Donut Reviews

Paczki Polish Doughnuts – Zabawa Polish Heritage Festival – Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Erie, PA

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.

Holy Trinity Catholic ChurchThe 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).

Paczki Polish DoughnutsBringing these beauties home

THE BREAKDOWN: Paczki Polish Doughnut

Store: 25th Annual Zabawa Polish Heritage Festival at Holy Trinity Parish

Address: 2220 Reed St, Erie, PA 16503

Cost: 3 donuts for $4 (8 tickets)

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.

Paczki Polish Doughnut SignThe sign that lured me

Paczki Polish DoughnutFor 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.

 

Donut Reviews

Holtman’s Donuts, Stan the Donut Man, The Donut House, Martin’s Donut Shop, Milton’s Donuts – Day 2 – Butler County Donut Trail in Ohio

Day 2 of the Butler County Donut Trail had me hyped because on Day 1 of our journey many of the Day 2 shops were described by locals and others on the Donut Trail as their favorites. I was tired but determined. We spent the day prior exploring Hamilton, Ohio where we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Hamilton. If you love little towns and can appreciate the small things you will love Hamilton. They have little shops, a scenic river, biking and walking trails, and unique restaurants plus a lot more if you would just go and visit! Plus, it was a great starting point for both days of our donut journey.

Stop 1 – Holtman’s Donuts – 9558 Civic Centre Blvd, West Chester Township, OH 45069

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Without referencing a map, my senses say this was the closest shop to Cincinnati. It def had more of the “city” feel than the mom and pop, local diner donut shops. They had all the trends: cereal, bacon, and unicorn varieties. And, like a true city girl, these donuts won in the vanity competition.

img_0574.jpgFrom the Top Left – Maple Bacon Crueler, Unicorn Blueberry Cake, Red Velvet

Bottom Left – Twisted Knot Glazed, Samoa, German Chocolate

So obvi the bacon donut you can’t go wrong. Having the maple-bacon combo on top of a crueler is definitely different. Not sure if the donut cake could hold the substance of the bacon. It was still good because, well, bacon.

Not going to be a major surprise, but my favorite was the Twisted Knot Glazed – not the technical terms if you couldn’t guess 🙂 It was that lovely knotty dough that is soft and crunchy and then glazed. It really doesn’t get much better.

If you have eyeballs you can see how beautiful the remaining donuts are. The Samoa could be mistaken for the Girl Scout Cookie if photographed just right. But I was most impressed by the Red Velvet insides. The donut cake tasted just like red velvet cake and if you aren’t into frosting this donut would be your most desired snack in the world. I, however, love frosting so I thought it could use more glaze but I’m sure most Red Velvet Cake fanatics would disagree.

Behold that beautiful red color ❤ ❤ – that’s no filter.

Stop 2 – Stan the Donut Man – 7967 Cincinnati Dayton Rd, West Chester Township, OH 45069

IMG_0576Stan the Donut Man – standing in the midst of a strip mall minding its own business. Strip mall status isn’t a diss – a lot of the shops on the Donut Trail are in strip malls. Stan’s fulfills the traditional donut feigns love for cake donuts and rolls. It is unassuming and obviously delicious. It isn’t going to have the same glitz as the trendy donuts – minus the pineapple fritter. The glazedness and cake were delicious. I didn’t looooove the pineapple chunks along the bottom but that is totally personal preference. I just don’t like eating a piece of fruit and would rather have it flavored or the fruit mixed in because the texture difference is too jarring. That being said it didn’t TASTE bad. I would go back again for the blueberry cake donut. Nothing there is too sweet but this had a really great blueberry flavor in the cake and no blueberry chunk pieces.

Don’t I look so joyous? My cheeks look full that’s for sure lol. Here are the selections – as you can tell the pineapple fritter is a favorite cause there’s only 2 left next to the apple fritters – if you zoom 🙂 And this is cake on cake donut heaven if that’s what you’re in to. Cake cake cake cake cake cake.

Stop 3 – The Donut House – 8268 Princeton Glendale Rd, West Chester Township, OH 45069

IMG_0582Maybe my expectations were too high because I liked the sign. Maybe it was the fact that you could pick a filling for multiple donut shells that were filled in front of you…I don’t want to say I hated it but this was probably my least favorite of all the shops. I was PUMPED to pick the filling for my donut shell – I got a chocolate frosted, white cream filled and a glazed bun with chocolate filling. The donut dough was OK and the filling was way too fluffy for me. Almost a whipped cream filling. People who hate sugary cream filled donuts would probably love these. I am not those people. Not to mention the girl at the counter’s attitude was SO BAD. I think her misery oozed into the donuts. Maybe her dog died that morning but she is loyal and showed up anyway, maybe it was her last day and she couldn’t bear to smile because her heart was broken, or maybe she is miserable and made their mediocre donuts worse.

img_0589.jpgThat blooming glazed at the top left looks tempting, but it was decently flavorless but would I eat it again? Yes, it’s a glazed donut. The fritter was alright too…but yeah of course it is it’s a fritter. And then the 2 filled on the spot on the right side. Just all was flat for me 😦

Stop 4 – Martin’s Donuts – 4 W State St, Trenton, OH 45067

IMG_0590Who doesn’t love a pink building? Probably a lot of people lol but I love a bright building! Martin’s was cool because the donut making area was to the left of the entrance. Considering they open as early as 4AM I think it might be hard to catch them processing 🙂 This shop was as old school as it gets with friendly old men walking out and the man at the counter taking his time to go over and explain any questions from each customer. They were sold out of many of their favorites but I was able to try an Orange Creamsicle Donut and an Apple Fritter. I’m not a usual fan of orange flavored pastries, but this is worth leaving your comfort zone. The cake was good, the filling not too sweet or plain and the frosting was sweet deliciousness. I think the secret ingredient is love.

The Apple Fritter is in another category. The donut maker explained how they are widely requested and featured at an annual festival that they get a gazillion orders for these fritters each year. There weren’t any dirty apple chunks. Only all the dough and glaze and magnificentness of your fritter wishes. Sweet and apple-tinged and no gross textures of goo or hard apples pieces. Possibly the best apple fritter I’ve had? It’s a definite must try if you ❤ fritters or any kind of donut 🙂

Almost empty trays, a #DONUTTRAIL sign, and where the magic is made.

img_0599.jpgThe beautiful Apple Fritter.

img_0597-2.jpgAnd the Orange Creamsicle Donut – love the color.

Stop 5 – Milton’s Donuts – 3533 Roosevelt Blvd, Middletown, OH 45044IMG_0606The last stop – Milton’s Donuts. You’d think that I would be tired of donuts by now but that is only partially correct. I’m tired from growing another heart and liver and all the other organs that compose a human and carrying around a ton of extra pounds but I am in no way tired of donuts. Milton’s had a super big chalkboard menu of donuts and when I asked for their best they said they had been sold out of those for a while. They said with their most popular flavors it doesn’t matter how many they make, they are gone long before my arrival time, which was around 10:30AM. Might want to start here if you want their best. So the man at the counter who softened the more we spoke, offered a fresh glaze, which I consumed before memorializing its beauty with my sub-par photo skills. It was a regular ring glaze in looks and a hot, fresh glazed better tasting than Krispy Kreme in consumption. So if their “best” are sold this is still a major winner. Also, I loved them because their donuts were gigantic but just because they had the size appeal they didn’t skimp on taste.

IMG_0601IMG_0604Still lots of donuts and big delicious ones but I’d go earlier next time 🙂

If you want to overindulge in sweetness, see some cute towns, and meet some nice people, then get on the Butler County Donut Trail. You have a whole summer and what else are you gonna do? Go to a museum to pretend you like artifacts that you’ll never remember the details of or go to a crowded beach and burn your porcelain skin after this long winter? No! Go get happy with some donuts and more southern accents than I heard when I was in Savannah.

Follow this blog for more #donuttrail info and reviews of donuts across the US (and world :)). Go to the sign-up page to subscribe. Leave a comment about what you want to know about the Butler County Donut Trail or any of your reviews of these shops.

Donut Reviews

Mimi’s Donuts & Bakery, Kelly’s Bakery, Ross Bakery, The Donut Spot, Jupiter Coffee & Donuts, Central Pastry Shop – Day 1 – Butler County Donut Trail in Ohio

Donuts have totally been living through a pop culture moment. They’re on phone covers, t-shirts, and all kind of kitschy goods. Everyone wants to show off their donut love and Butler County in Ohio is taking full advantage of the trend. On National Donut Day, Friday, June 1, 2018, my mom and I set off across the lovely state of Ohio to travel the Butler County Donut Trail. After a mostly pleasant ride (minus construction and rain at the end – why does it always have to get bad at the end) we arrived in Hamilton, Ohio at the Courtyard Marriott Hamilton. They were nice enough to host us for the weekend and had a cute welcome basket for me when we got into the room. I was dead tired and we only had 5 hours to sleep available to get up and get on the trail. Unfortunately, my excitement for the donuts that were ahead kept me up and Saturday morning I was basically running on adrenaline and sugar. Here’s my sleep-deprived recollection of day 1 on the Donut Trail.

Stop 1 – Mimi’s Donuts & Bakery – 2267 Millvale Ave., Hamilton, OH 45013

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I *think* the favorite donut here was named the Reese’s Donut. It had peanut butter filling, chocolate frosting, and a sprinkle of peanut butter flavor crunch on top. There were a lot of peanut butter filled donuts throughout the trail – most were called Buckeyes – but this was the best peanut butter filled available that we had.

They also had glazed donut holes – like the actual punctured out middle of a donut. I was just complaining about no good donut holes last week lol. These were soft and airy with a thin glaze shell. It’s how I remember donuts holes from DD being back in the day – but better.

The peanut butter donut on left and donut holes on right. Also pictured is a blueberry cake with lemon frosting and a jelly filled. The lemon frosting was real lemon tasting with a good sweetness and the jelly was jelly 🙂

Stop 2 – Kelly’s Bakery – 1335 Main St., Hamilton, OH 45013

img_0474.jpgThe shop is cute with a retro/aqua/check floor design and obviously tons of delicious donuts to choose from on their racks. Of what I tried, I’d go with the fritter. It was better than the Mighty Fine fritter because it had a better texture and the sweetness crept into the crevices more delightfully.

I had my first cereal donut here – it was “like a cinnamon toast crunch” according to the girl at the counter. Cereal donuts are like the most trendy of the donut trend. I tasted it probably about 2 hours after we left the store and the cereal on top didn’t have much crunch left. It’s like the donuts are going through a phase – super trendy, looks intriguing, and doesn’t live up to the hype when you finally get it. The Buckeye was delicious – it’s peanut butter and chocolate I mean what could go wrong? 🙂

img_0477.jpgIMG_0478Zee winner from Kelly’s – Fritter Power.

Stop 3 – Ross Bakery – 1051 Eaton Ave., Hamilton, OH 45013

Ross Bakery was totally delightful – and there are 2 locations you can visit on the donut trail to qualify your passport. (Learn about the passport here.) Each shop had a Donut Trail sign (as shown in the image above) that you could take a picture with to commemorate your visit. I was amazed at how many people had their Donut Trail Passports. The majority of people we saw in the shops were on the Donut Trail and bringing in tons of cash for Butler County, OH.

Anyway, onto important things like DONUTS – the Pretzel Donut was the BEST. It was like eating one of those delicious rectangular pastries from the grocery store – like an Entenmann’s danish that comes in those long packages but THIS DONUT was in the shape of a pretzel, with glaze ❤ I could eat one a day. Also feeling  Pretzel Donut’s trendy vibes – it’s non-binary – it doesn’t have to be a danish despite its dough having the look, feel, and taste of a danish because it calls itself a donut but presents as a pretzel. SO progressive.

I also had my second cereal donut from here. The Fruity Pebbles Donut is like EVERYWHERE – again the cereal was soggy and I think cereal is so delicious that it is best to be left as cereal. It photographs nicely though 🙂 And isn’t that all that reallllly matters in the world of clicks and trends? They also had Buckeye Donuts – the cake was very good on this one and had a Hershey Square on top (why is it called a square when it’s a rectangle?). The knotted donut also was super yum with crunch and layers of different dough textures. I say anything from here will be above average but eat your cereal separate.

My variety from Ross Bakery on the left and the WINNER – Pretzel Donut on the right ❤ I will be back for you someday…

Stop 4 – The Donut Spot – 5148 Pleasant Ave, Fairfield, OH 45014

Lines were out the door at the Donut Spot. And I get it – it was a small shop but had lots of delicious choices including one of my favs from day 1 – a cream cheese filled donut with white icing. It was bomb. The cake was unique and a great vanilla/yellow cake flavor and bouncy texture. The white frosting wasn’t layered on too thick so its sweetness wasn’t overwhelming. BUT THE FILLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was cream cheese like a Bavarian cream cheese filling that was filled throughout the insides from edge-to-edge. Cream cheese in every bite. My eyes were like ❤ ❤ Love is love and I loved it. I also am a major cream cheese lover so if you feel the same then get this donut! I also had an Oreo Donut from here. It was good. I liked it. I didn’t die over it but I can say that it didn’t taste just like a donut that had frosting and some Oreo thrown on as an afterthought. It had a little something special. So if you like something like an Oreo Thin maybe you’ll be into this.

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The lovely cream cheese filled donut. Might have been called a Cheesecake Donut? Details don’t matter when you’re in love.

IMG_0498Oreoooooooooooooo.

Stop 5 – Jupiter Coffee & Donuts – 5353 Dixie Hwy # 5, Fairfield, OH 45014

Jupiter Coffee & Donuts – it’s trendy-ish, it’s got lots of breakfast pastry options, and better than average coffee (so says my mom). This shop holds a special place in my taste buds. They had a Raspberry Cheesecake Donut – so obvi I was pumped. Then I saw the emphasis was on the raspberry and not the cheesecake – that left me deflated. THEN! I ATE IT! And truly was impressed. I have a little chip on my shoulder when it comes to jelly filled donuts. They just aren’t it for me. Especially the chunky jelly I had in DD’s Royal Love donut. *Tears thinking about it* But Jupiter Coffee & Donuts restored all faith in jelly donuts. The filling was smooth, and sweet, and tasted like what a pastry filling should – a compliment to the soft delicious donut around it. If I was comparing it to a grocery store product it would be on frozen Toaster Strudel level – except this was fresh and 1,000 times better so maybe no comparison lol. And if you don’t like those but like jelly you’ll still love this donut. I also got a fried, glazed croissant. It pains me to knock a croissant or anything glazed, but I am going to err on the side of if this was fresh like out of the fryer, and especially if it was still warm it would be amazing. But after sitting on the shelf…pass. For me, Jupiter Coffee and Donuts was a fitting name for this shop because it was like another dimension – I loved the jelly filled and didn’t finish the glazed croissant.

IMG_0507Moon and Star? Planet and Rising Sun? Parallel Universe Donuts.

IMG_0531Best jelly donut if I had to say so 🙂

Stop 6 – Central Pastry Shop – 1518 Central Ave, Middletown, OH 45044

IMG_0511When we pulled up it looked like it wasn’t that busy but as soon as we entered the shop people started filtering in – all loyal Donut Trail travelers too. The shop stood apart from the rest as a true Donut Trail beacon. Not only were they the most friendly, they were the most excited to have donut trailers. The owner explained the geocaching that happy people on the Donut Trail were using to check in to each destination and was truly delighted when she exclaimed, “People are having the time of their lives out here!” She also had these maps that were only up for 4 days and already had tons of pins from all over the world.

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IMG_0526So. Many. Pins. People are loving the Donut Trail. You will too 🙂

How cute are the backdrop and my mom? In the bottom left is a Passport from in stores. I didn’t see them at all the shops so I would print one online and pick this pretty one up if you see it. Oh and that’s me at the top. Looking ready to have some more donuts lol.

Highlights – Onto the donut. It was delicious. Almost like a crumb cake donut – pretty sure it was named an “Ugly.” I am bad with names. Very bad with names. Good at remembering details and how it made me feel though 🙂 This donut had crunchy parts and soft parts but it wasn’t a strudel. It was different. Unlike the others. A true original and stand out in textures and in the world of donuts – which not only resonated with their baked goods but the energy of the shop.

My back hurts but I can’t tell if it’s from walking today or extra bad heartburn. Tell yo friends (and yourself if you haven’t!) to SUBSCRIBE for more posts about the Butler County Donut Trail and all things donuts (or doughnuts if you’re sophisticated). Get you some.

Donut Reviews

Strawberry Fritter – Mighty Fine Donuts Review – Erie, PA

I started writing and rewriting this post 10 times because, how do you start talking about the love of your life? Mighty Fine Donuts was the reason I went to confirmation classes, a place to smoke cigarettes and play lottery any time of the day or night, and my all-time favorite donut shop. I’ve been lucky to have a close relationship to the donut store for many years and will never turn down an invitation to go there. Sometimes when I’m alone, I have to stay away because the force of my love is so great I could self-destruct. So after fighting with myself back and forth deciding to go or not to go today – I rationalized to buy their fancy donuts that don’t come in the regular dozen pricing so I wouldn’t go nuts and eat a dozen donuts as soon as I got home.

Mighty Fine’s Fritters are delicious. They contain the balance of crispy outsides and sticky insides that all glazed confections should encompass. I chose the Strawberry Fritter this morning and was served by a friendly lady who shared some of her baby stories with me ❤ I left feeling happy and ready to EAT. I had the shakes when I finally got home and opened the bag. The fritter had the taste of what I was craving in my head. The outside had the fried crunch and glaze that was fresh and flavorful. The dough was fluffy inside with cinnamon (?) swirl throughout so it was not short on taste and never was a flat one-note donut. There was a pink tinge but overall I didn’t detect a lot of strawberry flavor. I didn’t care. It was so good.

THE BREAKDOWN: Strawberry Fritter

Store: Mighty Fine Donuts – Here’s their Facebook

Address: 2612 Parade St, Erie, PA 16504

Cost: $1.35 (I think :*)

What they want to highlight: They make good donuts.

What I thought was the highlight: Their display. ***GLORIOUS***

Rating out of 5 stars: 4.0 – It was exactly what I wanted, but didn’t really feel the strawberry connection, but also did not care.

Would I buy it again?: Yes, definitely when I need to buy a one-off donut and I’m not hoarding a whole dozen.

What could make it better?: To change the name to just fritter?

Leave a comment about Mighty Fine the Mighty Finest BELOW. Please 🙂 Ask me anything about them. If I don’t know I’ll try to find out. Hope you get some Mighty Fine soon!

Pre donut glory. My Presque Isle walk and Lighthouse visit got me HYPED!

IMG_0383.JPGI’ve seen better pictures of this storefront taken by accident. Still needed to show the Mighty Fine sign despite my poor skills.

IMG_0388IMG_0390Man, my photography was on point this morning! lol But really, the donuts still look amazing. A testament to their perfection.

The Strawberry Fritter ❤ Mighty Fine Goodness.