I went last Saturday to find out where the best donuts are in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. It was a donut crawl organized by Nicole Taylor, from Hot Grease on the Heritage Radio Network via Twitter, where I've met most of my favorite food-working and food-loving people. It was perfect timing coming on the heels of the New York Times Dining Section's round-up of doughnut shops around NYC. The slide show alone was enough to make even the most diligent dieter reconsider a ban on fried, glazed dough as an acceptable breakfast. We hit up some of the highlights in the Times' article, but also several more. All in all four official stops with a fifth stop for a much needed salty brunch at a restaurant that also happened to offer homemade maple-dipped doughnut bites with crumbled bacon on top. Life's tough.
I highly recommend you and at least 2 friends take this tour, especially if you pride yourself on being able to eat a lot of doughnuts. It was harder than I had imagined. Even with sharing in an effort to maximize the flavors you could sample while saving room for the next stop, a sugar coma loomed near. We took the train between each shop which helped a little bit to work up an appetite on the way to the next one. Here's a few photos (they get blurrier at the later stops, I'll blame it on the sugar) from each of the four doughnut shops on our tour.
If I had to pick favorites, I'd be torn as they were all so different. I loved loved Dough, our first stop, both because the doughnuts are gorgeous visually, and wonderfully dough-y, the way I like my doughnuts. The second stop, Peter Pan, which I have gone to numerous times, wins for old-school ambience hands down. I love that this place still exists, even if the cake donuts and crullers are more my Grandpa's thing. The third stop, Doughnut Plant would win the award for novelty and probably have to tie with Dough for flavor. These things are seriously delicious. Lastly, Babycakes would win the award for coolest place to take an out-of town guest (or obviously someone who's vegan). It's on a hip street, the inside has a cutesy-retro vibe, and even the clientele are too cool. While we stood there was mostly fashionista/model types (i wonder if they think gluten-free means low-fat?) and one super cool old lady in a turban sitting and eating her gluten-free, vegan treat.
Sorry, I guess you'll have to go to all 4 of them. And, if you find yourself in Williamsburg, give me a call and we can grab brunch at the 5th spot, Traif, where we'll definitely order maple-bacon doughnuts to start the day. Big thanks to Nicole for organizing and Adrian Franks for making the poster.
The #DiscoverDonuts Tweetup Itinerary Dough - 305 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205 Peter Pan Donut & Pastry - 727 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222 Doughnut Plant - 379 Grand Street, NY, NY 10002 Babycakes - 248 Broome Street, NY, NY 10002 Traif - 229 S. 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211