Donuts are still one of the food items that’s have been on the rise. When just a few years ago the local donut shop was starting to disappear from a lot of areas, there’s been a distinct turnaround, and a lot of areas are opening local donuts stores featuring good quality donuts (you can see a list of other places I’ve reviewed here), and the gamut runs everywhere from, well, plain everyday donuts, to elaborate confections like the bacon donut from Dynamo Donuts. Indeed, on a recent trip to Portland, Maine, we discovered a Portland favorite: The Holy Donut.
For the last stop on our food tour, they took us to Leonard’s Bakery, a modestly-sized bakery located in the Kaimuki neighborhood, not to far from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with their gleaming sign advertising malasadas and pão doce. The destination wasn’t particularly a surprise, since I’m pretty sure that Leonard’s Bakery was far and away the most-recommended place on Oahu, with literally dozens of people telling me that I had to go to Leonard’s and order a malasada.
But I’m sure quite a few of you are now asking “what’s a malasada?” Well, as I mentioned, Hawaii is quite the culinary melting pot, and that influence includes Portuguese cuisine (a large number of Portuguese workers came to Hawaii from the Azores in the late 19th century to work on the sugar cane plantations). This immigration added several major items to Hawaiian cuisine, including Portuguese sausage (available at most breakfast places in Hawaii, and also widely available as a choice in a standard plate lunch), pão doce (Portuguese sweet rolls, kind of like a sweet dinner roll), and the malasada. The malasada is basically a Portuguese donut: a nominally egg-sized lump of dough is fried up and, in its most basic form, served up rolled in granulated sugar. It’s one of the classics of Hawaiian cuisine (indeed, the wedding we attended had fresh malasadas at the reception), and it’s a dessert widely available across the state. And, as I mentioned above, most anyone’s list for “Best Malasada” has Leonard’s near the top of the list.
On our last full day in Cleveland, we wanted to get some breakfast before doing our daily exploring, and, quite frankly, we wanted donuts. The problem is, it’s rather hard to find good donuts these days… sure, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on damn near ever corner, but those aren’t really good donuts (especially since the vast majority of DD locations don’t bake on-site anymore, just truck in their donuts from a regional bakery). I actually remember a time when there were a lot of independent donut shops selling donuts and coffee, but these days you usually have to do a little bit of research to find the few remaining ones. One of those is Becker’s Donuts.
On the last day of our visit to Ireland, I had a spare hour in my schedule, so I decided to walk up from Temple Bar to Lower O’Connell Street to check out the An Post Museum (central location of the 1916 Easter Rising) and the fairly new Spire of Dublin. Neither of which really impressed me much; the An Post museum is more of a “room” than a “museum” (although it is neat to see gunshots and mortar damage to the building outside), and the Spire is basically a giant steel toothpick that’s already showing a bit of corrosion. But on the way back down to my hotel in Temple Bar, about a block south of An Post, I noticed the smell of…. fresh donuts.
Well, after our wonderful meal from Odd Duck, the trailer court on South Lamar still had more to offer. Next door to Odd Duck is a shiny Streamline trailer sporting a logo for “Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts”. Gourdough’s is well-respected in the in Austin area as a donut vendor (500+ reviews on Yelp, average rating 4.5!), serving up some deliciously crispy and fresh donuts with some very intriguing toppings and fillings.