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.
Continue reading ‘Glazed and Infused Doughnuts – 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.
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.
Continue reading ‘Firecakes Donuts – Chicago’
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.
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.
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.
Continue reading ‘#IceCreamSocial: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory Tour (plus a few bonuses) – Waterbury, Vermont’
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!
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.!
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.
Continue reading ‘#IceCreamSocial: Creating the Perfect Pint at Ben & Jerry’s Headquarters – Burlington, Vermont’