Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One Bite: the old-fashioned Do-Rite doughnut

Posted By on 05.02.12 at 10:30 AM

For drugs week: a potent, mind-altering substance.
  • Asher Klein
  • For Drugs Week: a potent, mind-altering substance.
A year ago, still a lowly intern, I was given a chance to review the doughnuts at the trendy Doughnut Vault—for the price of getting up early to wait in its perpetual line. People swear by the Vault's doughnuts and wanted to make sure they could get their half dozen before the small bakery sold out. The testimony of my line mates wasn't the first I'd heard about the transcendental qualities of doughnuts (which apparently stretch to spelling) but as I bit into the ones I picked up that morning, it occurred to me that I'd never had a life-changing doughnut—present company included.

I'm happy to say that's no longer the case, courtesy of a concept imported from southern California, where the doughnut is a regional totem like hot dogs in Chicago and pizza in New York and doughnut shops come a dime a dozen. This February, Lettuce Entertain You vets Jeff Mahin (of LA joint Stella Rossa Pizza Bar) and Francis Brennan (late of L20) started Do-Rite Donuts (50 W. Randolph), an unassuming storefront in the Loop with none of the Prohibition-era sexiness of the aforementioned Vault and, at least in my experience, none of the wait. There I ordered the old-fashioned—the rustic, cakey variety Krispy Kreme never told you about—and when I regained my senses, it had me texting my girlfriend three-letter words ("OMG," "nom"), such was the depth of its bright vanilla and the length of its crunch. Beyond semantics, this doughnut exercised a stronger hold on me: I meant to save at least half for someone at the office but my hand and mouth didn't seem to register my mind's protestations. I had another good bite at Do-Rite with the Boston cream, whose rich chocolate ganache and subtle, almost banana-flavored cream filling reverses that pastry's old and eggy formula. There's plenty to improve on, like the really salty glazed doughnut and the bacon-maple glaze that tastes like it was made for a lumberjack, too much beef jerky and no dough. It's pricey too, at $32 per dozen. But happily I can get another old-fashioned for just over $2, and I won't have to arrive at 8 AM—according to Do-Rite's Twitter feed, the place tends to run out at around 2 PM.

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