Thursday, September 29, 2011

PAULA'S DONUTS...another reason to visit Buffalo!

The Thursday Nut

As if a love of lake effect snow, Niagra Falls, and the Buffalo Sabres weren't enough reasons to visit the far reaches of Upstate NY, let me introduce you to Paula's Donut's, hand cut and fresh since 1996! As I haven't been to the shop in person as of yet, we can take first hand accounts from Paula's FacheBook page, which boasts almost 1700 likes, impressive!

I'm literally drooling as I sit at my desk and scroll through the images on Paula's page. They have over 50 different varieties, including seasonal flavors, platters, donut cakes, and of course Texas Donuts with customizable messages. Do you need to celebrate a special birthday, no problem! How about order a platter for that Friday meeting with the team, Paula's has you covered. Want a wedding cake to end all wedding cakes- go see Paula! Don't forget to check Paula's website for their on-line Coupons and .50 off bakers dozen or any of their other weekly specials.

But most importantly, if you happen to make it by in person, before I do that is, bring me some stomach can hardly handle the anticipation!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Donut Shout Out!

The Friday Nut

It's been a very busy few weeks for this donut hunter. I'm working on a new Donut Directory logo with Julie Rosse Designs , a very talented local designer and one-stop resource for all your design needs.

I've been spreading donuts far and wide bringing smiles to my NY colleagues straight from Kanes Donuts in Saugus. Be sure to stop in and check out their remodeled store, and new seasonal flavors, Glazed Apple Cider, and Pumpkin- YUM! 

And last but no means least I've been receiving Shout Outs from Donut Hunters around New England; such as our Loyal follower Bob C., in Springfield Ma, at the ever popular Donut Dip. Bob did this to a Jelly; I don't blame him.

And then of course we have our representative from New Hampshire, continuing that series of shots "Where's Tony with a Donut." Well, as evidenced by the picture you might deduce he's in an orchard, and likely in the state of New Hampshire. In fact, you wouldn't even know that Tony took this picture if it wasn't for the presence of the Apple Cider donuts on the hood of his car. Notice the large bite out of the donut on top. I saw the massacre that followed; it wasn't pretty. But again, I don't blame him. They're delicious!

Since Fall is now in full swing, and the donuts flavors change with the seasons, please don't forget to keep sending along your pics, hot spots and favorite hidden donut gems. We love to feature you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Habitat For Humanity, building a community with Donuts!

Mike W. Team Leader
The Wednesday Nut

Every year around this time my colleagues and I don our red volunteer shirts and, on behalf of Wells Fargo, volunteer our time to help with our local Habitat for Humanity group, Habitat for Humanity-North Shore, formed in 1985, to assist with several of their on-going projects.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the organization, Habitat for Humanity,  is a "nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. They build with people in need regardless of race or religion." Habitat depends largely on donations and the support of its volunteers, all from a wide range of backgrounds. Volunteers are normally divided into groups, depending on skills and interests, where they will take on various stages of demolishing existing properties and reconstructing new living spaces. The skills learned at a Habitat project can be invaluable for volunteers, and you are sure to create lasting friendships. As this past weekends project started at 8:00am, and we typically bring the coffee and donuts, what better time to bring along some of the best from our neighborhood shops for all to enjoy. 1 important fact to note; though many independent shops will start production in the wee hours of the morning, the donuts may not be on the shelves until after 7:00am, which in this case presented a problem; call ahead! 

Kaelyn and Andrew enjoy a few!
The donuts selected for this weekend came from The Donut Villa, Malden , Ma and one of my all time favorites (not just because it's 5 minutes from my house) Lyndells Bakery, Somerville, Ma. The good thing about these 2 shops (other than the donuts of course) is that, 1) they are relatively close to each other and 2)Donut Villa opens at 5:30am, while Lyndells opens at 7:00am. Why is the staggered opening a good thing? Well, because once your average donut hunter has visited the Donut Villa for a few jelly sticks and finished a coffee to aid digestion, Lyndells is about to open and you have a few moments to rest up on the drive over before starting the next chow down. Not that this is what I did, but one could do this if they were so inclined. On this fine morning I visited the Villa, ordered a dozen, walked out to the truck, jelly stick in hand, ate it, and then promptly turned around and walked back in to order another dozen before heading to Lyndells; it all depends on your preference.

Needless to say the donuts were a hit. In fact our foreman, Don, could be seen going back to the box every chance he got to grab another. We started off the morning all smiles and ended in much the same way. We had once again successfully contributed at least a small part of a project that will mean new housing for those less fortunate and a chance at a better life.
Scot is all smiles!

Which, right along with this picture, reminds me of the optimists creed and how fitting the donut is to a Habitat for Humanity project: ""As you ramble through life Brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole" back is always the best gift.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Call to Canadian Donut Hunters....

The Tuesday Nut

Greetings Donut Hunters! I've been traveling the last few weeks but it's great to be back in the good ole' USA, though I do miss my time in the Maritimes. For those of you who weren't aware I just returned from the culmination of an epic side-car motorcycle trip with my 78 year old father, who rode the 2600 mile journey in the side-car the whole way. This story harkens back 3 years when my brother and I took the same trip and our father unsuspectingly said "If you had had a side-car I would've gone with you." To which I said "Ok."

Traveling to a new country of course means locating and trying their donuts, which my father was only to happy to assist us with.

Now, as has become the case here in the States, the one saving grace for the donuts sampled was a small local bakery in Ch├ęticamp. Otherwise the chain stores were not only a significant disappointment, but I can actually claim that I have found one of the worst donuts I have ever eaten. I threw out half of a Boston Creme it was that bad. I know, you're shocked, it's true. Hence the title of this Blog entry. Please Canadians, if you can direct us to your best I want to hear from you. The Donut is, after all, the unofficial national Canadian Food, but these examples don't show it. One aspect that I will add, in all fairness to our brothers and sisters from the Great White North, is that regionally and demographically food tastes and textures can differ depending on the pallet. For example, yeast raised donuts of this region have a more bread-like consistency than the large majority of those in the US. This consistent difference would lead me to believe that Canadians might actually prefer a more bread-like donut than the US does; this will take more research to determine.

Stop 1) Bakin' Donuts; Summerside PEI. In all honesty and fairness to the subsequent shops we stopped at on the way through, I have previously been to this Bakin' Donuts, and other than just loving the name, wanted to confirm the limited number of varieties they offered; confirmed. Other than a few cake donuts and surprisingly a Boston Cream, they are largely a franchise which focuses on inexpensive, but well portioned breakfast and coffee. We sampled a Boston Cream, which you can see dad eating in the above photo and noted 3 things, 1) Bread like consistency of the dough 2) Sugary very light chocolate topping as opposed to an actual frosting 3) Cream that was very distinctly not homemade, almost clumpy. As we were there around 8:30 am, freshness was not really and issue. This donut would be passable in a pinch but otherwise stick to the breakfast and don't let the name mislead you.

Stop 2) Robbins Donuts - one of the larger donut chains around Canada, behind Tim Horton's and Country Style; noted in Steve Penfolds book, The Donut: A Canadian History, has built over 130 locations across Canada since inception in 1975. We were fortunate enough to spot one such location in Cavendish while filling up just after leaving the Anne of Green Gables museum. The girl behind the country was extremely friendly and informed me that the normally have a black forest donut but that someone in the factory must have been asleep today as they had a Boston Cream/Black Forest hybrid delivered; sounded great to me! The dad and I bit headlong into this new concoction and were greeted by much the same texture and taste as that of Bakin' Donuts. They must be sharing the same recipe book or this is in fact a part of the larger Canadian regional pallet, or the same factory makes them. The Chocolate coating was just that, not thick and rich but sugary and thin, dough was bread-like and the filling clumpy...hmmm.

Stop 3) Country Style - I have heard the story of the Country Style chain for years and, being the Donut Hunter that I am, owe it to everyone to sample all manner of donuts first hand be they chain or independent. 2 things to note here, not only do I not remember where this location was (we were somewhere in the middle of Nova Scotia) and I don't want to, but I fear that Country Style has succumb to market competition in an effort to keep up with behemoths like Tim Horton's, sacrificing quality and moving more to coffee and quick serve than its donut roots. I bought a Boston Cream, in order to compare all samples evenly, walked out to share it with the dad, and can quite honestly say this was hands down the WORST donut I have ever had in my life. I took 3 bites just to confirm how bad it was and then threw it in the trash. I would've shed a tear if what I threw away was anything close to resembling a donut. The dough was bread-like, comparable to the others though more soggy and not as fresh (if this donut could've ever been fresh) and the chocolate coating had the thick consistency of wax with a hint of sweetness which resembled the smell of a candle factory going full tilt in the summer. If I had wanted to eat a candle I would have gone to a craft store, bought a box of votives and chowed down. This was gross to put it mildly. The dad tried to take a bite and spit it out. Consider yourself warned; Country Style should make Boston Cream Candles and label them that way; leave the donuts to someone else.

Stop 4) Aucoin Bakery, Ch├ęticamp, NS- I almost passed this one by, save for having noticed the small donut on their sign. Thank god I didn't!! Leave it to the independent shops to pull through and Aucoin didn't disappoint. As seems the case with most of the donut shops and bakeries I have found in Canada, there is a greater emphasis on cake donuts than yeast raised. I figure, if you make a smaller variety and focus on cake, than what you do focus on should be excellent, right? Well, if I wasn't on a motorcycle this Donut Hunter would've walked out of Aucoin with all manner of fresh breads, pies, and tasty desserts; instead I walked out with a small sugared cake donut and a blueberry muffin for the dad. Dad was happy :) The donut was tasty, not dry, dunked very well with coffee and left no greasy taste in my mouth. Aucoin has been doing it right since 1959 and it's evident why. The smell in the shop is almost overwhelming while waiting in line, it says one thing; FRESH! Though Cheticamp might be a bit of a hike, if your in the Maritimes and looking for donuts you must make the journey. Otherwise just stop at your local Zellers and buy some candles; it's more satisfying to use wax that to eat it.