Warning: a visit to the Doughnut Plant may result in temporary euphoria.
This is the thing I love about being a foodie in New York City – just when you think something delicious can't be made to be even MORE delicious, someone does it. Enter Doughnut Plant. It's not anything outrageously over the top – no "infusions" or "elixirs" here – fortunately they've kept things fairly simple with high quality ingredients, a few creative ideas and a liberal dose of sugar.
I have been hearing about this Peanut Butter & Jam doughnut for quite some time now, and as most of you know, peanut butter is a HUGE weakness of mine. So is jam. Oh and so are doughnuts. Can we say trifecta of taste?! I wanted this thing so bad I could taste it. Too bad when I arrived at 1 PM on a Saturday, they were already sold out. www.sadtrombone.com. I was crestfallen. The dude behind the counter offered me some other doughnuts that "are just as good" and "have won awards". Really? Awards for a doughnut? Jesus Christ. "Fine," I told him, "I'll take all of them." Silence, followed by staring. "Oh, um, yea sure." He stutters, looking confused. I'm sorry – was that judgement? You told me you're sold out of the ONE thing I traveled to another borough for and then you rattle off five other doughnuts that are supposed to make up for the peanut butter and jam deficit? Believe me I'm taking them all. Punk. Would I have gotten that many if the PB&J doughnut had been available?? Eh. Probably..
Tres Leches, Pistachio, Oatmeal, and I snagged the last Creme Brulee and Coconut (above). They announced that to the entire line too – I was afraid I was going to need bodyguards to escort me out with my bag of doughnuts. The faces on that line were bordering on hostile. Whatever, that was me merely moments ago when they told me they were sold out of the PB&J. They'll get over it. So I got my giant bag of doughnuts, sat down by the window and started taking some bites. I must have looked insane eating 4-5 doughnuts by myself. Granted I didn't eat all of them right then and there, I waited until I got home. I'm a lady.
I know you're wondering about the award winning doughnut, that would be the Creme Brulee and I can see why. It's sweet, it's sexy, and it's sugary. Small, round, with a burnt-sugar crust on the outside (just like real creme brulee) and a vanilla bean-flecked custard on the inside makes this doughnut more like a dessert. In fact I think calling it a doughnut is a little disrespectful.
My second bite went directly into the Oatmeal doughnut. So fresh and nutty, this was a cakey doughnut, with bits of dried fruit and nuts inside, glazed with icing and crisp, sugary oats. It was definitely the most texturally appealing, in my opinion, but the taste was also just wonderful. It was like breakfast made naughty.
I didn't have a "least favorite" by ANY means. They were all good, but those two were my favorites. The square Coconut doughnut was a little like sugar shock; fluffy, glazed with shredded coconut and filled with a coconut cream. Again, I am not complaining, I'm just saying it was a little one dimensional in comparison to some of the others. Do you want to know what Tres Leches means? MOIST DOUGHNUT HEAVEN. Well…more or less. Tres Leches is a Mexican sponge-cake made with "three milks" to make it extra moist: heavy cream, evaporated milk, and condensed milk. As you can probably imagine, this is the doughnut version. One bite and you will see why skim milk has no place in that lineup.
Pistachios are one of my favorite nuts, yet I used to hate them in desserts. The thought of pistachio ice cream used to make me gag. Now, if you put pistachio gelato in front of me I'll devour it. I also had baklava made with pistachios instead of the traditional walnuts and it was delicious. Not sure how that happened but if Doughnut Plant was around in the 90's I'd be inclined to blame them. The pistachio doughnut doesn't really taste like pistachios, despite the fact that they're used in the way we would normally use sprinkles. Definitely a solid sweet treat, but nothing beats the Creme Brulee or the Oatmeal. Oh wait. Maybe the PB&J does, but I wouldn't know..
I'm totally over it.
I will be BACK Doughnut Plant!
379 Grand Street
222 West 23rd Street in the Chelsea Hotel
Open Tues-Sun, 6:30 AM until doughnuts are sold out. This can be anywhere from 2 pm – 7 pm apparently…