Tag Archives: donut

Dunk Donuts in Melrose Park: This is what a 10.0 tastes like

28 Jan

Tucked away under a small awning with an assuming name lies Dunk Donuts, one of the true Donut Meccas of the Chicagoland western suburbs.

Not to be confused with Dunkin’, this little shop has been in service for years.  Your Brave Explorers can be found here on many off-weekends (those being the Saturdays in which are not on Official Pastry Business).  We also covered Dunk many months ago, before our critically acclaimed ratings system was established.

One of Dunk Donuts' employees: Next time, we'll ask her name.

Time and time again, we have come away happy.  This could be because all their donuts are really good, or it could be because Our Good Friend (see above) — whose name we still do not know — never lets us leave without a full baker’s dozen, even if she only charges us for the 5 or 6 we asked for.

Needless to say, we were eager to return and apply some scoring to these great pastries.

Here’s what we found:

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Returning to a South Side Staple: Dat Donut

14 Jan

As we enter this new Donut Year, we find ourselves glancing backwards through our past journeys for inspiration.  Upon further reflection, we realize we have not yet scored some tried-and-true Donut Meccas.

You see, Dear Readers, scattered around the South Side of Chicago lie some of the best donut shops in the city.  In fact, they’re quite likely some of the best donut shops in the greater Chicagoland area, if not the entire Midwest (here at Breakfast Adventures we’re not afraid to make drastic Donut Statements).  Old Fashioned Donut, Abundance Bakery, and Dat Donut are a few to name.

It was the third of these we decided to return to this morning and re-evaluate.

Dat Donut from outside: It don't look like much.

Dat Donut, also sometimes called Dat Old Fashioned Donut, is known on a national level for delivering good, fried, down-and-dirty donuts.  We visited them once before but returned this morning to examine their offerings more critically and assign them a ranking.

Here’s what we found: Continue reading

Happy holidays and a frosty new year from CG&DB!

24 Dec


Kay’s Bakery: Returning to an Old Favorite

17 Dec

This morning found us at a bakery we’ve been to several times before (officially and unofficially), Kay’s Bakery in Forest Park.  It’s an unassuming local bakery that serves up some seriously delicious donuts.

We first visited Kay’s almost exactly a year ago, and we loved it then.  Since that time, however, we have decided to begin scoring our Donut Haunts, in an effort to objectively rank them (see here).  So we knew we had to return in order to give Kay’s the marks it deserves.

Here’s what we found:

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Letizia’s Fiore Bakery: Face to Face with Pretention

10 Dec

Dear Readers, we thank you sincerely for keeping up with our adventures.  We’ve been receiving several Pastry Tip-Offs lately, which make our job that much easier.

Our tip this week came from Ms. Triphena Wong, who pointed us in the direction of a donut list compiled by Serious Eats, a website for people like us who enjoy categorizing and itemizing food.

We’ve been to several of these places already, but a few new names popped out.  First up: Letizia’s Fiore Bakery in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood.

Letizia’s prides themselves on their all-natural, organic ingredients.  We weren’t totally sure how this would work in the world of donuts, but we knew we had to check it out.  So we hopped in the Donut Mobile and headed over.

Letizia’s is definitely an upscale place; we felt a little under-dressed as we slunk in, prowling for donuts.  It seems like it’d be a great location at which to come back and have a legitimate meal.  Still, we pushed these thoughts from our minds and secured our donuts before retreating to the Donut Mobile.

Here’s what we found:

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Chocolate Frosted

Coffee Girl: Uh-hunh, uh-hunh … so the first thing to say about these donuts is that they are natural and organic.  Frankly, I’m a lot happier when the first thing to say about a donut is that it’s delicious.  Not nearly so important — at least to yours truly — is the donut’s biography.  This is not Rocket Science, you overly self-conscious foodies with too much time on your hands.  This is Donuts, which I divide into two categories:  Good Donuts and Bad Donuts.

But it’s also important to be nice, so here’s what I’m going to say about Letizia’s Fiora’s donuts:  they are Interesting.  The doughnut itself is surprising in the subtlety of its taste.  After a disconcerting initial taste of almond, however, the flavor wandered off and got lost somewhere in the land of Where the Hell’s the Sugar?  Donuts Are Supposed To Be Sweet, Letizia!  Nevertheless, I kept chewing, next noticing that the donut failed to achieve any Crunch to separate the Texture Experience into the two necessary components of the True Donut:  crunchy exterior and soft inside.

Donut Boy: I can honestly say the dough in this donut is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before.  Strong hints of butter and frying oil, but an overall more nutty flavor, as opposed to super-sweet doughs one sometimes encounters.  The chocolate frosting was creamy and an interesting balance to the more savory dough, but I still needed more sweetness.

Score: 6.5

Vanilla Frosted

Coffee Girl: Sadder but wiser, I was prepared for Letizia’s next offering.  Same curious, kosher-tasting, slightly soggy donut.  Good frosting.

Donut Boy: Pleasing texture to the frosting, but a somewhat timid flavor profile that I forgot moments after ingesting.  Meh.

Score: 6.5

Sugar

Coffee Girl: Same donut + lack of frosting = Unhappy Donuteer.

Donut Boy: I always enjoy a nice crunchy sugared donut.  Here, though, the sugar wasn’t enough to overcome the nutty pastry.  I felt like I was eating very refined bread.  I suspect dipping it in coffee would have helped, but I prefer a donut that doesn’t require assistance.

Score: 4.8

Raspberry Frosted

Coffee Girl: Fantastic frosting!  Thank you, Letizia!  Real raspberries seemed to be involved.  Delicious.  This by-now-deflated Donuteer savored the beginning of a large bite of this donut, then quickly fell asleep to avoid tasting that dough again.

Donut Boy: This donut would be the winner of the bunch for me.  An interesting frosting (really, how often do you ever come across raspberry frosting in the Donut World?) that paired the best with Letizia’s dough.  Here, the whole package makes the most sense.

Score: 7.5

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One of the most intrinsically appealing qualities about donuts is their lack of pretension.  Places like Letizia’s make us a little uneasy, to be honest.  Donuts should come in cheap boxes and be, like, $7 for a dozen.  Not $2.50 each.  Let’s not over-think things here, let’s just heat up some oil and get to frying.

OVERALL SCORE: 7.0

Letizia’s clearly puts great work into their baked goods — each and every pastry was beautifully and thoughtfully put together.  Cosmetics should come after nailing down flavors, though.  For that reason, we can’t recommend Letizia’s to anyone who enjoys a good donut (or two) and a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning.  Save your money and look elsewhere for your Donut Fix.

By all means, keep the Donut Suggestions coming.  We’ve got a good few months of investigating ahead of us, but we’re always happy to take on a little more work.

Until next week!

-CG&DB

Leonard’s: Stellar Service Somewhat Compensates for Drab Donut Offerings

19 Nov

Chicago Magazine ran an article on the very last page of a recent issue that caught our eye.

Since we’re always on the lookout for new Donut Haunts, we scanned the article for familiar names.  Dat Donut?  Check.  Weber’s Bakery?  Check.  Old Fashioned Donuts?  Check.

But then, jackpot!  A new name!  And this is how we wound up at Leonard’s Bakery in Northbrook, IL, this morning.  According to the Segal-Loevy family (our kindred spirits, pastry-wise), the chocolate frosted donut at Leonard’s is the best in Chicagoland.

Well!  We had to see for ourselves.  So we headed up to Northbrook.

Upon entering, we were dismayed.  Leonard’s only regularly stocks two kinds of donuts: the aforementioned chocolate frosting and a cinnamon cake donut.  And they bake their donuts, something we have not had good luck with before.  In fact, had it not been for Marc, we might have walked back out the door.

Marc outside Leonard's. He's the man.

After finding out we had traveled a good ways to come to Leonard’s, Marc gave us a free kiddush cake (see below), something we’ve never had before.  We also picked up both kinds of donuts and a few other pastries, and chatted with Mark for a while.

We’ll speak more on the great vibe at Leonard’s, but first —

Here’s what we found:

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Dimples Donuts: A Donut Destination in Batavia

5 Nov

Donuteers, do not be afraid of a bit of a drive.  If there’s one lesson we took away from this morning, it’s that truly good donuts are indeed worth trekking around for.  What place taught us this valuable lesson?

Dimples Donuts in Batavia, IL (which is really not that bad of a drive if you’re heading out early in the morning, prime Pastry Hours) is such a place.  We’ve seen Dimples’ name on the Internet many times, but had shied away from actually checking it out because the drive was a bit daunting.

Boy, are we glad we finally worked up the courage to get in the Donut Mobile and drive!  This place really knows their donuts.

Here’s what we found:

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