Saturday, September 5, 2009
Donut Cafe on South Commercial in Salem, OR
One can never have too many donuts. (Well, you can, and in fact we both have, but what the hell.) We have our fond memories of Square Donuts in Terre Haute, Indiana and frankly they'll likely never be matched. But, that doesn't stop us from continuing the search. After reading KandN and Liseanne's test of the new donut purveyor in town, we set out this cold, humid, rainy morning to see for ourselves. I'd also seen the blurb on the Statesman's food blog about the grand opening special of a dozen for $4.99.
"I hope they know what they're doing," Scot said as we pulled up. "The owner, That Suk, has been cranking out donuts for 20 years," I shared. "That doesn't seem right," he said, suggesting that he expected donuts would come from fat, pasty white guys. (We are a couple of pasty white folks, and fat to boot, so no offense to anyone was intended.)
The cafe is bright, spotless, and positively glowing with the beauty that is beholden behind the glass case. Seriously, these are some fine productions, my friends. Each donut is perfect in presentation, without drips, smears, or smudges. The upper left hand corner of the case held HUGE buns called butterflies; these are NOT part of the dozen for $4.99 deal but it's easy to see why: one of these babies would feed four people.
Or Scot. This man likes his donuts. Oddly enough, he agrees with Liseanne that the plain glazed donut is the standard against which all are judged.
We went about choosing a dozen to give us a variety of what they made. Maple bars, sugar coated raised, chocolate Bismark, maple iced old fashioned, strawberry iced cruller, chocolate iced raised, raspberry filled, and iced chocolate cake donuts with sprinkles or peanuts... many other yummy options were left behind for lack of space. Someday...
We got to the car and didn't know what to do. We split tastes out of a few, and will have them over the next few days. But from what we tasted, they were excellent. They are not gooey super sticky sweet. Don't get me wrong, they aren't sugar free, but the pastry is light and airy and not greasy or overly moist.
Perhaps my favorite was the maple iced old fashioned; it was light but almost crunchy on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside. The cruller is filled with air pockets, more like a French pastry. Very, very good.
Their normal price of $7.49 a dozen (or $0.89 each) is in line with what other donut shops offer (the Not-Duncan-Donuts known as Daynight on Commercial is $6.99 I think). That's more than a dozen at the grocery stores, but each has their high or low points of quality and style.