(Alex's individual results and observations -- see the main Doughnut Quest 2010 post for more details.)
Top Five (Doughnut Index)
1) Vanilla Glazed Blackberry Jelly, Doughnut Plant (95)
2) Creme Brulee, Doughnut Plant (91)
3) Glazed, Cupcake Cafe (89)
4) Raspberry-Filled, Trois Pommes (87)
5) Vanilla Glazed, Doughnut Plant (83)
Because we were in New York City, I thought all of the doughnut shops would be very hoity-toity, high-quality bakeries focused solely on doughnuts. This was not the case.
In fact, there was a very clear delineation between the two types of shops we went to. First, there were the traditional, diner-esque doughnut shops with Formica countertops and grubby environs that made almost exclusively doughnuts and fried egg sandwiches. And, second, there were the very fancy, very well-decorated bakeries that served quiches and focaccia bread and wonderful-looking tarts – which also happened to specialize in a bourgeois-type version of a doughnut.
Upon realizing this, I thought I’d enjoy each establishment for different characteristics. But I didn’t, really. Simply put, the regular doughnut shops made inferior doughnuts – not that some weren’t good, but they were never anything transcendent or original. It was more, “Oh, yeah, that’s a pretty good doughnut.” On the other hand, the high-end places were stimulating in their environs and the additional care that went into each aspect of the doughnut was obvious – you’d get a transformative and exciting eating experience. So I preferred those.
The only establishment that didn’t fit this mold was Doughnut Plant, which had a more down-to-earth environment and which served solely doughnuts, but which put an unbelievable amount of care into each doughnut, used top-shelf ingredients, and had an incredible range and variety. It was the hands-down winner.
It’s not that someplace like Sullivan Street Bakery or Trois Pommes couldn’t give Doughnut Plant a run for its money – if they made four or five different types of doughnuts and worked really hard to perfect them, they could. But that wasn’t their mission, and besides, Doughnut Plant has a patent (literally) on square-shaped (with hole in middle) jelly-filled doughnuts, where the jelly-distribution is perfectly even around the whole doughnut and where the dough itself is uncompromised by its proximity to the uncooked jelly. I mean, god, do you know how hard that is?
So I can’t really blame anyone for not wanting to compete – Doughnut Plant is the unquestioned (and well-deserved) king in this realm.