Posts Tagged ‘Huge’


Friday, June 18th, 2010

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When I first thought of coming to Austin, it was for a mere vacation getaway and nothing more. It was not intended to be a grand culinary getaway and there was no particular destination eatery that I had intended upon delving into (well, except *some* form of barbecue). But then I learned about Gourdoughs. This was going to be THE fried dough destination for the Ho and it was a slight disappointment to discover they were not open in the afternoon, during my first attempted visit. Apparently Gourdoughs is becoming so famous that even Tony Bordain stopped by a week or so before me.

No matter. Going back was not a problem and in the early evening, a crowd was already starting to form. Located within a converted Airstream trailer on one of the more manicured and stylized corner lots where these trailers seem to be situated, we debated the extensive menu for the ultimate fried dough experience. I peered inside the trailer and saw two young guys, working hard over the frying vats, pulling out monstrously-sized raw doughnuts.

There was a significant debate on what flavors to order as the menu is extensive and bizarre. It was a given that the savory offerings had to be ordered; both the Mother Clucker, a giant doughnut topped with sliced fried chicken strips and honey butter and the Flying Pig, the doughnut with maple syrup icing topped with crisply-fried and curled bacon. Unlike Voodoo Donuts maple bacon bar, where the bacon is lied across the bar in limp, cold strips, here the bacon is almost a decorative flower of ribbons, perched atop the offering, almost precariously, just stuck in with the maple syrup acting as a glue.

Of the two savory doughnuts, the Flying Pig was the clear favorite. The amount of grease used to fry the chicken strips in the Mother Clucker was too prevalent and I was only able to taste hot grease and barely any of the subtle honey butter flavor. But I could see how this doughnut would be favored by college kids with its ample protein and sugar combination. But the Flying Pig, on the other hand, was well-balanced and perfectly fried. Not too much grease or residual oil and delightfully crispy bacon.

Initially, we decided upon two sweet versions of the Gourdoughs doughnuts, Son of a Peach with peach filling, cinnamon, and sugar and cake mix topping as well as the Dirty Berry, a classic doughnut with chocolate icing and grilled strawberries. As I was ordering, I asked the guy if there was anything truly exceptional that I was missing. He heartily recommended Granny’s Pie with caramel, pecans, bananas, and chunks of graham crackers.

Quite frankly, outside of the novelty factor of these doughnuts, I was not that impressed. Don’t get me wrong, at the time I was more than giddy at their opulent size, variety of toppings, and shear ingenuity of thought. But were they truly great tasting? Not really. I found them overly sweet and complicated. The peach especially was so sickly sweet as to be inedible for me. Of the three sweet ones, I did enjoy Granny’s Pie the best as the caramel was of exceptional quality and I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the crunchy nuts and graham crackers with the soft dough and bananas. But a mere bite or two sufficed. The toppings themselves obscured the quality of the fried dough itself.

If I lived in Austin, I am confident I would enjoy these as the culmination of a date; something to go and share with someone for fun and levity, with no intention of ever finishing one. There is too much of a reminder of fried candy bars or Twinkies at state fairs. Yes, one can do such a thing for the novelty, but it is hardly something one would want to eat often and being the Ho that I am, I am more intrigued with offerings that wouldn’t give me a coronary. It was definitely the most over-the-top and memorable Fried Dough experience I have had and for that, I am thrilled. But do I feel the need to do it again? Not really.
1219 South Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704

Gourdough's on Urbanspoon

Hopkins Street Bakery – Jelly Doughnut

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

I had heard about the gargantuan size of the Hopkins Street Bakery doughnuts for some time. An evening meeting in Berkeley inspired me to BART over a few hours early for the mile-and-a-half jaunt from the station. It was a beautiful day with early spring flowers in bloom along the Arts-and-Crafts suburbia I walked through, proud of myself for getting in a *little* exercise (secretly justifying what I was about to do to my body and knowing damn well that the walk was not going to counter the doughy goodness I was anticipating).

As I came from a back entrance, walking by Monterey Foods, there was a distinct aroma of maple in the air. It was a warm, inviting, baker’s maple that briefly made me disband my desire for a jelly doughnut. I turned the corner and saw the purple door and my heart skipped a beat. I was slightly disappointed when I entered — because I had brought a book and was hoping to settle in and comfortably enjoy my treat — only to learn this was a very small store-front bakery with no tables or chairs. Not a full doughnut shop, the glass cases were full of cinnamon morning buns that looked intensely inviting, classic French pastries, racks of bread loaves, and meringues. But sitting on top of the counter, was a giant cookie sheet topped with jam-oozing, white striped monstrous jelly doughnuts.

I grabbed my treat and a carton of milk and wandered outside. Even the adjoining Pizza Parlor’s wooden benches were full, so I settled comfortably enough on the curb under a flowering tree with a light breeze on the back of my neck. More than 5″ across, this doughnut also has height and girth, puffy and inviting, the first bite provided the much-desired, classic jelly doughnut flavor; granulated sugar coating my fingertips and raspberry jam dripping off the corner of my chin, I was in true doughnut heaven. There was a lot of cake to the doughnut, yes. It took several bites to get to the full river of redness, but it is not a journey one would complain about. My only complaint — and this is entirely my fault — is that I couldn’t get to the bakery until well after 4:00 in the afternoon, so I know I was experiencing a level of minor staleness which could easily be rectified with an earlier visit. Now I have to try and get to Berkeley in the morning, this is definitely worthy of a second try; maybe warm from the oven next time!

1584 Hopkins St
(between California St & Mcgee Ave)
Berkeley, CA 94707
Neighborhood: North Berkeley
(510) 526-8188

Hopkins Street Bakery on Urbanspoon