Chicago is ahead of the curve when it comes to the gourmet doughnut trend. Not only is there an abundance of establishments, but they are often chef-driven ventures. Taking deep-fried dough to the next level in every way, Chicago—I commend you.
One of the most successful local concepts is Glazed & Infused. The mini-chain is backed by Scott Harris of Mia Francesca, The Purple Pig, and Davanti Enoteca, among others. Behind the deep-fryer are Christine McCabe, onetime pastry chef at Charlie Trotter’s, and Tom Culleeney, former head of Lettuce Entertain You‘s franchise operations with Krispy Kreme.
The doughnuts here are made from high-quality ingredients and are fried in trans-fat free oil. Fruity glazes and fillings often change with the seasons.
Every location is equipped with a microwave to capture that ever so fleeting fresh-from-the-fryer essence. The Astronomer was a huge fan of this amenity, while I thought it was a silly move considering the freshness of the doughnuts available on the premises. Day-old doughnuts, on the other hand, I’m all for nuking.
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The Polar Vortex couldn’t stop me from getting my deep-fried high on while in Chicago this past January. In fact, it may have contributed to my appetite—a full belly means a warm Gastronomer.
The first stop on the Chicago feeding frenzy took The Astronomer, Cousin Jackie, and me to Firecakes Donuts.
Opened last spring by Jonathan Fox (President and CEO of 3Sixty Dinning Intelligence and owner of La Madia), Firecakes is a notable player in Chicago’s robust gourmet doughnut scene. The doughnuts made in this teeny 600-square-foot shop use an heirloom recipe that came from Mr. Fox’s wife’s great-grandfather, Billy Hobbs.
After waiting in a painfully cold and winding line at The Doughnut Vault during my last trip to Chicago, it was really great to stroll on in and be served straightaway this evening.
For our pre-dinner “snack,” we selected four doughnuts to share.
First up, a light and lovely cake ring dusted with toasted coconut flakes and prettied with coconut cream ($2.49). This well-balanced creation was my fave pick of the four.
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Another day in Charleston, another splendid meal set in a gorgeous and historic house. This is the life…
Our first meal of the day took us to Poogan’s Porch for a proper Lowcountry brunch, which I admit resembles a Lowcountry dinner, but with noticeably more poached eggs.
Opened in 1976 and set in a grand 19th century Victorian home, Poogan’s Porch is one of Charleston’s oldest restaurants. The restaurant is named after a dog named Poogan, the pet pooch of the building’s former owners before it was converted to a restaurant.
Chef and managing partner Daniel Doyle has been in the kitchen since 2007. Like all of the best restaurants in town, Poogan’s prides itself on sourcing proteins and produce locally from Charleston and its surrounding areas.
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Now that doughnuts are finally having their moment in the spotlight, I’m making sure to cram in as many as possible whether at home or away. High on my list of Charleston haunts to hit was Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts, the premier purveyor of fancy doughnuts in town.
Allison Smith, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Charleston, opened the shop in 2011 and makes twelve different varieties daily using as many local ingredients as possible. In fact, many of the herbs and berries found in her doughnuts are grown in the garden right behind the shop.
The Astronomer and I made sure to set our alarm clocks this morning because these babies have been known to sell out well before the shop’s advertised closing time of 3 PM.
The first doughnut we sampled, a classic raised ring with a spot-on raspberry glaze ($1.99), made us smile from ear to ear. The texture of the dough was definitely good, but it was the tart and bright glaze that made this doughnut one to remember.
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