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Feb 18, 2012 05:10 PM

Cartems Donuterie - Anyone tried yet?

Went there on Friday to get some doughnut deliciousness but they were sold out! A very popular place - their pop-up shop is at 408 Carrall.

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  1. Never heard of them, but ....... YES ! Finally a designer decadent donuterie in Vancouver :-D

    We go to Rocket everytime we're in B-ham. Well, as often as my wife allows me anyway :-/

    Their bacon maple is to die for.

    23 Replies
    1. re: LotusRapper

      The premium donut craze has finally hit Vancouver (and dare I say at a strategically optimal location a couple of blocks from the police station). Shades of Portlandia in the DTES.

      There are more donuteries (donuttieres?) looming on the horizon.

      1. re: fmed

        Hmmm, you sound like you *really* want to tell us more, Fmed .......... ;-)

        On a serious note, the only place I go for donuts in town is Duffin's. As far as I'm concerned, Timmy's is about as bad as McD's in terms of quality and value. I just want an all-donut spot where I can get old-fashioned (and some not so old) cake and yeast donuts, plus lots of classic cups of joe :-)

        1. re: LotusRapper

          I like Duffin's too but would definitely prefer a more "gourmet" option. I've heard the lavender doughnuts at Little Mountain Coffee Co on Main are worthy but haven't tried them yet. Nice find, Kentan! About what time did you go on Friday? I'd love to check them out but would be so sad to find they had sold out.

          They appear to have a location on Commercial as well, both of which you can pre-order from. Love the bike delivery idea (shades of Farina) but I doubt I'm in the catchment area. I couldn't get that widget to work on their website.

          1. re: grayelf

            The Commercial Dr location is actually a shared commissary (Woodland Smokehouse - run by the Cobre/Peckinpah folks) where they actually make the donuts. Would that imply that the product might be freshest if purchased there?

            1. re: fmed

              I think you can only pick up there if you've preordered, or at least that's what I'm getting from the website. I guess they would be freshest there if that's the source :-). Could be dangerous for you to have this in your hood, even if preordering is necessary!

              1. re: grayelf

                Haha. Yep. I actually popped in to WS&C a couple of days ago to have a look. I think it has great potential as a sort of centralized artisanal cook-works of sorts as they can act as a storefront for all who use the commissary.

                1. re: fmed

                  WS&C now has them for sale without pre-ordering. So I finally tried one. I got the cinnamon sugar donut. I must say the cinnamon sugar coating was nice without being overly sweet. The top part of the donut was nice and airy. But the bottom was a layer of grease. The bottom few millimeters were pure grease, as if the donut had been sitting in a pool of oil. Perhaps I caught them on a bad day. Perhaps the donut had been sitting around not being store correctly. Perhaps it was just a $3 donut that is overly greasy on the bottom?

                  1. re: YVRChow

                    Finally made it down there recently. It was just after 1pm and they still had quite a few types, save the Triple Chocolate Threat. Oh well, can't win 'em all. So I got the cinnamon sugar and the maple bacon bourbon. Cinnamon sugar was melt-in-your-mouth, so much so that after a few "inhales" it was gone like vaporware. If I could nit-pick, a bit more cinnamon flavour would be nice, but otherwise it rocked. I give it 9/10.

                    The maple bacon bourbon was HIGHLY anticipated, as I wanted to compare it to Rocket Donut's version. And perhaps that was why I felt a bit disappointed. It was too sweet for my taste, the dough was a bit "moist" in the middle, and the bacon bits ….. not enough and overpowered by the maple bourbon glaze. Also the bacon bits themselves tasted sweet, as if they've been candied or something. I was merely hoping for a salty, strong-smoked flavour to juxtapose the rest of the donut. So in that respect, I'd rate the MBB I got a 6/10.

              2. re: fmed

                Hey fmed, we make the donuts fresh each morning for each spot individually. Once we cook and glaze our donuts, we whip them down to gastown by car and load up the shop and bike. We then do a second batch for the gastown location and the bike. the gastown spot is only a pop-up spot that we've agreed to for six months. we want a permanent location, but it's just really hard to find an affordable space and also purchase all the equipment in the beginning. we're looking though...

                1. re: Cartems

                  I will have to check it out soon. I think I'll stick close to home and just pick up at the commissary. What are the optimal times for ordering and pickup?

                  1. re: fmed

                    If you swing by the commissary around 8am you'll get them fresh. If you make the order online for pickup at or around that time, that would be best fmed. And if there's a particular donut that you don't see on the online menu but have heard about, we can usually make it for you. For instance, last week we did a maple bourbon glazed donut that people seemed to really enjoy. Hope that helps.

              3. re: grayelf

                grayelf - I was there at about 1pm. I think they weren't expecting such a rush in their first week. The had coverage in the G&M on yesterday too:

                An undersung doughnut shop in the Lower Mainland is Harmony Donut Shop in North Van on Lonsdale just north of Hwy 1. Reminds me very much of the doughnuts my mom used to make in her deep fryer at home - nothing fancy but very tasty.

                A food blogger reviews it here:

                1. re: grayelf

                  Yes, Little Mountain Coffee House is serving up Ethical Bean donuts. My two favourites are the lavender and chocolate toffee - priced at a very reasonable $1 per donut. They are organic "fairtrade" by the way.

                  1. re: YVRChow

                    I believe it was your tip that got LMCH on my radar, YVRChow! I've been spending a bit more time in that area but haven't made it in yet. I believe they have goodish croissants as well but not on Sunday?

                    1. re: YVRChow

                      thanks YVR...refreshing to see sane prices here in Van, will have to check out Little Mountain.

                      1. re: 1newyorkguy

                        Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Ethical Bean has stopped making these doughnuts. I tried to get some a month or so ago and no dice.

                        1. re: grayelf

                          WWHHHAAAATTTT? Why? Any backstory on that?

                          1. re: YVRChow

                            I emailed Ethical and they basically said they couldn't keep making them organic for the money they were charging so they opted to stop. The day we went to Little Mountain we tried a number of the other pastries on offer and none were particularly salutary.

                    2. re: grayelf

                      Little Mountain Coffee's unique croissanty-cinnamon roll is heavenly good ......

                  2. re: fmed

                    Let's hope that those who jump on the gourmet/artisan/designer donut wagon (just like the recent and ongoing surge in quality pizzarias) get it right from the inside out!

                    Portland's Voodoo Donuts for instance are all about the weird and wonderful toppings but the actual donut itself is mediocre at best.

                    At this point Lee's still have the quality edge in the old school donut department, despite losing ground when they were forced to change frying oil by the health police.

                    1. re: eatrustic

                      Ah, that's what happened to Lee's, sigh. I should have guessed. They are still one of the better options but a shadow of their former selves.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        I was nearby this afternoon and thought about donuts but 2 Portuguese Egg Tarts for $2.89 taxes in @ T&T won out.

                      2. re: eatrustic

                        I am with you - the base doughnut quality must come first. I thought Voodoo was a waste of time and money.

                        Too bad about Lee's but they are still a good option and the location is handy for me.

                  3. we just experienced top pot in seattle so if you're going south for the wkd, it's kind of worth it in terms of adventure and calories. It's an interesting building just beyond the Westin (under the monorail line) --- they have both yeast and cake style. The boston cream is my fav, (which i usually have at Timmies but sorry the roll-up to win version does not even begin to compare) - and the price was pretty ok.

                    what i esp liked and agree with prev poster(s) is that the Top Pot donut "meat" was delicious and mouth-feelingly good on its own -- then add the icing and sprinkles etc. Top Pot works.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Georgia Strait

                      Hope we're not hijacking the title here but this may as well be all about donuts!

                      Top Pot is a pretty cool place on it's own - especially when you're on the way to Palace Kitchen! Like but don't love their donuts.

                      Now I'm hearing Lucky's Donuts from 49th Parallel will soon pull the wraps off their new store on Main St. They've been working on their recipes since before Cartem's got rolling so it should be a very interesting showdown for hipster fried dough supremacy this summer!

                      1. re: eatrustic

                        you're right about derailing but i figure that many of us are Cascadian eaters as opposed to one city only and indulge our do-nuttiness on both sides of the 49th.... (it would be interesting if CH had a "cascadia" category because i think many of us here do travel the north south Cascadia corridor --- kind of ironic to think that it was pork that played a big part in creating that border anyway. : )
                        .... the BC-colonial Brit soldiers took down the American wandering pig on one of the islands in the archipeligo that some of us call "gulf" and our kind neighbors call "san juan"

                        ps - i think somewhere above another poster mentioned PDX (portland) donuts - interestingly our PDX friends are convinced that the northern donuts at T-pot in SEA are better. They drive north for them.

                        late edit - apparently it was the American settler who took down the british colonial pig - i hope they at the least roasted him up - the things we learn on chowhound ; ) Thx LR (below)

                        1. re: Georgia Strait

                          I thought Rocket Donuts (downtown B-ham) is pretty darned good:


                          Ah yes, that lil' swine made a whole mess of the 49th P !