While perusing Pinterest, skimming over blogs or walking around, you’ll be led to just one conclusion: doughnuts are where it’s at. Doughnuts are in fact, the new cupcake—and lighter, more buttery than their hipster passé brothers. Once again, DC is ahead of the curve in the Tasty Pastry department, and we’re here to help you navigate the bends:
Most Creative: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
If you count sugary doughnuts to help you sleep at night, then wake your sleepy ass up with a trip to Astro Doughnuts. These doughnuts are moist and not too sweet, like the ginger grapefruit which has the right amount of pucker to keep this tart satisfied. S’mores, lemon passionfruit, espresso, crème brûlée, and key lime are highlights on an extensive list that changes daily.
Best Nostalgic: Mac’s Donuts
It’s not fall, but you’ll think of apple-picking when you hit Mac’s Donuts. Apple cider doughnuts come on a stick. Eating anything on a stick tastes better (duh), but these are particularly crisp on the outside and scrumptiously soft on the inside. The burst of cider flavor is like hay rides. And bobbing for apples. And carving pumpkins. If you see their food truck during your lunch hour, you don’t want to miss it. And if the bipolar-spring-weather blues have got you down, this is just the thing to pick you back up.
Most Gourmet: Poste Modern Brasserie
Poste is a bit of a cheat. Duck fat? Bourbon? Chocolate? If you have more than a couple, you should call a cab. The taste of bourbon is strong without being overpowering and the duck fat…oh, the duck fat. Mixed into the dough and also fried in it, the result is a crisp outer shell and an unbelievably rich center. Tip: you may want to opt for a hole, as their doughnuts are very rich.
Doughnut Hotties: District Doughnut
On my search for sugar, I happened upon a little eye candy along the way. The staff at District Doughnut serve up some pretty sweet classics, like brown butter and caramel apple strudel. If you find yourself post-breakup (or not), and you’re looking for something to fill that doughnut hole in your heart, get delectable ones delivered by a delicious delivery man. Ours are on the way as we speak.
Best Damn Doughnut: Fishers Farmers Bakers
Foodgasm. I hate the word foodgasm but it is inescapable here. I had me an ambrosial-doughnut, eyes-rolling-in-the-back, body-trembling, Holy-Mother-of-God eff-ing foodgasm. When asked the secret to her doughnuts, Farmers Fishers Bakers’ Executive Pastry Chef Ashley Soto confides, “lots of eggs…” An elegantly-glazed, delicately-flavored vanilla doughnut achieves a rich, soft creaminess and a crisp, golden brown crust, while maintaining real lightness that is next to impossible find. If you embark on a donut mecca, this is the place to reap the greatest reward.
Honorable Mention: Pizzeria Orso
Who would have thought that a pizza place could fry up delicious doughnut morsels? Having a knack for flavor and dough-making, Pizzeria Orso’s Executive Chef Will Artley developed a succulent, sweet and tangy donut: lemon Nutella. Hear me out on this one. It sounds so wrong but it just tastes so right. The zest and zip in the dough contrasts the silky Nutella filling. This is the perfect ending to a pizza date.
Needs Improvement: Eventide Restaurant
Miley and Borgore sing it out proudly, bitches love cake. But donuts are not cake, and Eventide’s doughnuts taste like dry, dense cake. I would not make this doughnut my bitch and neither should you.
Needs a Kick in the Pants: Zeke’s DC Donutz
Zeke’s DC Donutz are not bad. But the flavors are tired and the texture a little dry. I love bacon more than anyone as made evident by the 12 packages of bacon in my freezer and that fresh email from Amazon for bacon massage oil. But bacon on doughnuts is just…meh. Zeke’s has gotten a lot of hype but when it comes down to it, there is simply no wow factor.
Photos: Amanda Jane Cooney
Amanda Jane is a quarter-life legal eagle whose cooking will put a smile on your face. This native Upstate New Yorker has been part of GMF since 2011 and started her food adventures in college, drinking amber ale and watching Sunday football, because “crab cakes, football [and beer], that’s what Maryland does.” She’s tried Caribbean, Ethiopian and Vietnamese fare, even churned her own butter (!), prosecuting DC’s dining scene with Champagne taste and a beer budget.