Too Much Time Spent Chewing: Pticek’s Bakery

1 Oct

A little while back, we paid a visit to Weber’s Bakery, a pretty large, well-established Chicago bakery.  As we were making our return trip to Donut HQ, another nearby bakery caught our eye.

Located at 55th & Naragansett, Pticek’s Bakery is a small, unassuming place.  Upon entering, it was immediately apparent that they had many things besides donuts to offer.

We, however, had no time for anything else.  After ordering a quick dozen donuts, we headed out to the Donut Mobile to conduct some taste tests.

Here’s what we found:

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Chocolate & Vanilla Frosted (Yeast Donut)

Coffee Girl: Heartbreak is to be expected in any realm of scientific exploration.  For truly dedicated Donuteers, adversity only strengthens our steely resolve to climb to the Summit of Donut Delight.  With ambitions unabated, therefore, we turn our attention to Pticek’s frosted raised donuts, as sad smiles of disappointment flicker across our sugar-bespeckled faces.  Yes, the frosting is as good as it looks — heartwarmingly sweet with a luxurious gloppy texture — but what on Earth is the story with the Donut Proper?  Chewy and bread-like, it keeps the jaws stiffly occupied when they would much rather be spending their time engaged with the Donut Experience as a whole.  Like a mouth-watering chocolate-frosted cake, with cardboard substituted for the cake.

Donut Boy: The word “skin” is probably the last word a Donuteer might like to think of while trying to enjoy a nice pastry in the quiet of his own car.  Alas, this was the first word that popped into my mind.  While the frosting on both donuts proved to be better-than-average and a pleasing buttery flavor persisted, the outer shell of both donuts had a weird toughness that required far more chewing than is pleasant.  A truly good yeast donut gives itself up gently to the taster’s teeth.  No so here.

Score: 7.2

Chocolate Frosted Cake Donut

Coffee Girl: Much, much better than Pticek’s raised donuts.  Here the orgasmic frosting is held firmly and lovingly in place by a worthy partner — a sweet, soft yellow cake donut that is yielding but not overly so, making a very happy taste experience

Donut Boy: Yes.  Much, much better.  This chocolate frosted cake donut reaffirmed my initial suspicions about the first 2 donuts we tried: The dough makes all the difference.  By simply not distracting from the sweet, gooey chocolate-ness, this donut left me much happier.

Score: 9.0

Strawberry Paczki

Coffee Girl: Again with the bready, tasteless dough.  The fresh strawberry filling adds some flavor, but I might as well have had strawberries on my cereal for all the contribution the donut adds to the mix.

Donut Boy: Absolutely atrocious.  I will not mince words.  Weirdly sweet, almost gummy strawberry filling squeezed to near-oblivion between two hockey pucks of chewy, bland dough.  The powdered sugar on top doesn’t even begin to address this Pastry Situation.

Score: 6.0

Baked Custard

Donut Boy: What we have here is, for all intents and purposes, a super-puffy croissant-like pastry filled with custard.  Really tasty.  I think what I liked most about this pastry was the savory, egg-y dough which contrasted nicely with the sweet, very fine custard.  Airy and awesome.

Coffee Girl: Now here is a revelation.  Pticek’s custard is more whipped and fluffy than glossy and heavy, as we’ve come to expect from typical donut custard.  And the donut here tends toward a croissant, with a fluffy, buttery chewiness that is marvelous indeed.  Very, very nice — and I don’t usually care for custard.

Score: 8.9

Custard-Filled Long John

Donut Boy: I was wary of the yeast dough, but luckily this pastry had great frosting and tasty custard to distract the tongue.  A good donut, I was just left wishing that I could have this frosting-custard combination on anything moister and less chewy than Pticek’s baffling yeast dough.

Coffee Girl: Remember how there was always one loser amongst the students in your group project at school?  The name of the Biggest Loser at Pticek’s is Raised Donut.  Not even the grade A chocolate frosting and exemplary fluffy custard can make up for the weak link in this group.  Feh.

Score: 7.3

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We really feel that there are 2 kinds of bakeries, those that do donuts and those that also carry donuts.  Unfortunately, Pticek’s Bakery seems to be the latter.  While a few pastries intrigued us, all the rest varied from decent to downright bad.

OVERALL SCORE: 7.6 (out of 10)

If you like kolackys, Danishes, and baked goods of that sort, Pticek’s might just be worth a stop.  Otherwise, we have to say that you’re better off looking elsewhere for donuts.

Another bakery investigated!  Until next week, Dear Readers.

-CG&DB

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