2010: The Year in Donuts

1 Jan

It’s been a great year.

Since we started in September, we’ve had many adventures in the Donut Mobile, driving around on our Pastry Expeditions.  Click here for a full list of the places we’ve checked out. We’ve had a blast digging into donuts from all over the place.

Naturally, as the year draws to a close, we have become reflective.  Pensive, even.

What we present to you now are highlights from our travels thus far, for better or worse.  It’s time to honor the places of Pastry Greatness (and warn you about places of Questionable Quality).

Without further ado,


Favorite Donut

Maple Straight from Gibson’s in Oberlin, OH

I dream of this donut at night.  I dream of this donut during the day.  Just look at it! This donut is a dream come true.  –CG

Maple Frosted Bacon Donut from Dinkel’s

Such a fantastic flavor combination presented in an all-around high quality donut.  Nothing else like it.  I need to go back.  And soon!  –DB


Biggest Disappointments

Chocolate Frosted Donuts at Dinkel’s

I wouldn’t have thought it possible to break a heart as thoroughly as Dinkel’s broke mine with their awkward, unsettling chocolate frosting.  And such a nice place, otherwise.  –CG

Chocolate Frosted Donut at Vesuvio Bakery

Looked amazing but dry, dry, dry.  And bready.  Probably a loaf of actual bread with chocolate frosting on it would have been better.  –DB

Best Overall Donut Shop

Kirschbaum’s Bakery in La Grange, IL

If heaven is a suburban bakery, then go to Kirschbaum’s and wait for The Rapture.  Their donuts, their pastries, their cream puffs—all angelic.  –CG

Gibson’s in Oberlin, OH

I don’t remember disliking a single donut.  In most good donut shops, the bad ones stick out.  At Gibson’s, there are no bad ones.  I loved them all.  Donut Nirvana.  –DB


Weirdest Donut Shop: Donut Doctor in Chicago, IL

Where did it come from?  Is there a real Donut Doctor?  Do a lot of people buy cigarettes and donuts at the same time?  So much we’ll never know.


Favorite Frosting: Kay’s Bakery in Forest Park, IL

Luscious, sweet, creamy, rich, and a perfect texture—Kay’s vanilla frosting, especially, is To Die For.


Best Filling

Chocolate Frosted Cream-Filled Donut from Krispy Kreme

See, all we ever really want is whipped cream filling.  But it is very hard to find.  And then one day, at Krispy Kreme, we not only find whipped cream filling, but it is hiding inside the lightest, most delightfully mushy donut, and covered with the sweetest, most chocolatey frosting.  Had we died and gone to heaven?  –CG

Vanilla Frosted Jelly-Filled Bismark from Kay’s Bakery in Forest Park, IL

I was so stoked when I opened this Pastry Parcel and discovered the incredible bounty that lay within.  Perfectly sweet.  Perfectly smooth.  So much awesome.  –DB


Most Consistent Freshness (and Best Bluegrass Music):

Farmer’s Market in Oak Park, IL

These donuts come right out of the fryer and into bags to be sold.  And they sell quickly.  Unfortunately, the farmer’s market is a seasonal thing.  Fortunately, it will be back soon!


Friendliest Service: Laury’s Bakery in Oak Park, IL

We love this neighborhood bakery in Oak Park.  It’s a real melting pot of cultures, all united in the name of gooey goodness, and the women who serve us are always in a good mood.


Donuts You Should Definitely Avoid: Entenmann’s Boxed Donuts

Please.  Life is too short.


Resolutions for 2011

  1. Be brave. We have some good donuts in our future, yes, but there are going to be some less-than-stellar donuts in our future, too.  It’s a risk we must take in our continuing research.  No one said it would be easy.
  2. Tackle Dunkin’ Donuts. This Pastry Mafia has much of the U.S. in a choke hold.  We hope to provide in-depth coverage of each pastry DD offers and to determine if it’s actually any good.  No matter how long it takes us.
  3. Search out the best. We will always be listening, searching, Googling, dreaming.  Great donuts are everywhere, and looking for them is half the fun.

Happy new year!  Best pastries!



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