A Return to Bridgeport: Impallaria Bakery

24 Sep

For a little while, it’s been feeling like we’ve started to dry up the Chicago area’s supply of donut shops.  Frequently, someone will say to us, “Oh, have you been to such-and-such place?  I heard they’re really good.”  To which we reply, “Oh yes, we’ve been there, their chocolate frosted donuts are to die for.”

In these times of Donut Uncertainty, we have begun to reach out to friends and colleagues, eager to investigate any place we have not yet checked out.  This is how we got wind of Impallaria Bakery in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago.

We’ve ventured into Bridgeport before (see our write-up of Bridgeport Bakery) and were very happy with the trip.  We hoped that this morning’s adventure might yield similar results.

Here’s what we found:

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Chocolate Frosted Cake

Coffee Girl: Absolutely an acceptable donut, not to damn it with faint praise or anything.  Luxurious, glossy milk chocolate frosting elevates a pleasantly fresh cake donut that is otherwise somewhat bland.

Donut Boy: My favorite part of this donut was the creamy consistency of its frosting.  More crunch and/or a more pronounced flavor in the cake dough would have made this donut extraordinary.  As it stands, still quite good.

Score: 8.4

Glazed

Coffee Girl: Surprisingly tasteless, considering the pleasingly fresh, squishy raised donut and the crackly sweet glaze.  But the glaze wasn’t sweet enough to balance the lack of interest in the raised donut, which lacked any focus to its taste.  Forgettable.

Donut Boy: Beautiful to behold, but the beauty begins to fade shortly after tasting.  A dimly sweet glaze is not enough to compensate for the chewy, chewy dough.  One feels as if one is eating a throw pillow.

Score: 6.5

Choc. Frosted Custard-Filled

Donut Boy: This donut really did it for me.  The custard inside had a distinct tinge of almond in its flavor, something I’ve never encountered before.  In other donuts we tried, the raised dough seemed too bread-y.  Here, it was just hearty enough to accurately contain its awesome filling.  The chocolate frosting on top hit the spot.

Score: 9.0

Toasted Coconut

Coffee Girl: I like this donut.  The cake dough doesn’t call any attention to itself, but it doesn’t need to, as the topping does all the heavy lifting:  a light scattering of finely ground toasted coconut atop a very nice white frosting.

Donut Boy: I did taste a difference between this donut and the simpler vanilla frosted cake donut we tried, although my tongue struggled to identify exactly what I was tasting.  This is often a problem with coconut donuts.  Still, this donut was good, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys coconut.

Score: 8.2

Peanut

Coffee Girl: Now we’re talking.  The cake donut with its invisible taste works fine here as a fresh platform for big pieces of chopped peanut embedded in thick white frosting.  Delicious.

Donut Boy: Finally, the slightly subdued flavors of Impallaria’s donuts came together.  The gentle cake donut with its mild vanilla frosting serve as the perfect platform for the peanut topping, which takes center stage (as it should).  My favorite donut of the morning.

Score: 8.9

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All in all, we would describe Impallaria’s donuts as slightly breadier and chewier than we might prefer, but still definitely worth tasting.  The freshness of their pastries is obvious from the first bite, and there are some truly great donuts to be had here.

OVERALL SCORE: 8.0 (out of 10)

If you’re in the area, consider stopping by.  We’re happy we did.

And please, don’t hesitate to let us know if you think there’s a place we should check out.  Any and all recommendations are welcome.

Until next week, Explorers!

-CG&DB

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