Celebrate Ice Cream day with these Toronto cones

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This Sunday, July 17 is National Ice Cream Day. The day you can legitimately eat as much ice cream as you want.  I think 2016 can best be described as year of the cone, as the lowly ice cream wafer waffle is making way to more substantial dough based cones from Mexico and Europe.  Stuffed with sweet fillings, they’re oversized and over the top.

Pancho’s Bakery in Kensington Market features a churro cone.  This sweet baby is freshly made, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and served slightly warm.

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Sauce is poured into the cone, filled with ice cream and topped with fruity cereal, walnuts or coconut.

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Dulce de Leche, chocolate ice cream and walnuts is a delicious combination.  It’s served in a plastic cup and spoon so that you can scoop up all the deliciousness.

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The next great cone is Eva’s Original Chimney’s which started as a food truck but you can find them at the Union Summer market until September 5. A very popular vendor at the market where you’ll find Bay St. suits lining up at lunch for  one of these.  Try to get there earlier in the week, Monday to Wednesday and later in the afternoon, there will be a much shorter queue and a lot less waiting.

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These crispy and light chimneys are baked and rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Fillings include apple compote, Nutella and strawberry preserves and topped soft-serve ice cream, more chocolate, bits of brownies or fruit.

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So far  I’ve had Eva’s Apple Pie and Berrylicious.  The soft-serve is great tasting and better than what you’ll get anywhere else. There are still a couple on the menu, so I guess I’ll have to go back!

Enjoy National Cone day on Sunday.  Drop me a line and let me know how you indulged.  Bon Appetit, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doughnut Destination: The Doughnut Plant, New York Restaurant Week – Part 4

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It’s three o’clock on Monday afternoon when I finally make it to The Doughnut Plant at 220 West 23rd Street between 7th and 8th avenue.   All the seats are taken and there is a line up in front of the showcase.  There are empty spots in doughnut display as they run out of flavours.  A woman scurries back to pick another flavour because they’ve just run out of the featured peach.

Doughnut shaped cushions adorn the walls, bags of their own blend of coffee beans line the shelves.  The three servers behind the counter move quickly trying to pack orders for customers as well as phone orders that are to be picked up.  A woman ahead of me leaves with three dozen.

We order a Tres Leches cake doughnut and a square filled coconut cream raised doughnut. I debate whether I should also order a Valhorna chocolate doughnut,  but I’ve consumed so many baked goods and desserts in my 72 hours in Manhattan.  I finally decide not to,  it would mean too many hours on the treadmill trying to work it off.

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In 1994, Mark Israel converts a  basement on the Lower East side to a bakery where he spends his nights creating his handcrafted doughnuts.  His doughnuts have been on the menu at high-end food boutiques like Dean & Deluca and Balducci’s.    In 2000, he opens his first location at  379 Grant Street, four years later he opens his first store in Tokyo,  Japan where he now has an amazing nine locations.   His second location  where I am in the Chelsea Hotel, was opened in 2011.

The doughnuts are made from locally sourced organic ingredients.  As well, he has flour milled to his specification.

It’s late afternoon and just the right time for a pick me up like a doughnut.  A space big enough for the two of us to sit at on the window sill is freed up.  We hurry over with our two precious doughnuts.  I have waited months to be here and I cannot wait to savour every bite.

The Tres Leches is moist and has the taste and texture just like the cake. I eat slowly, this is so good, coffee goes down so well.  The trademark square filled donut is filled with a thick and creamy coconut custard.  The glaze melts onto our fingers, this raised yeast doughnut is light and has that homemade taste.  We linger enjoying every bite.

I am so happy that the world has rediscovered doughnuts, good doughnuts, homespun doughnuts with inventive flavour twists. I finish my doughnut.  It’s time to  leave and I am sad that my time in New York is almost over, there are still so many original flavours to try. On my next visit, this will be my first stop.

Go out there  folks, enjoy the doughnut revival taking place, there’s got to be a great artisan shop where you live.  I’ll be out tracking down more of these.  Bon appetit everyone!

The Doughnut Renaissance – from deep fried to designer Part 2

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This is Part 2 to my post of July 17 that featured a short cultural expose on fried dough.

There is a retro food trend a foot.  In uncertain times we get sentimental over things that provided simple homespun pleasures, like macaroni and cheese, hot chocolate and doughnuts.  It has taken me over a month to get part deux done, but doughnut research is complicated and tasty.

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I found four establishments that are creating their own personal brand of designer doughnuts,  Sweet Creations, Paulette’s, Glory Hole Doughnuts and Dough by Rachelle.  Each of these are quite unique from their flavours to their style but all homey, tummy warming, lip smacking sweet nostalgic goodness!!!

My first stop was Sweet Creations in the Distillery District.  They were featuring two doughnuts the Sunday that I visited, Peach Cobbler and the soon to be classic Maple Bacon doughnut.  The peach cobbler had pieces of crumb topping and small pieces of fresh peach.  A light, crisp, not too sweet doughnut but a little lacklustre in achieving a real peachy flavour.  The Maple Bacon was the best of the two.  The sweetness of the maple tempered by the salty and smokey flavour of the bacon makes it more of an entremet rather than a dessert, but something I would definitely choose as a breakfast option.

Paulette’s Original Donuts & Chicken opened in July.  Located in the trending Leslieville area.  You are greeted by staff dressed in traditional retro paper hats inside an aquamarine coloured storefront.  A choice of seven cake doughnuts is featured daily to complement their fried chicken menu.  Some unusual choices were available including chocolate blueberry and grapefruit maple – sweet and zesty.  Our favourite this visit was the banana cream and the dark chocolate pretzel which makes for an excellent cake doughnut flavour.

The much-anticipated Glory Hole Doughnuts opened on August 25 in Parkdale to the excitement of many doughnut devotees.  Over the top raised doughnuts filled with home-made fillings turns the standard doughnut into a wonderful dessert (or over the top breakfast pastry!).  Owner and pastry chef Ashley Jacot de Boinod tops the banana cream with real whipped cream to order.  This doughnut barely made it out of the store, I couldn’t wait to dive in.  The lemon meringue doughnut is filled with  lemon curd, the way lemon curd should be – creamy, silky and just sweet and tangy enough lemon flavour.

Catering and delivery is available with three days’ notice so they’re the freshest they can be for you. It’s worth the trip to Parkdale for these one of a kind deep-fried cakes.

My last trek was on Thursday morning.  At 8:00 a.m. the doughnut curtain is drawn at the back entrance of Beast Restaurant on Tecumseh.  There’s where you find a smiling Rachelle ready to serve her handmade doughnuts to an eager line-up of customers.  This was my second attempt.  The week before I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and was making my way, when at about 9:00 a.m. I found out via a tweet from Rachelle that she was sold out and I had to abort my mission.  Rachelle tweets throughout the morning to let customers know what’s left.

I was first in line this week and left smiling with my box of doughnuts.  Real apples and a rich glaze made the apple fritter bring back a lot of childhood memories, this is not your Tim Horton’s apple fritter, this really has apples in it.  The double chocolate doughnut is coated with real dark chocolate and real white chocolate; the cherry pie doughnut had a crumb topping and the right amount of cherry filling.  Yes, it was worth the 6:45 a.m. alarm I set that morning to get myself up and en route to Rachelle’s.  Doughnuts are also available at weekend brunch at Beast, so save some room and enjoy a morning doughnut.

This is one food that I’m glad is making a come back.  In a city over run by assembly line, same tasting but different coloured glazed tasteless dough, these homemade gems are certainly worth the $2.50 to $3.00 each price tag. In this town, you get what you pay for.  Doughnut popularity comes and goes, I hope this sticks around for a while and that we’ll see new flavours regularly.  I leave you with a great video featuring the Muppet’s Swedish Chef creating his own particular brand of doughnuts.  Enjoy!