Monday, March 10, 2008

More sugary treats, (not for the heart attacked inclined) DONUT PLANT

Is that butter, yeast and cinnamon I smell?

Why yes…that is the donut plant’s intoxicating smell as you open the door to a small counter packed with ephemeral donuts (1. Because people keep buying them 2. You can eat them quicker than you think.) Many have praised donut plant, I am not the first: Martha Stewart, NY times, Vogue have all claimed the splendors of this donut. While they are expensive for the average donut ($1.50 to 2), these donuts are far from average. They are organic, un-processed heart attack rings. I say this because it almost sounds like an anomaly, donuts, which pack quite the calorie load are well made with quality ingredients (making them morally responsible) that put them well slightly lower on “FOOD THAT WILL KILL (if consumed in large quantities) LIST.”
Donuts are found virtually on every block in NYC, it is hard to tell them apart (especially when they are all Dunkin' Donuts.) But these donuts are different: the cake donuts taste like a dense cupcake, while the yeast donuts have an airy chewy texture. What I love most are the exotic flavors: dulce de leche, fresh orange donut (lots of fresh orange zest in the glaze), pb&j donut (a peanut butter glazed donut with blackberry jelly in the center), passion fruit, Verona chocolate, cinnamon etc... I was late getting there, so I wasn’t able to try all the donuts. The pb&J stood out, perhaps in a Proustian way evocative of childhood memories. This donut achieved greatness because of the peanut butter exterior, not to rich, crunchy with a scattering of peanuts, and a playful way to re-invent the classic lunch sandwich.
Nonetheless, as Proust to his Madeline, the donut that brings me back to my childhood has to be the basic crawler chocolate glaze from the donut shop near my house. Doughier and chewier, at least in my memory, a chocolate covered braid with a side order of donut holes were always brought home. My father and I would devour them, and like a good daughter I proceeded to eat whatever my father ordered. He quickly learned to order the same thing. Why the anecdotal childhood story, perhaps Donut Plant recalled an unattainable past. Obviously, Donut Plant could not match the overly romanticized donut, nor will any other. Yet, Donut Plant, could be a new ritual, these donuts are definitely worth it. They are delicious, super inventive, ethically responsible (something I look for in a donut) and a mighty fine culinary adventure.

I would like to apologize to my partner in donut eating for the rash treatment at the donut plant. As we arrived at the Donut Plant, we realized we had no cash (which you need in order to buy these babies). I then saw a large group of tourist entering the plant. I freak out. Perhaps it was the intoxicating smell, or the glistening donuts. But I WANTED A DONUT AND I DIDNT WANT THEM TO GO AWAY. Unfortunately, when I returned from getting cash, all the chocolate varieties had vanished into mouths. But, they are just donuts and unlike tourist I can go back whenever I would like and get them. Again, sorry to my donut partner…for letting my taste buds get in the way of rational thought.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Quest for the Almond Croissant

Ever since I praised the Almond Croissant from Taralucci e Vino in the east village (1st Avenue at the corner of 10th street). I have been unable to attain the flaky golden crescent. I feel as if my word of mouth traveled too quickly. No longer can I savor the double baked goodness, the sweet almond interior, or the crispy almonds on top.
Apparently, a mysterious lady, I will name her Ms. Almond Snatcher comes in every morning and robs me of my mouthly pleasures. From the store officials, she comes in and buys six of the croissants leaving the rest a measly few. Since these luxurious pastries can only be made from day old croissant* there is a limited amount. How can I reclaim what is MINE. How can I get one of these delights I foolishly proclaimed as the “superior pastry.” I should have never told a soul…

How can I get the Almond Croissant?

Plan 1: I could wake up earlier, and walk the 5 blocks to get the croissant.
Plan 2: I could track down Ms. Almond Snatcher. Leave menacing notes about how if she keeps buying soo many she will turn into almond. And I will threaten that I will take this matter up with the authorities, the cops. They care about pastries; they understand the value of these morning treats!

After long debate, I will go with plan 1, even though plan 2 is far more exciting, the probability of me getting the croissant seems more unlikely and to be honest more time consuming.
So this morning, I got up early…earlier than usual and got one of these delightful almond croissant. Successful Quest, INDEED!!

Now if I could just get some sort of delivery system…..

*You are wondering why they use day old pastries? No, this isn’t a rip off. They slice open the croissant, spread a thin layer of marzipan in it and sprinkle with almonds. Then it goes back into the oven where it crisps up. It is actually the reason I like them more than a regular croissant: EXTRA CRISPY AND ALMONDY SWEET!!