even had the layers of what a croissant/doughnut mix would look like and held it's texture until the next day when I finished it. For the ambiance and variety of cake and yeast doughnuts they had available I would return especially in lieu of something like Dunkin' Donuts. Which is also blasphemous to speak of during a Doughnut crawl.
Daisy suggested that the new Ansel location may have doughnuts. So she, Beth, and I were the remaining crew that indulged in more carbs. While doughnuts were not available--this location does not serve the Cronut--they did have match beignets which are doughnut-like. We went for it.
Beignets are made to order and we ate them outside--inside is way too claustrophobic when full--and had them piping hot. Sadly these were not the best. Mainly because the beignet itself was flavorless, warm and soft, but flavorless, and matcha/green tea is super bitter and did not have any sugar that I could detect in it. It definitely needed that balance to make it enjoyable. Plus the powder goes everywhere as you attempt to eat it making this something not to eat when wearing clothing you are fond of or that is white in color.
Side note: The spiced apple cider at DA is phenomenal! As is the brown sugar Kouign Amann.
And that's it! Could we have done more? Potentially? Could I have done more? Most definitely. I ate my leftover doughnuts with pride the next morning.
What were the faves? Dough was a resounding favorite from many and people also did like DP. But it seemed Dough was the winner for what was eaten. I liked everything I had (except the beignets but I do like beignets and Ansel in general). I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Doughnuttery because of the warmth of the doughnuts and that they weren't dripping with oil when I bit into them right out the fryer. I've also had Peter Pan Doughnuts (in Brooklyn) and think they have a good thing going though they remind me of Dough in many ways in terms of their texture, size, and options of yeast doughnuts with toppings mainly.
Some other places I would like to hit up include Underwest Doughnuts in Hell's Kitchen and Erin McKenna's in LES. And, yes, I'll be going to Grace Street when doughnuts are available. Some of us were thinking of a Koreatown crawl come spring. So yeah, more crawls are percolating in my mind and I still have two more to review that took place in summer/early fall (Sunset Taco Crawl and Bay Ridge Food Crawl respectively). And since we're nearing December it's also time for some wrap-up posts! Which means more judgment of food and various eateries from a name you can trust. Good times, y'all!