So I am officially more than halfway through my quest to eat 100 doughnuts in 2016, and I couldn’t be happier! These past seven months have been extremely busy, and I didn’t realize when I began this project just how time-consuming seeking out unique doughnuts would be, but I sure found out the hard way. Hopping from subway to subway and (sometimes literally) running to make it to a shop before it closes hasn’t been all that glamorous at times, but it’s always been rewarding when the sweet taste of victory (victory meaning doughnuts) sets in. Sure, I might never want to eat another doughnut for the rest of my life once this year is over, but I sick of them by now. This summer has been so jam-packed, I didn’t even get a chance to compile a list of June favorites, but I will say, a highlight of the month was hitting the halfway point with a fruity pebbles doughnut from Darn Doughnuts in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
As far as July goes, I tried to take advantage of a month full of exceptional weather, and made it my businesses to scope out different spots and unique flavors in the process. Sometimes, the heat actually hindered my plan more than it helped, like when my limited-edition Pokémon Go-themed Pecha berry-filled doughnut from Doughnut Plant melted in my purse before I could take a good photo. But overall, the sun and motivation to go outside (thanks Pokémon Go) has helped me meet and exceed this month’s doughnut quota. So without further ado, here are my top picks of July:
Rocking Horse Café
This Mexican Chelsea brunch spot is a favorite among my friends and I. With a prix fixe menu, which includes drinks, the food is filling and our glasses runneth over — what more could you ask for? Oh yeah, doughnuts. (Which I’ll get to later; spoiler alert: it made this month’s top three.) The restaurant itself is awesome. Besides the coveted prix fixe menu, the wait staff are lovely and more than willing to give patrons menu suggestions since the delicious choices may be a bit overwhelming. They also don’t rush parties out, a commonality among bottomless brunch spots. It’s not too loud or crazy, and you can actually hold a decent conversation over a more than decent meal. I will doughfinitely be coming back for more!
Third Place Favorite Dough:
Lavender, vanilla and pistachio doughnut from Doughnuttery
This tiny treat from Doughnuttery came in orders of six, which was perfect for me because I often find it difficult to finish a whole, giant doughnut in one sitting. The small bites which I spaced out over the day allowed me to discover more about this dough’s flavor profile that I didn’t notice in the previous bite. I’ve always loved the smell of lavender, and as we all know, smell and taste are two closely-related senses, and in this doughnut, I smelled the lavender more than I tasted it, but its cooling effect helped mellow the warmth and sometimes overwhelming taste of vanilla and pistachio. These flavors layered on top of one another were much more complementary than overwhelming, making it this month’s third favorite dough.
Second Place Favorite Dough:
Chocolate hazelnut doughnut from Doughnut Plant
This classic chocolate hazelnut filled doughnut just reminded me how much I adore Nutella. It might not be the most original, sophisticated doughnut, but sometimes, simple, modest flavors are all you need. This warm, vanilla-glazed dough was topped with walnuts, which helped cut the sometimes overwhelming sweetness of the chocolate hazelnut, and I appreciated the fact that Doughnut Plant did not skimp on the filling, as so many spots do. This dough was just what this chocoholic needed, making it my second favorite pick of the month.
First Place Favorite Dough:
A Bunuelo from Rocking Horse Café
My top shop of the month offered a Mexican doughnut, or buñelo. This fritter is a small fried doughnut paired with warm chocolate sauce and whipped cream. A single order comes with five buñelos, and although they’re a little heavy, they were delicious. The chocolate sauce heightened the sweetness and the whipped cream acted as a great cooling agent. The ambiance of the restaurant paired with the warmth and savory flavor of this dough made it my crowned jewel of the month.