In search of Durango’s best donut
Donuts, it seems, are a thing for me. I know, a stretch, right? Sugar, fat, carbs – where’s the room for error? So it only seems right that when we began discussing our impending Summer 2018 wedding party, in lieu of cake, we shall serve donuts. But where would these donuts come from?
Because any old donut won’t do. I wouldn’t say I’m a donut snob. I’m just, you know, particular. A quick jog through my memory produces a trove of donut material. A selection:
The best donut I’ve ever had: Dia de los Donuts, Nov. 2017, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Light, fluffy, yeasty, with a bit of heft from the perfect amount of grease, slightly crispy around the edge with the precise frosting-to-dough ratio. So good I had to buy a hat. Runner-up: Shipley Do-Nuts, in the Houston area.
The worst (fresh) donut I’ve ever had: Tim Horton’s, May 2006, Vernon, Connecticut. The national donut of Canada tasted like Play-Doh got into the batter. Interesting because the donut tasted like it was made by an average 7-year-old. I tried again – in Canada – a few years later and again tasted the Play-Doh.
My favorite donut story: My brother, who puts donuts at the top of his list of favorite foods, picked up a dozen Krispy Kreme one morning on the way to work for his handful of colleagues. During the five-minute, two-mile drive between the donut shop and his workplace, he helplessly pounded six donuts, then rolled up to work realizing he couldn’t take a half-eaten box of donuts inside.
With donuts, there are inherent truths: Yeasty donuts, when done right, are fundamentally superior to “cake” donuts, those smaller, denser donuts, often shunted to the side in the display case. The best donuts tend to be found in rundown strip malls. The more you spend on a donut, the greater the chances of disappointment. Any time you find a place that serves jelly-filled donuts that go beyond raspberry, cherish it. I’ll take an Entenmann’s donut over 75 percent of donuts I’ve tried. Possibly the most dangerous thing in the world is a box of Hostess Donettes on a road trip. Finding the perfect combination of dough, fat, and sweetness is the eternal quest of man.
And so it goes. Short of flying in six dozen donuts from Nicaragua, we had to find the best donuts in Durango. To begin, we set out to try a variety of donuts from the three places in Durango that either specialize in donuts or have a daily, dedicated selection of donuts: Durango Doughworks, Rendevous Doughnuts, and City Market.
To get the best and freshest, we began the Durango Donut Roundup Sunday just before 7 a.m. to be among the first customers at each spot. Knowing we will likely serve two to three types of donut at the party, we limited our choices to chocolate, glazed (at Rendevous, in place of glazed, we got vanilla bean), and a specialty. We both ate a quarter of each donut so not to acquire diabetes halfway through. Here were the findings:
Overall characteristicsDoughworks and City Market have more traditional donut shop-style donuts: Yeasty, light, and feathery with stiff, ultra-sweet frosting. Rendezvous’s were much larger, quite “bready” (similar taste and feel to a cinnamon roll without the cinnamon), with premium ingredients you could actually taste and sometimes see in the donut.
Doughworks: A regular glazed donut with chocolate frosting on top, similar to a Krispy Kreme chocolate. The best frosting-to-dough ratio of any donut. My favorite overall.
City Market: Similar in style to Doughworks without the extra glaze, making it just a tad dry.
Rendevous: Dark chocolate from Animas Chocolate tasted excellent but was too messy, requiring an experiment-halting handwashing and knife exchange before moving on. Definitely couldn’t eat this one in a car.Glazed/vanilla
Doughworks: Could have used a little more glaze, though it was slightly sweeter than City Market. A little dry.
City Market: The worst City Market offering of the bunch. Could have been sweeter and less dry. Would be great for dunking, though dunking is for weird people.
Rendezvous: Strong, delightfully overwhelming vanilla frosting. I could have used even more. When fresh, not as messy as chocolate.Specialty
Doughworks: Glazed old-fashioned. Unfortunately, this was the second to last that I tried and I was approaching full diabetic coma. The edges were nice and crunchy and you could feel and taste the grease, probably a little too much. The amount of sweetness packed into this thing is good if you’re only looking to eat one (and who does that?).
City Market: Cinnamon roll. The best of the bunch from City Market. Moist and sweet enough (but not too much), and adequately cinnamon-y.
Rendevous: Snowball. This dough mound covered in white chocolate frosting and lightly toasted coconut. My favorite from Rendezvous. The least messy, best sweetness-to-dough ratio, and the perfect amount of accenting cinnamon.So, did I find the donut to end all donut quests? Like I said, I’m very particular.