I had some unexpected, very limited edition donuts this afternoon at the 25th Annual Zabawa Polish Heritage Festival. For pretty much the first time in a month I decided to leave my house for a social outing with my husband ❤ ❤ ❤ following the lure of handmade pierogis. We navigated to the east side for the weekend festival and stood in lines and blah blah, ate the pierogis, and saw only people I liked so overall it was a success. Since my pregnant body only lets me out of the house for an hour or so, we were in and out and stopped to get pie before exiting the festival. But it wasn’t pie time – there were donuts! Paczki Polish Doughnuts to be specific. We got eight more food tickets and I was then the proud owner of three of these powdered sugar concoctions.
The Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church where the 25th Annual Zabawa Festival is being held in Erie, PA
I was already in festival/fair/amusement park mode just from the energy of the crowd – some rude people, some drunk people, families, and so on – and then add the food and I was ready for Paczki Polish Doughnuts to finish off the day. They are basically (or essentially…I guess exactly?) fried dough covered with powdered sugar. What set them apart from regular funnel cakes and fried food fare was the denseness of the dough. They were similar to NOLA style beignet thickness, but were soft and not crunchy. I also enjoyed that there was minimal grease residue that often can ruin a funnel cake. To top it off they were served hot, which enhances many donuts and I believe is the case here as well. Overall these donuts were sweet, doughy, fried to perfection, and a good once a year treat. Try them yourself at the festival tonight until 10PM or tomorrow from noon to 6PM or forever hold your peace (or piece I guess) until next year (which is probably the only time most Erie area residents traverse to this neighborhood).
What they want to highlight: Raising money for Holy Trinity Parish while showcasing Polish heritage
What I thought was the highlight: Foood food and more fooooood
Rating out of 5 stars: 2.6
Would I buy it again?: Honestly, probably not. It was good for fried dough but the Cherry Pie looked super good that was selling alongside the donuts.
What could make it better?: Really nothing that seems feasible…maybe adding an amazing filling or a dipping sauce? But would that be traditional? Is this donut even traditional now? I guess I didn’t learn a lot about being Polish.
The sign that lured me
For fair-fried dough it was top notch. For a donut…it was a sweet dough with sugar so I’ll eat it.
Leave a comment about your love for fried dough or being Polish or festivals or really anything you want to talk about 🙂 Please and thanks.
Despite avoiding caffeine in general, I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts in Erie, PA before heading on my road trip in July to get a delicious Cookie Dough Iced Latte and added on a Chocolate Coconutty Donut. I love coconut and chocolate…so needless to say I knew this would be good. After pulling out of the drive-thru, I checked my bag and my Everything Bagel was included but no donut 😦 I parked and entered the store and the girl at the counter gave me two Chocolate Coconutty Donuts. Even though DD makes their share of mistakes, they always make up for it. Even better, I used a free donut coupon so I got 2 donuts for the price of none!
She looks goooooood!
The taste overall I give an A+, especially compared to other Dunkin’ Donuts donuts. If you love Mounds candy bars you will enjoy this donut because that is exactly what it tastes like but morphed into donut form. The chocolate topping was typical DD chocolate. The cake was the run-of-the-mill DD cake, which I do thoroughly enjoy because it is light and fluffy and sweet. If you get fresh dough it is even more lovely. But what sets this donut apart is the coconut filling – the rich frosting isn’t too thick or too whipped. It has the perfect frosting filling consistency with coconut flecks are so thinly sliced you don’t know if they are grains of sugar or some heart of coconut. Personally, I prefer not to be chomping on mush coconut shreds so I thought this (possibly toasted?) mini coconut flakes worked great with the white frosting filling. Buuuuuut it is DD, so there has to be a letdown. Again the letdown is not enough filling 😦 It looked majorly promising when I looked at the filling entrance that appeared to be overflowing with sweet goodness but working through the donut proved otherwise.
That dollop just isn’t enough. 😦 😦 I guess if this was a Twix the “left side factory” would win
So I basically took one of those European month long holidays away from writing that we actually can’t grasp the concept of in the United States. I’m included in the Americans who can’t comprehend a month-long vacation because I never stopped researching. From these research archives, why save the best for last?
I was lucky enough to have the July Cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery in Manhattan. The bakery’s July order form describes the month’s cronut as Blueberry Coconut with Lemon Zest Sugar, filled with blueberry jam and coconut ganache. I preordered four of these lovely treats. The order form is intimidating with strict times for pick up and a warning to consume within 6 to 8 hours of purchase. But when you’re a donut-croissant hybrid with a trademarked name, I guess you have right to be a diva.
The cronut tension grew as I pulled into the *best* boro (in my opinion) and eventually drove down Spring Street in Soho looking for parking. My pick up time was 11 AM and I made good time leaving the Hamptons (Haaaaaaaamptons – yes, I dropped it and am not ashamed) but got worried when I saw the massive line in the bakery (you could have seen the bakery’s inside on my Instagram stories). Would I not make it through the crowd before my hour time window was up and my cronuts were sold off to the highest bidder? I got lucky again – it didn’t go down that way – it didn’t even look like I needed to preorder. I also don’t think I had to stand in that super long line and maybe the short line in the front would have been OK since it was a preorder but it was chaotic and my nerves got me nervous but more so I wanted more time to soak in the city so waiting was alright. When I finally showed my order paperwork and requested my cronut and an extra bonus DKA, the counter people were super nice by any standards and especially by NYC standards.
Me waiting patiently in line.
My food journey didn’t end there. Before I could consume the cronut within its short lifespan of freshness, I HAD to go to Magnolia Bakery. I drove over to the Bleeker Street location and about 15 tourists (not exaggerating) (also not including myself as a tourist lol) piled into the teeny storefront. I was like I don’t care if I wait another hour. I NEED THESE CUPCAKES. While the French talked amongst themselves and all I comprehended was “The Sex and the City,” (said just like they do when Carrie moves to Paris and disappoints her awaiting fans) I was able to cut everyone (in line – not with a knife) and get my dozen cupcakes. I tried the S’mores cupcakes and a blueberry lemon specialty cupcake but I recommend sticking with their basics – yellow cake with white or chocolate frosting or chocolate cake with white or chocolate frosting – which I did and I had many of them.
Original Beauty – chocolate cake with vanilla frosting – and OMG major epiphany I just had….is the little sugar flower they adorn many-a-cupcakes with a MAGNOLIA? So much clicking happening right now. You don’t understand what a moment of clarity feels like in the midst of baby brains unless you have had baby brains.
Enough with the backstory. Let’s break down the July Cronut from Dominique Ansel New York. It looks like a donut that is saying “I’m better than you” with a French accent. I didn’t let it talk back to me and consumed my first one in traffic in New Jersey so take that for a social status downgrade…. I was expecting a tastebud battle French and Indian War style when I took my first bite. There were no bombs or bayonets poking my taste buds. I took another bite. The dough was chewy but not like that chewy, gooey, flaky croissant or light fluffy donut cake chewy…more like old angel food cake chewy. 😦 I mean what else can I say? 😦 I didn’t get the “lemon zest sugar” flavor either and I LOVE FLAVORED SUGAR! Sugar on sugar with flavor sugar is ❤ but this sugar was not a flavor stack. It just tasted like sugar. The filling was where the love lived. The blueberry jam was smooth and authentic blueberry. No artificial nastiness or (vomit) chunks. I gave another kudos to jelly-filled pastries, which I have always basically despised. But the coconut ganache and the (I think it was coconut) frosting on top made the pastry. Coconut and ganache are like two peas in a pod – classy and fun and make for a great summertime dessert pair. The frosting was thick and placed perfectly circular on top. I’m convinced the pastry chef who ices the cronuts has never even SEEN Dunkin Donuts or some other mass-produced donut. It was frosting perfection and the consistency tasted just as good as it looked.
THE BREAKDOWN: Blueberry Jam and Coconut Ganache July 2018 Cronut
Address: 189 Spring Street (between Sullivan and Thompson) New York, NY 10012
Cost: $6 each
What they want to highlight: They are the cronut originators. They have the name trademarked.
What I thought was the highlight: The DKA – I bought it because my friend said I had to have it and she liked it better. She was right. It had the croissant but not a croissant dough that the cronut could have had.
Rating out of 5 stars: 3.8
Would I buy it again?: Yes, because every month is a different flavor.
What could make it better?: If the dough texture tasted like a harmonious marriage of a cake donut dough and croissant. Instead, it tasted like an overworked pastry.
Look at the images below and tell me what you think by leaving a COMMENT below. AND let me know if you had the July Cronut or any other Dominique Ansel creation. Or just say hi. If you’re too shy, just like this post!
Everyone loves a box with symmetry and unique design.
Doesn’t look like the cross-section on Dominique Ansel’s Instagram but still delightful filling. *Oh also wanted to add I didn’t notice a lot of taste difference from the cronut I ate within an hour of picking up and the one I are 30 hours later. SO buy a lot and bring them back to your family far outside NYC and they will be loving you.
The DKA – doesn’t it look more like a Cronut than a Cronut? Loved the texture, flakiness, sweet outside. Grab a box of these for true pastry bliss. ❤
The past week is historically significant for many reasons – I was born on July 2nd, the United States’ birthday was July 4th, and a new donut shop emerged in Erie, PA. The Doughdrop Inn caters to the upper west side of Erie. Although there are many great donut options in Erie, (such as Mighty Fine, H & K Do Nut Shop, and Jack Frost) I think the more the merrier. Since opening on July 5th, the Doughdrop Inn can’t keep their donuts on the racks. They sold out Thursday and when I arrived Friday around 8:30AM they were almost sold out again, despite making more donuts than they had the day before. This made my heart happy but made the brains of many Erie residents visiting the donut shop basically implode today. They couldn’t grasp the idea of not getting exactly what they wanted (a full selection) when they wanted it (any time from opening to the shop’s 2PM closing time). They talked back to the nearly empty shelves. One man remarked, “This is no Barbatos,” referring to the restaurant that once resided in the same space and has been out of business for who knows how long. Basically, what I’m getting at is the people of Erie were showing their ass and it wasn’t cute. However, the staff of the Doughdrop Inn was professional, kind, and their smiles did not waiver. Instead of giving a lecture on how to handle your mouth in public and respect people trying to make your city better and offering a SERVICE you that you CHOSE to employ, I’ll stick to reviewing a donut.
I will certainly visit again to try out more of the many from scratch donut varieties that they offer but this review is about the Chocolate Vanilla Glazed Donut. They don’t have official names for the donuts so I’m hoping they change this one to Marble Cake or something. Anyway, names don’t mean anything. The cake cake cake cake is all anyone cares about and this is the best cake you can get. I am still thinking about it and when I will get to have another one. It’s like a bundt cake or a sweet bread but like the best one you have ever had. The cake has a real chocolate taste that is rich and not overwhelming but definitely will give any chocolate lover their fix. The vanilla is a nice balance to the chocolate. The cake is soft and the texture is not spongy or dry. It is perfect. You can tell that it is made from scratch. The glaze isn’t too sweet or thick or thin. It perfectly covers each bite.
I’d highly recommend any of their cake donuts and can’t wait to get back and try their sandwiches. Specifically, I want the Donut Monte Christo breakfast sandwich that is described as a savory, sweet grilled donut with ham, turkey, and Swiss served with a side of homemade raspberry preserves for only $3.29. My fat mouth is watering.
So I have been super lucky and hit some donut hot spots since starting my donut diaries endeavors. Beiler’s Doughnuts (located in the Reading Terminal Market situated in my own personal hedonistic city of Philadelphia) continually tops lists as the #1 donut in Pennsylvania. (Google it.) When I lived in Philly in the early 2000s, Reading Terminal topped my personal list of places to eat. I didn’t know Beiler’s by name. I called it the Amish bakery – but they’re actually Pennsylvania Dutch. They had a small collection of donuts offered and I always chose the powdered cream filled. Delicious. Also, their restaurant had a not-of-this-world chicken and waffles special that is hard to pin down the day it’s offered and a bakery that every single things is way below big city prices and doesn’t offer anything less than the best *fill in the blank* you have ever bought. My favorites are the cheesecake cupcakes and raspberry pie. Any Beiler’s product can change souls and make grown men cry.
Keep in mind when I tried these donuts I had high standards – holding onto my past over-the-top fantastical experiences and now reading from multiple food journalists these are the best donuts IN ALL OF PA. The first donut I tried from the all-donut Beiler’s shop was the Glazed Creme Filled. Maybe I should have gone big and tried the peanut butter and jelly or the key lime donut to have felt the true essence of a number one donut shop. Glazed is glazed and this is DEFINITELY a delicious glazed donut. It’s similar to the cloud-like sweetness of a hot Krispy Kreme glazed but encompasses elevated taste, meaning the ingredients are of a better quality and it didn’t have to be hot to equal Krispy Kreme’s goodness (they gotta be hot from there or else they’re mediocre at best). The creme was not that nasty whipped cream or a grainy sugar – it’s light and fluffy and sweet and smooth. Of the fluff and sweet cream-filled variety, it is probs the best I had. I want to rave and say it’s the best donut I’ve had in Pennsylvania but I’m not sure. It was definitely the best glazed cream filled I have had because usually they aren’t mixed so major 🙂 🙂
THE BREAKDOWN: Glazed Creme Filled
Store: Beiler’s Doughnuts – Visit them virtually here
Address: 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Cost: About $1
What they want to highlight: They sell donuts.
What I thought was the highlight: They sell donuts.
Rating out of 5 stars: 4.0 – I mean if I said cream filled and glazed donuts weren’t my favorites/go-tos I’d be lying so a mix is 2 for the price of 1 🙂
Would I buy it again?: Probably, but they have so many kinds I might branch out.
What could make it better?: More frosting like cream – but that is just my sweet tooth – I think the majority of people would say this is the best cream filling they have ever had.
Do you think Beiler’s Doughnuts are the best donuts in Pennsylvania? Are they the best even in Philadelphia? How much do you love Reading Terminal? LEAVE A COMMENT and tell the world about it. Please 🙂
A sign of glory
Filling paradise ❤
Husband ❤ Waiting to check out
Lunch was at The Original Turkey in Reading Terminal. Honestly, I could write a whole blog just about this place’s 4 sandwiches and 4 sides. Phenomenal. And that husband is cuuuuuuuute.
It looks homemade in the best way.
Crispy glaze, soft cream, good filling coverage, and almost croissant textured dough. Love.
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