Archive for the 'Dessert' Category

Firecakes Donuts – Chicago

Firecakes - Chicago

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.

Firecakes - Chicago

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.

Firecakes - Chicago

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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#IceCreamSocial: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory Tour (plus a few bonuses) – Waterbury, Vermont

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory - Waterbury, Vermont

If my previous post didn’t have you running to the grocery store for a perfect pint, this one certainly will. Or better yet, head to your nearest Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop for a complimentary taste because today is Free Cone Day! Yay! Noon till 8 PM…Go.

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory - Waterbury, Vermont

Day 2 of the Ben & Jerry’s press trip was as eventful as the first. After visiting St. Albans Cooperative Creamery where hormone-free milk for the ice creams is exclusively sourced, we headed to the Waterbury plant for a behind-the-scenes look at how each pint is made, swirls, chunks, and all.

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory - Waterbury, Vermont

The tour began with a short movie about the history of Ben & Jerry’s. Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield met in 7th grade gym class, took a $5 dollar correspondence course to learn ice-cream making, and renovated an old gas station in Burlington for their first store in 1978! Following the film, we were led up a flight of stairs and onto a platform for an elevated view of the factory floor—no pictures were allowed, unfortunately.

The factory floor, which churns out 110 pints per minute and 160,000 pints per day, was a mesmerizing sight with its complex machinery moving a mile a minute.

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#IceCreamSocial: Creating the Perfect Pint at Ben & Jerry’s Headquarters – Burlington, Vermont

Ben & Jerry's Corporate Headquarters - Burlington, VT

I scream! You scream! We all scream!

I recently traveled to Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Burlington for a fantastic press trip where I learned about the company’s exceptional ice creams and admirably progressive culture.* As an added bonus, I also explored the awesomeness of Vermont’s food scene. It’s been almost a decade since my last jaunt to this part of New England, so it was beyond great to be back in the land of snow, sleet, and fleece pullovers!

Ben & Jerry's Corporate Headquarters - Burlington, VT

One of the most memorable experiences from the trip was a friendly competition among fellow attendees to create the perfect pint. The winning flavor would be scooped at an ice cream party in the winning team’s hometown. I wanted to take home a victory for L.A.!

Ben & Jerry's Corporate Headquarters - Burlington, VT

Because birds of a feather tend to stick together, I teamed up with my friends Matt and Nastassia, who also traveled from Los Angeles to be here, and my new friend Erin from San Diego. So Cal, represent! Ben & Jerry’s flavor guru Peter was on hand to lend his expertise.

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Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts – Charleston

Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts - Charleston, South Charleston

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.

Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts - Charleston, South Charleston

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.

Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts - Charleston, South Charleston

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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