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Donuts!

I know that there are lists of everyone's favorite donuts - includes Kanes others, in the burbs - but where can I find the best donut in Boston......North End, Waterfront, Downtown, Back Bay, etc.? I'm talking about a real donut, not the stuff they palm off as donuts at Starbucks or Dunkin.......

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  1. I would suggest checking out the Union Square Donuts table at the farmer's market in Dewey Square on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer.

    6 Replies
    1. re: A.A.

      Second for Union Square donuts. I tried them at SOWA this weekend and they were phenomenal--great texture, tasty glaze without being cloyingly sweet, really just perfect.

        1. re: catsmeow

          I believe they are in the Farmer's Market section... Last time I saw them they were on the far side against the edge.

        1. re: A.A.

          I just walked over to the farmer's market in Dewey Square and tried Union Square Donuts. And boy am I glad I did. These are the real deal and despite the limited hours/days, these are easily the best donuts available in Boston proper. I think they would do very well if they could find a small brick and mortar location in or near the Financial District. There simply are no donuts like these available downtown. Thanks for the suggestion A.A.!

            1. re: StriperGuy

              None of which are in Boston, and freshbarry had asked specifically about shops in Boston.

              Unfortunately, there are very few independent donut shops left in Boston - off the top of my head I can only think of Twin Donuts in Allston, Mike's in Mission Hill, and Betty Ann Food Shop in East Boston (closed since May due to family health problems per their FB page.) A number of folks on this board have raved about Betty Ann's donuts, although unfortunately I never made it there myself; I would not send anybody out of their way for either Twin Donuts or Mike's.

              1. re: Allstonian

                Yeah, I wanted for so long for Twin Donuts to be good, because it seems like it should be. But they're just lackluster at best, and they usually taste oily.

                1. re: Allstonian

                  In addition to those two, I would call Doughboy in Southie a proper donut shop. All of these places (Eastie, RX, Southie) are still rather out of bounds for Boston proper. There are just no donut shops in or around downtown. But they're legitimately old-school, if that's what you're looking for. You're going to pay like $3.50 or something at a Farmers Market for Union Square, whereas you'll pay a buck or less at the three aforementioned.

                  I'll add that Flour does fancy donuts on the weekend and Cafe Japonaise has a red bean paste donut that is just awesome.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    Didn't know that about Betty Ann - those were great doughnuts. I do like Union Square quite a bit, especially the cherry hibiscus and caramel ones, though I've only sampled the ones at Dewey Square. Apparently at the shop they have many more varieties, including cake-based and filled ones.

                    1. re: Allstonian

                      What about Anna's in West Rox? Black Raz jelly stick ftw!

                      1. re: JPrime

                        Anna's are OK - the honey glazed are similar in style to a KrispyKreme - very light and melty - without much substance. All of the others have more to them and are better to me -
                        Cork

                  2. You may wish to scan the BOS CH threads for local farms, they'll begin to make cinnamon apple cider donuts soon, yum! now those are real donuts.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: treb

                      But again, they are not in Boston...

                    2. I sympathize with your quest to find a good donut in or near downtown. The only good ones I've ever had were the buttermilk donuts that the Clover Truck had for ONE WEEK when they were promoting their new coffee. It is very good coffee, yes, but the donuts were outstanding...and then they were withdrawn because, as one Clover acolyte said, "We need to serve you HEALTHY food!" If ever there was cause to burn a food truck, that would be it.

                      But I digress. I got nothin' in downtown, the closest is Mirror Cafe in Brighton Center, which is decent and much better than Twin Donut. I'd say Linda's and Ohlin's is better, but Mirror Cafe is quite good. Also Lyndell's in Cambridge, again not quite up to Linda's and Ohlin's, but quite decent, and easier to get to than the quadriumvirate.

                      (incidentally, my main data point is a scientifically conducted donut taste-off we had at work, with a dozen each from Ohlin's, Linda's, Lyndell's and Verna's. It was epic.)

                      18 Replies
                      1. re: LilBrownBat

                        Okay I'll get specific. And I don't care if you are in Pawtucket, in my book a good donut is worth a schlep:

                        Ohlin's: Best plain glazed raised donut. Period. Just amazing. Also best butter crunch I've ever had, period. Just ate a coconut this morning (someone brought them in today) great.
                        Chocolate donut with glaze is just okay. Apple Fritter is amazing and breakfast for two. The rest of the donuts are very good, but not exemplary.

                        Linda's: I like their plain cake, the rest are all very good (WAY better then Dunkin' Donuts cardboard), but no real standouts.

                        Verna's: Glazed chocolate (rich dense moist), Jelly (I don't even like Jelly donuts, but I love these), and their sour cream which I tried recently is just amazing, dense, moist and rich as well.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          StriperGuy, have you tried Ohlin's chocolate frosted with maple drizzle? Just look at my avatar! It's quite yummy. I do agree the plain glazed is awesome and I also like the sugar jelly. And unfortunately I can eat a whole apple fritter without a problem!

                          1. re: Jpan99

                            I like how at Ohlin's the Buttercrunch and coconut are based on raised donuts, and not cake donuts. I would agree that Mirror Cafe's donuts are better than Twin Donuts, though I do have a soft spot for the marble cruller at Twin Donuts (the only one I'll get there).

                            1. re: Jpan99

                              Both the maple and the chocolate maple are very good I agree.

                              Crazy, but it is just a tad too much goo for me, strictly a preference issue and lacking alternatives I would inhale either in a heartbeat.

                              1. re: Jpan99

                                Try the Verna's jelly if you get a chance, the quality of the filling they use is top notch.

                              2. re: StriperGuy

                                Sour cream donuts are fabulous things. Why don't more places have them? If any of y'all ever get out to Greenfield MA, the place to get donuts is Adams Donuts on Federal Street (but be there early). Their sour cream donuts are a real standout.

                              3. re: LilBrownBat

                                Clover had turnip fritters one afternoon this Spring. Hot sweet not too greasy. Delicious. I pretended that they were healthy.

                                1. re: LilBrownBat

                                  Completely forgot about those buttermilk donuts from Clover. Those were actually some of the best donuts I've ever had. I'm going to start campaigning for those to come back every so often.

                                  1. re: FinnFPM

                                    And if they refuse...we burn the food truck. PEOPLE ARE YOU WITH ME???

                                  2. re: LilBrownBat

                                    lbb, do we have to beg to get the unofficial results from that unofficial taste-off?! i do like O's moist and flavorful apple cruller, but i found nada to like at verna's. nada. and i did my homework before we went.(posted afterwards too.)

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      We actually tested by categories: plain cake, glazed, jelly, chocolate frosted, chocolate honey dip, and "wildcard" (one other of any flavor that seemed especially neat). Linda's had a slight edge overall, Ohlin's won in a couple of categories, Verna's won for chocolate honey dip IIRC, and Lyndell's was last but not by much. I liked Lyndell's jelly donut best - I thought it had a nice crunch and the best jelly.

                                        1. re: LilBrownBat

                                          lbb, do you remember who won the cake donut version?

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                            I think Ohlin's. Horrible as it sounds, we trashed the data. You know what that means...

                                            DO-OVER!!!

                                            1. re: LilBrownBat

                                              If you do a do-over please post your results! I'm an Ohlin's fan. Tried Linda's and didn't really like them at all.

                                              1. re: Jpan99

                                                I did have a good cake donut at Linda's a few years ago, but tried again 6 mos. ago and, meh. It's strictly Ohlin's for us now. Really like the blueberry filled donuts at Ohlin's. I've never tried Lyndell's donuts, but we give them a lot of our cake business.

                                                1. re: Chef Bwana

                                                  The blueberry donuts at Ohlin's surprised me. They were shockingly good. I thought they would be more ordinary. Dangitall, I should have gotten some today!

                                      1. re: LilBrownBat

                                        Ya know, folks have been bringing Lyndell's to work and I have been pretty impressed. The cinnamon cake, Boston Cream, and raised glazed have all been top notch.

                                      2. Sportello bakery features Donuts / Cronuts at least once a week - I think you have to check the website or give them a call - they have always been REALLY good when they are serving them - and it's right in Fort Point. They run out so get there early.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: rlh

                                          Great tip. Not sure why I've never explored this. Per their website, this is their Thursday special:

                                          Thursday – donuts – now serving DOSSANTS – the donut/croissant breakfast pastry!

                                          Mayhap I will avail myself of a Hubway and cruise over tomorrow morning.

                                          1. re: FinnFPM

                                            I went at 8:15 yesterday - they were long ago sold out. Not sure if I need them badly enough to get up that early. A colleague of mine from Worcester told me that Sweet Bakery in Worcester has had these years before their "invention" in New York.

                                            1. re: nsenada

                                              I did the same thing. They told me that next week they're going to fry (bake?) them up for 8am instead of 7am, so there's some hope for non-Fort Pointers.

                                            2. re: FinnFPM

                                              I took a trip down to Sportello this morning. It was comically crowded. People seem to start lining up at 7:00 - 7:15am; they go on sale at 8:00am.

                                              There's a four-per-customer maximum and a lot of people were ordering four. I got there at 7:55am and by the time I got to the front there were two left. IMO if that's as many as they're inclined to bake, they should be charging a lot more for them. I think mine was $4 or something.

                                              Anyways, delicious stuff. Today was Boston creme. But I won't be back. Not sufficiently delicious to justify spending all that time in line.

                                              1. re: FinnFPM

                                                Thanks for posting this. I was just in another window Googling around trying to figure out how early to show up next week. Guess I won't show up at all -- I don't make it down to the area until around 9:00.

                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                  Alternately you could pay someone to stay in line for you, like they do in New York.

                                            3. re: rlh

                                              Wait a sec. With all the nyc cronut craziness we are inundated with, there is a cronut knock- off vendor right here in boston and it hasn't had its own thread on CH?! (did i miss something maybe?)

                                              1. re: rlh

                                                Looks like Sportello stopped selling them a few months ago. However, I did find some cronuts (or whatever they call them there) at Crumbs on Federal street. I had a Bavarian creme filled one, and while not fresh out of the grease, it was very good.

                                                1. re: nsenada

                                                  Thanks for the report on that - right near where I work. Any idea whether it's a daily thing?

                                                  As an aside: I saw a "doughnut croissant" for sale in the pastry section at WF (Melrose) last night. Did not try it. I guess said pastry has completely jumped the shark. Or will that be when it shows up prepackaged at 7-11?

                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                    HEB and Central Market stores in Texas have had glazed croissants in their bakeries since at least the early 1990s, so the idea is older than many realize.

                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                      Not sure - next time I'm in I'll ask. They're right around the corner from my office.

                                                2. Donut King in Quincy. Its a short drive from Boston proper and worth it but go early if you truly want a selection. They bake them fresh in the shop. Amazing stuff.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: foxspirit

                                                    I second Donut King. Their donuts are huge, a bit crisp on the outside and fluffy inside and full of flavor. I especially love the jelly donuts and the coconut ones.

                                                    I brought a box to my work a few weeks ago and people were almost fighting over them.

                                                    1. re: foxspirit

                                                      Donut King has some really good donuts, but I think I give O'Briens bakery a little bit of an edge especially for their jelly donuts.

                                                    2. It's a bit of a trip from Boston, but by far the best donuts I've ever had are from Back Door Donuts in Oak Bluffs (on Martha's Vineyard). They are open from 7:30 pm - 1:00 am, selling donuts from the back door of a bakery. They have about a dozen varieties, as well as a simply outstanding apple fritter. All are served warm and fresh from the oven. It's not unusual to go at 10:30 and still have to wait in line 45 minutes. It's worth the wait (and the trip)!

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Bmorse

                                                        Glad you mentioned this spot even though it's on the Vineyard. Visited Back Door Donuts last week for the scrumptious Boston cream doughnut ($1.50) and the luscious Apple Fritter ($4.00 -- easily enough for 2 people). Shining examples of old-school doughnuts done right.

                                                        And that wait in line at night is quite the social scene. Plenty of folks were there for the fritters when I went.

                                                        1. re: tomatotomato

                                                          tomtom, you might also like the famous apple fritters at Ohlin's in Belmont, Large, heavy, very sweet, very old time.it's the only thing i buy there, once every ten years or so, but yumola in a very badforyou way.

                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                            Thanks, OC! I can't resist a classic apple fritter and it sounds like Ohlin's is worth a visit.

                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                              For someone who only ate these Ohlin apple fritters once every ten years before this thread, i have had them 2 wks running now and can only think to blame it on CH. I do think i'm done for awhile though. Since Striper mentioned their cider donuts, i asked about them yesterday but was told they only do them in Oct. Just fyi.

                                                        2. Thanks to all for some great recommendations.....went to SoWa market today and had the Union Square donuts......every bit as good as advertised!

                                                          1. I was hoping to try some Union Square doughnuts today. I thought I could stop by the Farmer's Market on the way to work. The only problem with the Farmer's Market at Dewey Square is that they set up too late--at 8:30AM there was no market yet.

                                                            I'm sorry but I am NOT eating an afternoon doughnut. I have to draw the line somewhere.

                                                            23 Replies
                                                            1. re: Alcachofa

                                                              They are usually set up between 11:00 and 11:15. Hey, it's still am! They are so worth it. So far I have had the salted caramel/bourbon and the vanilla bean. Both excellent.

                                                              1. re: Gordough

                                                                I'm a big fan of the cherry hibiscus

                                                                1. re: Alcachofa

                                                                  Love a great donut - so I popped into Union Sq stand at Dewey Square this afternoon - very friendly service and a really, really good and quite large Bourbon Salted Caramel donut - but $3 each seems pretty darn steep, even for an artisanal product...it's going to get once in a while, special treat status for me (as all donuts probably should....) - next up cherry hibiscus!

                                                                  1. re: rlh

                                                                    Allstonian got one of those from their stand at the Rock n Roll Yard Sale on Sunday and offered me a couple bites. It was okay. The doughnuts we got from Donut King a few days before destroyed it, though. No competition.

                                                                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                      I was there as well and was sad they didn't have cherry hibiscus (by far my favorite). I did get a strawberry one which was good, but not as good.

                                                                      1. re: nsenada

                                                                        We were going to try the donut holes, but they were sold out.

                                                                        I apologize if I unknowingly elbowed you out of the way at any of the LP crates. I get territorial

                                                                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                          We tried the donut holes at the Harvard U market and found them overly chewy and pretty meh. Half of the bag got tossed in the trash on the way home.

                                                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                                                            does that mean you are 'so Over' Union Sq donuts? (I'm looking for any excuse not to pursue them.)

                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                              If that bourbon salted caramel donut was indicative of their wares, their product isn't great. No bourbon to speak of, good-not-great salted caramel glaze, aggressively mediocre donut itself. I'd eat one of their donuts if someone handed it to me, but I wouldn't cross the street to buy one.

                                                                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                whew, now i can put that one to rest. th you.

                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                  I'd definitely recommend union square, at least if you go their location. I can't say its the (main) reason you didn't like yours Jenny, but i will say that the best part of union square's donuts is the insanely fluffy/springy texture they have, and that's a quality i know degrades incredibly quickly. I've only bought their donuts at the shop pretty much at opening, and, picking at leftovers a couple hours later, they become not-special pretty fast.

                                                                                  for some comparisons... i've been a bit on a donut crawl this summer in travel, hitting up doughnut valut and glazed & infused in chicago, doughnut plant in nyc, and gbd and astro doughnuts in washington dc... after all that, i'd say without reservation that, as far as a yeast batter goes, doughnut vault and union square are comparable, and nobody else even comes close.

                                                                                  Which is not to say the final product is necessarily the best: i'm not a fan of all of union square's flavors, and none of them rival some of the more inventive creations like doughnut plants creme brulee donut holes.

                                                                                  For me, union square's best efforts are those where the icing forms a nice hard shell, like the strawberry ,and the vanilla. The chew from the bacon in the maple bacon also does the trick for me, and I'd be really interested to try the bar snack donut for similar reasons. The orange creamsicle and chocolate chipotle especially didn't do it for me- meek flavors, and no textural contrast between top and dough.

                                                                                  And, if you're a cake, not yeast donut, person, then these certainly aren't for you.

                                                                                  But, fresh, I think they're worth the time and effort.

                                                                                  1. re: valcfield

                                                                                    T, where have you been?! Now, yours is a great kind of CH post . So much information that is so helpful for thinking about 'what makes a great donut' and analyzing how various famous ones compare. I am actually a cake donut person (there's this one diner in Bennington VT.......) but retain a curiosity about most things that are bad for you.
                                                                                    Freshness is such a major factor in the world of pastry and baked goods, (and is particularly critical with a few specific items) something we may lose sight of when appraising them.

                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                      just finished up four months in dc (hence the donut trips there), back in cambridge now... haven't had anything to contribute... but i've enjoyed reading about wines by the glass at ribelle, chowhound credentials, and more...

                                                                                      1. re: valcfield

                                                                                        well we were certainly having a typical d.c. summer while you were down there. ughhhh. hope you did some good zaitinya and mini bar trips, and look forw to reading more from you.

                                                                                    2. re: valcfield

                                                                                      Yes, the hazelnut brown butter crunch falls into this category for me. I wasn't impressed with the Boston cream but the rich hazelnuts and sweet glaze were amazing with their chewier product. You need something pretty substantial in both texture and flavor to balance that dough; custards and light flavors don't cut it.

                                                                              2. re: FinnFPM

                                                                                I too thought the donuts were good (excellent, in fact) especially compared to the other donuts available downtown. To those who didn't like them, do you have any suggestions for where to get better donuts downtown for those of us stuck downtown during the work week?

                                                                                1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                  HI KEEP TRYING TO SAY I LIKE THESE DONUTS BUT IT KEEPS GETTING DELETED, LIKELY BECAUSE I AM NOT USING THE SPECIAL MAGIC WORDS, SO MAYBE I CAN JUST SAY THAT I LIKE THESE DONUTS AND IT WON'T GET DELETED

                                                                                  I LIKE THESE DONUTS!!1111!!1

                                                                                  I ESTIMATE THAT I COULD EAT 6.4 BAGS IN ONE WEEK GIVE OR TAKE.

                                                                                2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                  Hah! I apologize for unknowingly having my bass up too loud whilst playing in that little tent.

                                                                            2. re: rlh

                                                                              Yeah, I think I'm going to have to bend the rules for that bourbon caramel donut. Maybe this Thursday.

                                                                              1. re: rlh

                                                                                Tried the cherry hibiscus at noon today - not impressed - will not repeat - very little flavor in both the donut and the icing - next up vanilla bean!

                                                                                1. re: rlh

                                                                                  I really enjoyed the bacon/maple, but the chocolate chipotle was barely either chocolate or chipotle, and the bourbon salted caramel was, as Jenny says, sort of mediocre.

                                                                                  All of their donuts strike me as "nice". Not fabulous, completely dependent on the glaze for any flavor or appeal, and hard to justify the $3-$3.50 cost.

                                                                                  All that said, I'm very happy they're continuing to do well and hope they keep innovating until they have something worth the drive, the parking, and the $3.50.

                                                                                  1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                                    that seems like a really good way to look at it.

                                                                              2. https://www.facebook.com/HBCBeverlyFarms

                                                                                I have never been to this newish Beverly bakery cafe, Half-Baked Cafe, but they show some unusual donut varieties and what look to be some good Mex inspired brkfst and lunch dishes. Anyone tried it?

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                  Yes, I've tried it. It's excellent, small spot, a few tables, some counter seating at the window.

                                                                                  Homemade English muffins, imaginative and tasty doughnuts. I had the Boston Cream, it must have weighed a quarter pound- fresh pastry cream, rich chocolate glaze, and a nice raised doughnut. There wasn't quite the right balance between doughnut and pastry cream, but all in all a winner.

                                                                                  They also make unusual combos- I think when I was there they had pear ginger goat cheese- something like that anyway.

                                                                                  Well worth a visit, nice people too.

                                                                                  1. re: gracenote

                                                                                    I keep being stupid about this, but are 'old fashioned' cake donuts? it looks that way because they offer 'old fashioned glazed" and "Raised and glazed".

                                                                                    ~Hand Cut Donuts~

                                                                                    Old Fashioned - $1.50

                                                                                    plain, glazed, blueberry, cinnamon sugar

                                                                                    Bacon Maple - $2

                                                                                    Chocolate Old Fashioned - $1.50

                                                                                    vanilla glazed, chocolate glazed, coconut

                                                                                    Raised - $1.50

                                                                                    vanilla glazed, chocolate glazed

                                                                                    Raised and filled - $2

                                                                                    beverly cream, vanilla glazed jelly, sugar coated jelly

                                                                                    Seasonal - price varies

                                                                                    I love it that some of their signs say "Glazed and Infused!"

                                                                                2. Just noticed this on the Strip T's dinner menu:
                                                                                  Dinner Desserts:
                                                                                  <sourdough brioche donut 8
                                                                                  (corn, blackberry, lime, basil) >

                                                                                  i'm thinking all those 4 are in the 1 donut. Man, they already had me at Sourdough, but then they had to go and make a great little chamber symphony with those other components!
                                                                                  Hmmmmm <Yes,we're ready to order. I'll have a dozen oysters to start, and then , for my entree, just bring me a dozen donuts> :=}

                                                                                  http://stripts.com/menu/dinner

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                    Well, we actually DID go tonight for dinner.(Obsessive- who me?) And i did order one for dessert. $8 for a donut? well, the reality is that this is hefty enough to be shared by two. In fact I did share it...The 8PM me shared it with the Midnight me.

                                                                                    The brioche was dense, chewy, and had a ' nice hole structure'; the corn pastry cream filling was beautiful- clean, not starchy/pasty, well balanced and just sweet enough. Into the donut's top glaze were set tiny bits of basil leaf and blackberry puree- to punctuate the experience. Just Brilllllliant.

                                                                                    I hear that Jake, pastry chef for ST' s and Ribelle, is currently really into his donut inventions. Well, this certainly was one 'worth-driving-for etc.' donut. The only minus is that you may have to order less dinner than you would have- to make sure that you have room for it.sigh.

                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                      His mint-and-sweet-pea filled brioche donut was certainly something I'd never had before :)

                                                                                  2. Has anyone tried the donuts at the Donut Shack on Westford St. in Lowell? I've driven past it a few times recently and it piqued my interest, then this thread brought it to mind again. It's gotten good reviews on a website That Shall Not Be Named, for fear of the post being deleted.

                                                                                    1. The Gallows Brunch menu has a Twisted Donut w/ diff dipping sauces -$. Wonder what it's like.....

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                        they were also playing around with a cronut knockoff for a while; i wonder if they still are at it? or if that's the same thing?

                                                                                      2. Arlington WF has apparently announced its official date for offering its own cronuts version>> Oct. 1st. Jump back, Jack!

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                          I bought a cronut there the other day. I predict pumpkin, but hope for Moxie.

                                                                                              1. re: bhyde

                                                                                                great! but how were they to eat?. what flavor did you have? you had one the other day means that they have started selling them before oct 1st? or was yours a small trial maybe?

                                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                  I wouldn't buy another. Just another excuse to layer a few nearly indistinguishable sugar slurries together. But maybe I'm just feeling cranky, having noted that paneer is 12$/lb

                                                                                        2. Not in the area you asked about but I want to plug a local business.

                                                                                          Christine's Bakery on Route 4 in Billerica (in the strip of stores just south of Treble Cove Road) makes amazing donuts.

                                                                                          I love their vanilla cream filled and the caramel drizzled.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: garnetmemory

                                                                                            we love Donna's but will most definitely try Christine's. Website is a bit lacking in detail. Tell me more, please!!

                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                hi chef. Went to Christine's this morning after my run. Since I was halfway there, the time was right and a sufficient number of calories had been burned I felt justified. It's in the old Jardek's location, another donut place I learned of on these boards. Four flips later this couple have been in the spot for 16 months.
                                                                                                Kind of a strange experience. Small quantity of donuts, a very few bagels (plain, everything and french toast)muffins of unidentifiable variety and croissants. The menu board shows cookies and bars but none were available. Maybe 2 breakfast sandwiches and coffee. Very limited. I don't know how they sustain the business. Two large and empty bakery cases looked sad and well, empty.

                                                                                                so the donuts.......all these yeast........sliced almond, maple, toffee, caramel, coconut, heath bar, honey dipped. Filled.....vanilla cream and jelly. Cake, my personal preference extremely few which prompted me to ask why. Got a shrug as an answer. chocolate, chocolate chocolate frosted, plain and cinnamon sugar. that's all folks.

                                                                                                got home, cut them into fourths and began tasting. Yeast variety were light and tender and the toffee and caramel glazes were pleasant and subtle. Heath, coconut and almond toppings which looked substantial really didn't add much flavor, more eye candy than flavorful. Surprisingly, the chocolate donut had much greater depth of flavor than any chocolate I've had, leaving me to wonder what chocolate they use. Overall they were tasty but for me, it's a one hit wonder and don't see myself heading that way again, run or no run!

                                                                                                On a business note, the owners were so difficult to engage despite my attempts to give them a chance to promote their product. Lots of one word answers, full stops and dead ends as I asked about their stuff. I was the only one in the place and both owners were sort of rattling around so it's not as if time and attention were in demand.

                                                                                                Also got the corn cookies breakfast sandwich for my sister-- bacon, egg, cheese on "cookies". Dropped it at her work. No report yet.

                                                                                                I wish them well but it looks like a tough sell to me.

                                                                                            1. Now I know why so few cake donuts at Christine's. They apparently haven't gotten to that chapter in Donuts 101. Cinnamon and sugar looked promising because it was actually tossed in real cinnamon and sugar mix not the powdered stuff but consistency was bad, rubbery and dry.

                                                                                              By far, the simple glazed yeast donuts-- toffee and caramel were the best in box. Really sorry not to like this place but it's a no for me. Back to Donna's on the other side of town.

                                                                                              1. For those who might be interested:

                                                                                                There's a donut pop up a week from Sunday (10/20) from 12-6 at Voltage Coffee in Kendall. Details can be found at the twitter account here, twitter.com/DoughnutsCoffee, but cliff notes:

                                                                                                1. donuts made by a combo of people from voltage alongside of the Jm Curley chefs, Chris Bauers, and bartenders, Daren Swisher.

                                                                                                2. Five flavors on offer: grapefruit, lemon, tarragon | coconut palm sugar glazed | apple cider bacon | Mai Tai | Mexican hot chocolate

                                                                                                3. Combo of yeast and cake donuts, though seemed up in the air how many of each/which was which.

                                                                                                And some of my own impressions: Curley has an old-fashioned style donut on their specials menu right now (blue rock candy glazed, breaking bad theme) that i really liked. During the spring they had a yeast donut that was pretty good on its own, but definitely more a vehicle for an excellent combo of foie gras glaze, strawbery rhubarb filling, and basil sugar. It also made for a killer (pun intended) burger bun.

                                                                                                In chatting with Daren about the pop-up, he said Chris worked on the yeast batter quite a bit as the menu went on, so hopefully both the yeast and cake will impress. I'll definitely be on hand to find out...

                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: valcfield

                                                                                                  Well, this sure sounds like fun! Good hounding, valc! and some will be cake style- how cool is that?

                                                                                                  (Man, these JMC chefs seem to work awfully hard . Hope they get some time off for recompense...)

                                                                                                  1. re: valcfield

                                                                                                    Had fun down there today, valc, so th you. Tried all 5 flavors; for us the clear winners were the Cider Bacon and the Tarragon Lemon glazed. We ate them at 2pm and they had been cooked 9-11am. i think that gap might have accounted for the too-dry aspect of all of them.....but this was the first such foray for the chefs, so we'll see how they grow. Fun to see them flexing their inventive brain muscles.

                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                      If they were doing a special "pop up", there should have been fresh product on hand. I think you are giving them a pretty generous pass there. How much were the 5 donuts?

                                                                                                      Our weekend house guests thoroughly enjoyed the dozen donuts brought in from Linda's this am ($10 for the entire dozen).

                                                                                                      1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                        Well, this is their first go at it there and i bet they wanted to have some inventory to open with. (There WAS a steady stream of people that i saw.) They were also frying some fresh there, i believe. $3 @ no worries.

                                                                                                        1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                          I was there too, probably around the same time as OC, had a mexican chocolate donut. Not good. Dry, maybe overfried. Insufficiently dense and overly heavy. Seemed like a good amateur effort. I expect they'll get better if they keep doing it.

                                                                                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                            i think that's a little odd to say if they're in a popup they should be making batches throughout the day... for example when union square does their farmer's markets they aren't cooking them there... you make them in a kitchen and send them off for the day. that seems pretty typical when you have a 1 day stall anywhere, you won't necessarily have access to the space/equipment needed to cook onsite. certainly it would be preferable, but i hardly think that's 'giving them a pass'.

                                                                                                            They were definitely glazing/icing like crazy on site, so they were clearly making an effort things fresh.

                                                                                                            as for the donuts, agree with above- the mexican chocolate was probably the least successful, but i did find some of the other cake donuts, especially the apple cider bacon, to have a pretty solid texture.

                                                                                                            i thought all the glazes were all on point (the tarragon lemon grapefruit especially had some serious bitterness/complexity to it), though in terms of quantity i think they could take a page from union sq who really coat the donuts in frosting to make sure you get a good amount of frosting/flavor in every bite.

                                                                                                            Hope they make another run at it, by no means perfect but a solid effort and they were clearly working hard/having a good time.

                                                                                                            1. re: valcfield

                                                                                                              IMO, If you can't maintain a consistently good product, don't take it on the road (or limit the hours so the donuts are still fresh). This would apply to your Union Square analogy as well, based on my experience with their product from a farmers market (post above).

                                                                                                              1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                                i don't disagree with the notion that people deserve quality, but i think the byproduct of that philosophy is that you would see a lot less experimentation, and the purveyor would miss out on a good opportunity for feedback, not to mention the chance to get used to serving a real crowd and improve.

                                                                                                                I guess the analogy i'd make is its like saying: if your restaurant isn't operating excellently/consistently on day one, don't bother opening. while in a perfect world that would be great, the number of times the term 'shakedown cruise' has come up in this season of openings shows off the fact that's rarely ever the case.

                                                                                                                An extension of your feeling would also be to say we should never back a (food) kickstarter, because we're paying money for a product that hasn't even been developed, so there's no way the maker could be guaranteeing us anything, let alone guaranteeing a consistently excellent product.

                                                                                                                The provider certainly has the responsibility of putting their best foot forward, and accurately representing where they are in their own process (if you're still in beta don't tell us its a finished product), but after that i think there's a personal choice of whether one is willing to 'risk' money to support a new endeavor, and accept/enjoy the fact that part of the cost is not for the product itself but paying for the experimentation, or you want to hold out and only spend money on a proven thing, where your money is correlated to, and only/mostly paying for, the good itself.

                                                                                                                There's nothing wrong with being in the latter camp, but, for those of us who want to, i prefer this world where, increasingly, you don't have to be friends & family in the strictest sense to be able to experience, and provide feedback for, the new projects individuals are tackling. And i suspect, or certainly hope, the end result for individual providers/chefs etc. is better feedback and resulting product, and for the scene is more innovation and more offerings.

                                                                                                          2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                            I tried it too and while the experience was fun, I agree that the donuts themselves weren't great. I thought the cake flavors in particular seemed over-fried - they were a bit dry and tough and had absorbed a lot of extra oil. The yeasted varieties (the tarragon-lemon and another glazed one - coconut?) were better but also a bit too dark and greasy. The mexican chocolate one was just lame all around - barely chocolately, no spice flavors to speak of, and unpleasantly dense.

                                                                                                            But the glazes were excellent - mai-tai very mai-tai-esque and boozy, the maple bacon would be GREAT if the basic donut had been better, and that lemon-tarragon was nicely bitter/sweet. Hopefully fryer-execution and their basic recipes will improve with practice (their tweets during the morning were entertaining but a bit frantic). I don't think it's a matter of frying on-site - a hot donut is best but a good one can certainly have good taste and texture several hours after frying.

                                                                                                        2. had a good cider donut from WF new Lynnfield store this wk.
                                                                                                          Moist and floral flavor; i'd ask for it un-sugared next time.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                            I think the donuts that some WFs have introduced over the last few months are better than most donut places. I like to put the cinnamon or chocolate ones in the toaster oven for a few minutes to give them a nice carmelized coating although they're still good without doing that. This fall, I have yet to get up to Honeypot Orchards for my favorite donut fix. Their cinnamon cider donuts are the best!

                                                                                                            1. re: catsmeow

                                                                                                              that tstr oven sounds like exc idea. do you heat them(on lower rack) or toast them? i'm guessing that toasting would burn them because of proximity to heat source?

                                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                Either way works but I usually toast them because it's faster. I have to keep a close eye on it because 1-2 extra minutes and it starts burning.

                                                                                                          2. Since this popped back up, I'll also add that some of the Dunkin Donuts at T stops (Wellington, Sullivan, and the internet claims Quincy) have been replaced by "Donut & Donuts", and they're FAR superior. They're not go-out-of-your-way special, but they're proper, old-fashioned, inexpensive donuts. Much less sweet, real flavor, etc. The chocolate/vanilla twist stick-shaped cake donut is my personal favorite.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: antimony

                                                                                                              How's the coffee? If the coffee is even 20% better than Dunkin's, I would love this to happen at Alewife.

                                                                                                              1. re: Alcachofa

                                                                                                                Better, but can be less than piping hot at non-rush hours.

                                                                                                            2. Well, this is exciting! Only 2 hours north of here, a day trip really, is the new storefront for the much beloved Holy Donuts in the Old Port section of Portland.(Mostly cake donuts iiuc.) Take a look at the display here! Maybe a weekend jaunt to inspire and feed the passion?:

                                                                                                              http://maine.eater.com/archives/2013/...

                                                                                                              1. My hubby was out doing Xmas shopping and saw ziggy's donuts has opened an outpost in Peabody (no, he didn't stop in!). I haven't been to their Salem shop in years. Anyone know how their donuts are?

                                                                                                                1. Has anyone been to Gail Ann's in Arlington often enough to determine if they have a particular doughnut or style which stands out? (e.g., Ohlin's has their butter crunch)

                                                                                                                  Thinking of going there this weekend.

                                                                                                                  1. IIRC, 'cronuts' were being done when the WF newly opened in Arlington. Anyone had them recently? plse fill us in! maybe i should finally go see what all the fuss is about....

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                      regardless of if they are, trying a WF 'cronut' to understand the obsession with Dominique Ansel's cronut is like going to McDonald's to understand why people obsess over the burger at Jm Curley (or craigie etc.). I'd wait for a crack at the real thing rather than try to judge off of a poor imitation.

                                                                                                                      if you're headed to new york, it's not impossible to get on the preorder list (and thus avoid any line waiting) as long as you have two weeks notice. i've had i think 50% success when attempting to preorder on a weekend day (6 or 7 attempts, 3 successes). It will likely become harder as they're switching fully away from phone preorders to web based (much easier to scam, much less persistence required), but that's assuming demand does not taper over time...

                                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                        Sadly yes, I tried it - a sticky, doughy mess covered in sugar glaze and sprinkles - not as good as a plain baked croissant IMHO - and much more caloric....blech - don't do it.

                                                                                                                        1. re: rlh

                                                                                                                          blech is such a great word. thx much; will def avoid. darn!

                                                                                                                          1. re: rlh

                                                                                                                            Sprinkles? That's just wrong...

                                                                                                                        2. Eaterboston news:

                                                                                                                          Stephanie Cmar's Stacked Donuts Is Popping Up:

                                                                                                                          http://boston.eater.com/archives/2014...

                                                                                                                          anyone know- are these cake or yeast or cronut-like? has anyone had any of her donuts and what did you think? thx.

                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                            well, given the filled flavor, at least yeast, and, per an Eater post.... 1.5 years ago... 'classic yeast dougnuts'.

                                                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                              Anyone make it over to this today? Thoughts?

                                                                                                                              1. re: valcfield

                                                                                                                                I did. I was not impressed. The blood orange glaze was good, but slightly too sweet and not particularly distinctively blood orange-y. The Bavarian cream filled donut was a fail. Dense and hockey puck like, and the ratio of the cream to doughnut was off. It's too bad, I really loved Stephanie on top Chef. Union Square donut is a far better product.

                                                                                                                                gltsoi.livejournal.com

                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                1. re: gltsoi

                                                                                                                                  That's a shame. Hopefully at least partially a result of execution jitters, but definitely makes me want to wait a bit before trekking out that way.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: valcfield

                                                                                                                                    I just tried two of the Stacked doughnuts from their pop up this morning at Merchant. I REALLY wanted these to be excellent but sadly, they were not. I had a mango and a black cherry and I was not impressed. Obviously far better than any commercially produced doughnuts but I think Union Square Doughnuts has them beat by a mile. I will say that Stephanie was incredibly sweet and made me try a mango doughnut on the house even though I didn't originally order one. I also had a few bites of the pop tart and it was entirely forgettable. Oh well. I have to wonder if these pop up things are often more hype than anything else. Everyone wants to feel like they are a part of something special and "limited." I guess that is why you see "for a limited time only" in so much advertising/packaging these days.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gordough

                                                                                                                                      There's definitely a lot of hype, and associated good will/lack of the same standards, for pop ups than for b&m/established places.

                                                                                                                                      It's also understandable why you'd see so many execution issues:

                                                                                                                                      often times they're pop ups because the maker is trying something new for them

                                                                                                                                      obviously, the nature of a pop up means you are either working in a kitchen you're unfamiliar with, or making product elsewhere and having to transport (which with pastries brings the getting-old issue in)

                                                                                                                                      similar issue that when you're in someone else's space you may not have all the prep time you want, leading to rushing and associated execution problems

                                                                                                                                      also assuming the above, i have to imagine that the time, but especially the money, to test out ideas is often quite limited, though that's probably not the case with Stacked, given they've had a series of pop ups.

                                                                                                                                      I think there's a specific skill set to knowing how to arrange and execute a pop-up that's probably not appreciated by everyone who attempts one, and i definitely set my expectations accordingly/choose pop-ups either where i'm confident the team doing it is equipped to *or* where i just don't care if it doesn't quite live up to its promise.

                                                                                                                                      In this case, while these guy seem great, donuts are something that if they're not *excellent*, then i'd rather not spend the calories. But I hope they can get to that point.

                                                                                                                                      One last note, as a counterpoint, i've been amazed with the future of junkfood series and how they've been able to use ingredients like urchin, and foie gras, in a successful manner where i can only imagine what limited capacity there is to play around with such expensive ingredients.

                                                                                                                            2. Pretty good donuts at Coffee Time in Salem, and even better bismarks.

                                                                                                                              1. I had my first cronut knockoff today at Paris Baguette in the new Central Sq. H Mart. Coffee rum cream inside, coffee glaze. Very restrained compared to most pastry items in your typical american bakery- and quite incredible. If i lived nearby i would be in serious serious trouble. wow!!

                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                  This reminds me, I had one last weekend from Kane's. (Called a "Kronut.") Flaky dough, not quite as delicate as a croissant but decently so, filled with Nutella cream, and topped with a thick layer of chocolate ganache.

                                                                                                                                  The topping was a bit heavy but the overall effect was excellent. It was far better than any of the actual doughnuts we tried that day. Definitely would repeat.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                    I agree, the texture is fabulous if you get it fresh! I've tried both the coffee and the lemon. I just wish the lemon flavor and the coffee flavor, respectively, were stronger. To me the glaze and custard taste pretty one-note sweet. Very good with the pastry still, but I'd love a tarter lemon or a darker coffee to lend some depth.

                                                                                                                                    Their red bean rice donut is also pretty tasty, though must be eaten fresh or it gets kind of greasy.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                      No cronuts when I stopped by early in the AM a couple weeks ago. This place continues to disappoint.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LilBrownBat

                                                                                                                                        v. sorry i missed your initial post, lbb, Those Paris Baguette cronuts come to their shop at 1pm daily, they told me, so that's how i time my visits. Apparently you can phone them to check on stock but they do not hold them for people.

                                                                                                                                    2. I've been enjoying Ziggy's donuts in Salem/Peabody lately. Really good jelly and cake.

                                                                                                                                      1. Kane's is getting ready to expand with a new store in downtown Boston (in International Place) "this fall." I would be more excited about this if they were intending to serve their regular donuts but according to an article in the Globe, they are developing new flavors for the Boston location and will jack up the price to $3.50 per donut. Still, at least it will bring a good donut option to Boston proper!

                                                                                                                                        http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2...

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: wandergirl

                                                                                                                                          Worse, they're planning to drive the donuts from Saugus to Boston, rather than making them on-site. So they're going to be AT LEAST a couple of hours old no matter what. Kind of sucks. But I work right across the street and will no doubt give 'em a try, or maybe two tries...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                            Crap, no on-site baking? I just got much less interested in this.