Monday, March 28, 2011

Powdered Donuts on Monday: Appreciating Life's Simple Pleasures in Times of Adversity

It's Monday again and aside from being back at work most of us are probably waiting to be back at home, with thoughts of sleep, breakfast and donuts from yesterday. But we might as well celebrate everyday as a donut day because you never know when that day, or that donut, may be your last.

In searching for this weeks donut inspiration I came across an interested title on Amazon, published this past year, "Powdered Donuts on Monday: Appreciating Life's Simple Pleasures in Times of Adversity"

Synopsis: (per Amazon site)

"Lesha has been faced with several life threatening health issues, including a diagnosis of a potentially fatal heart condition, Long QT Syndrome, at the age of twenty-three. Long QT Syndrome is a heart condition that effects 1 in 2500 teenagers and young adults. This condition can cause a sudden and dangerous heart rhythm, also known as an arrhythmia, in response to extreme exercise, stress, or arousal from sleep. What began as an unusual phenomenon, this heart condition is now on the forefront of cardiology discussions. After suffering for nine years with these potentially deadly arrhythmias, she has been symptom free by undergoing major heart surgery soon after diagnosis. Lesha hopes others will not go undiagnosed and suffer needlessly as she.

Since her diagnosis, Lesha has experienced other life threatening health issues indirectly related to her heart condition. One included a nine-month battle with a staph infection. This required three hospital stays, numerous tests and procedures, and eventually two surgeries.

Only through her faith in God and unrelenting prayers was Lesha able to survive such adversity. She learned to find her strength through the Lord and release control back to Him. It was during these times she embraced life's simple pleasures. Follow Lesha as she chronicles her life's struggles in Powdered Donuts on Monday, and celebrate with her by what the Lord has accomplished in her life so you too can find hope in your times of adversity. "
Since I still prefer paperback to the kindle, I'll be ordering up this book today and a review will follow in the next few weeks. The title itself is a great reminder of how simple it can be to appreciate life and each moment we have be it Monday, Tuesday, with a friend, or family, or just by yourself with a donut. Always appreciate the minutes...and the ones filled with donuts you can appreciate that much more. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Donut Directory is growing!

In an effort to continually keep you up-to-date on the best new regional donut shop discoveries, the Donut Directory list is continuing to grow; much like my waist line.  Today we have the addition of  5 new shops in the greater Boston and surrounding local with reviews and feedback to follow in the coming months. Coming soon we'll have stories on the best regional players, weekly donut comments and a new segment starting shortly called..."Where's Tony eating a donut", think Where's Waldo meets the Traveling Garden Gnome, only it's Tony's hand with a half eaten donut somewhere random.

For now please check out these new local favorites.

Anna's Hand Cut Donuts

2056 Centre St
West Roxbury, MA 02132
(617) 323-2680
Coffee Time Bake Shop

96 Bridge St,
Salem, Ma 01970
(978) 744-0995

Donut King

151 Copeland St
Quincy, MA 02169
(617) 786-9881

Flour Bakery + Café (multiple locations)

1595 Washington St.
South End, Boston,

Japonaise Bakery & Cafe

1815 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
(617) 547-5531

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Throwing Donuts, the name says it all.

It never ceases to amaze me when I do a google search and put a random word next to "donut" what I come up with, in this case "Throwing Donuts" a video game where you can do just that. From Neptune Circle, the character, PJ, is defending himself against old people the only way he knows how; by throwing sprinkled donuts at them. While game play is not all that fast paced, the old codger (who is pushing a walker I might add = instant comedy) puts up a resilient fight against the never ending onslaught or powdered pellets.

I would get upset at the frivolity of wasting donuts except that, when I am an old man, I only hope someone tries to defend them self against me by throwing donuts. Now that would be bliss. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Donuts and Foie Gras, a match made in Cambridge :)

What's better than being a donut fanatic and being good friends with the woman who wrote The Donut Book, sharing Foie Gras and Donuts with her at Garden in the Cellar, Cambridge, Ma. Sally, a consummate foodie, reviewer, writer and Donut Historian, and I make it a point to get together every few months, explore a new restaurant and delve deep into conversation; yes donuts often come up.

On this particular evening, after a previous attempt at an outing had been thwarted by the Boston Green Line Train, we opted for a much easier destination, Garden in the Cellar. Located at 991, Massachusetts Ave, in Cambridge, south of Harvard Square, Garden in the Cellar is a unique, British inspired gastropub where chef Will Gilson will amaze you with a variety of culinary delights.

Having never been to a gastropub, and having no idea what they could do with a donut, I was excited to try the fare. I was not disappointed. We ordered completely off their Small Plates and Appetizer menu, allowing a variety of tastes with portions adequate enough to feel satisfied but not full enough to spoil the next dish. The potato leek soup is to die for and ample enough for 2, which we followed with bacon wrapped dates, white bean puree, and butter poached lobster. Many patrons may think the yellow vegetable underneath the dates is a type of cabbage but don't be fooled, it's apple and quite tasty. Now, Garden in the Cellar does not have a dessert menu and, as this is not a food blog per se,  we must some how incorporate donuts; we did. Let me just emphasize that, though this was my first taste of Foie Gras, all others will be judged next to it. There was a slight crust, with a mildly sweet glaze which broke through to the soft meat underneath; utterly amazing. What could possibly complete this pairing? Why a donut of course. Though not your typical "cake" donut, the consistency is more akin to that of a popover or Yorkshire pudding. It's creamy texture, with light cinnamon, sugar and salt coating, if the perfect compliment to its counterpart. Needless to say we were in donut bliss.

Desert and donuts alike come in a variety of packages, and those at Garden in the Cellar, should not be missed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Are there awesome homemade donuts in New Hampshire, YOU BET!!

Occasionally in my donuts travels I will find myself saddened with what I find. I regularly search reviews on-line, rope in as many willing (or un-willing, though they always change their minds) participants as possible, and set off in search of the best homemade donuts. Sometimes I will find a shop converted to a large chain store, perhaps find the shelves bare and the doors locked (a sign of just how good their items are) or once in a while even find a donut which, dare I say, makes me wish I had gone to a chain. Fortunately this weekend was not such a case, though it could have easily turned out that way.

Introducing Brother's Donuts and Deli, Franklin NH. Until this past weekend the Donut Directory was a bit light on tasty fair from New Hampshire and thusly I set out to change it. I had planned a trip to visit my friend Tony, aka "The God Father" in Warner, who has accompanied me on many such donut adventures. Naturally the first thing I did prior to departing was search for donut shops in NH; the closest to my weekends destination being Dunclare's, Claremont, and Brothers of Franklin. Experience has taught me one thing when searching out small donut "hot spots", largely known only to locals; call ahead! Lack of preparation can bring you face to face with every donut hunters worst fear....NO DONUTS!!!  Therefore, we rose bright and early fueling up on a healthy breakfast of bacon and eggs and jumped on google to confirm directions and contact information. After reading a review of Brothers on-line and speaking with the very pleasant women on the other end of the phone my worst fears were confirmed, "We only have 2 jellies and 3 lemon creme left." It was 9:30am. "It's best to just call ahead as soon as you get up and we can put some aside for you." "Thank you." I said. I died a little inside and shed a small tear. But, my spirits quickly changed as I remembered plan B in Claremont. However, a call quickly confirmed a sneaking suspicion which google alluded to, Dunclare was in fact a Dunkin Donuts. I was thwarted on all fronts. I had to act fast. I quickly called back Brothers, confirmed availability of the remaining Jellies / Lemon Cremes and we were off like lightning to Franklin.

A beautiful drive in and of itself, Franklin is nestled in the southern 3rd of central New Hampshire, just West of Tilton. A former industrial center, Franklin, like many small New England towns, has felt the affects of the exportation of American manufacturing, though still retains the down home heritage which let's a shop like Brothers thrive and keep locals filling the seats.

As I noted earlier one of the worst experiences a donut hunter will face is finding their destination, only to walk in and find the shelves bare; the only thing worse is to find total darkness and a locked front door. Today was just such a day. As Tony and I scoured the main street looking for the shop our eyes spotted the orange, red and blue sign, bookended by 2 bakers rolling out the dough, with one problem- total darkness. Upon looking closer the letters reading "Saturday-11:00am" confirmed our worst fear; it was 11:30. Slightly dejected and a bit perturbed at our own negligence at rising earlier, we approached the door for some photos and thoughts of returning at a later date. But wait just a minute...what greeted us at the front door was not just our own reflection in the interior of an empty donut shop but a small milk crate with a white pastry box sitting atop, the words " Mike, you are all set!" written across it; devine province. The folks at Brothers didn't know who I was, and I have not yet met them in person, but they left a small donut gift sitting out front and made 2 donut hunters days complete! This is the type of kindness that brings patrons back week after week, year after year, and keeps us all proud to come from small towns.

Let's just say that the donuts, well...they were just as great as the story leading up to them. To quote Tony... "I guess this entry just wrote itself."

Next time you are in Franklin, make sure to add Brothers to your list of stops- just make sure to call ahead :)