Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Donut Doughdown

A “doughdown” is a showdown, head-to-head, but with alliteration. It’s a good way to occupy oneself on a Saturday morning and a better way to cripple any activity planned for the afternoon.

I first rode my bike to Dunaway Books on South Grand Boulevard, the only great used bookshop I’ve found in St. Louis (so far!). I almost bought the largest unabridged dictionary I had ever seen, but couldn’t justify transporting its immense weight, what with the existence of the Internet, which isn’t as charming on my coffee table.

I rode from there to an antique furniture store, bought nothing and continued hampering traffic down Chippewa Street. Just past the Bancroft Avenue intersection stands the Donut Drive-In. The named confused me at first because it got me thinking drive-thru, but it might as well be called “Donut Park and Get Out of Your Car.”

I leaned my bike against a window without locking it so that I could run outside just in time to see it peddled away.

“Do you have a signature donut?” I asked.

“No,” the woman said.

“I’ll take a glazed.”

In a head-to-head doughdown, it’s better to eliminate complicating variables like sprinkles and custard. That doesn’t mean it was easy to pass up the seasonal varieties at their peak.

Like its unrevealed competitor, Donut Drive-In offers no seating and does its donut making where anyone can see. A single donut costs fifty-nine cents. I took mine outside and sat on the sidewalk.

Before the first bite, I was experiencing buyer’s remorse. Who orders glazed? I wanted a Long John with orange frosting, but I ate my donut anyway, and it was really good. Very moist, glazey.

I mounted my bike, put on my dumb helmet and rode up Kingshighway Boulevard to Vandeventer Avenue, where I met the challenger.

Or maybe World’s Fair Donuts is the incumbent. The shop opened in the seventies, but its name, employees and indiscernible pun seem like allusions to an age long passed.

World’s Fair has a superior atmosphere, with less boxes threatening to topple on its customers. It also opens at four o’clock in the morning, which probably solidifies its credibility with patrons of the Casino Queen, “Home of the Loosest Slots.”

Again, I took my donut to the parking lot. A World’s Fair glazed donut costs seven cents less, but it’s a good inch smaller in diameter than its Drive-In counterpart and has a bigger hole. I tried to suppress my American lust for quantity and conduct my assessment on the basis of texture, flavor and density.

The World’s Fair donut pretty much lost in every category. It was sweeter and firmer and emptier, but still a good donut. What a great breakfast.

The real doughdown took place on the 1.6 mile ride home as the glaze seemed to harden in my bloodstream.

If others would like to share their own doughdown experiences, we at Middled would to love to share in them. Thank you.


Emma said...

Best donuts ever are found at Voodoo Donut in Portland, OR. Hands down. Not even close.

Molly said...

I only eat cake donuts. Dusted with granulated sugar and cinnamon. When else do we get to have sweet, gritty lips?

Where I Ate Donuts in the Midwest:

Sweetwater's Donuts: Kalamazoo, MI
Presti's Donuts: Cleveland, OH
Koppa's Full-Belly Deli*: Milwaukee, WI
World's Fair Donuts: St. Louis, MO

Where I Eat Donuts on the East Coast:

Moose Island General Store**: Eastport, ME

*Do paczkis count as doughnuts? And is eating them once per year--Fat Tuesday in a Lent-crazy city--really eating them?
**Is it still a guilty pleasure when all 1200 residents of the town know how many mollasses cake donuts you've consumed in a week?

shannon* said...

I finally made it to World's Fair. I was really happy that I got a coffee and a giant cinnamon roll for under 2 bucks. What a treat in today's economy!
I also really liked the pastry-slinger's beehive hairdo, and the vintage cash register!
Doughdown aside, World's Fair brightened my morning.

Card-Carrying Brickhugger said...

The key to World's fair donuts is to get there at 4am and get the day-old donuts, which are something like 25 cents apiece. Sure they're not fresh, but at that price are you really complaining?

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