The Doughnut Project

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I eat a lot of doughnuts (donuts if you’re nasty), some are amazing, and some are just kind of meh. And, I appreciate a unique doughnut, so, you can save your sprinkles for Instagram. Basically, I’m kind of a tough one. Open only a few days now, The Doughnut Project is the new doughnut spot on the scene, located in the West Village, and I had to check it out.

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Even if you’re not a doughnut person (weirdo), you should stop by just for the decor. A chandelier hangs, surrounded by a ceiling to almost-floor design, painted on the ceiling and wall itself. It’s accompanied by some smaller framed photos, which, basically all look awesome. Here you’ll find all yeast, hand crafted doughnuts, glazed and iced with unique flavors. I got four to try (they had six available flavors when I was there), listing in order leading up to my most favorite.

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First, I had the Olive Oil and Black Pepper. So first off, the dough itself is really nice. It’s not overly greasy, it’s light, but still has a bit of a doughy chew. As for the Olive Oil and Black Pepper, it has subtle, light flavor, but then you get a hint of the pepper. It’s not overwhelming, so don’t let the savory sound scare you.

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Then, I had the special that day, Cinnamon and Pepita. If I could use only two words to describe this, it would be, just delightful. The cinnamon gives you that warmth of flavor, and combined with pumpkin seeds, it’s pretty much Fall in a doughnut. The candied pepitas on top add a nice little crunch and nuttiness in flavor. If they have it on the menu when you’re there, get it and go outside to frolic through some orange leaves.

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Next, I had the Pineapple and Habanero Stripe. So, pineapple as a raw fruit, I’m into it. Pineapple in desserts, usually not so much. I’m not totally sure what it is about it, but I don’t usually enjoy the taste. But, throw a curve ball and add a habanero stripe for heat, I’m in. I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this one. The pineapple isn’t overpowering, and not overly sweet, giving you just the right amount of flavor to let you know that, hey, this is pineapple. Then, right away, you get a kick of heat from the habanero. The two are paired in other dishes, but this was a first for me to have them together in perfect harmony on a doughnut.

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Finally, I had the Beet and Ricotta Stuffing. Oh, you don’t usually have your doughnut with beet and fresh ricotta? Newb. It’s the most visually grabbing, with it’s glossy bright purplish-red color, created only from the natural color of the beets. Again, not an overpowering flavor, but you definitely taste beet, which is complimented so nicely with the dough, which is stuffed with creamy ricotta. You could pretty much eat this for breakfast as a complete meal (veggies and cheese and grains, yeah!), or even lunch or dinner. I would. 

The Shorts:
Name: The Doughnut Project
Location: 10 Morton Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. The team there is awesome and super friendly, and they have a real unique and quality product.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. It’s one of the most aesthetically cool food shops I’ve been to, and then you add awesome doughnuts and coffee? Sold. 

The Cupcake Controversy

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Alright, so, by now, everyone should be up to speed with the closing of all of the Crumbs Bakeshop cupcake stores across the nation, right? With the abrupt ending of this cupcake empire, many people and publications have chimed in to express their excitement toward the end of the “cupcake craze”. And, there are definitely lots of haters, like these guys, these guys, and these guys too. For whatever reason, I feel really conflicted about the whole celebration of killing off cupcakes and trying to make another baked good the “next new thing”. So, I decided to put out my thoughts on the whole topic.

I get it, in the past 10 years, the cupcake game has been pretty over saturated. Hell, there’s a show, “Cupcake Wars”, and every other person or aspiring baker is opening up a cupcake shop every other days it seems. So, yes, I get that it’s become a beast of it’s own and there’s now a surplus of cupcake shops. But when did we decide who can open up a shop if they want to? It’s their venture, and we can just make it our choice to be a customer, or not.

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Well, I’ll be the first one to admit, there are some $hi!!y cupcake shops out there. I know, I’ve tried some of them. But, I don’t think it’s fair to say, “down with all cupcake stores”, since, there are some bakeshops who are doing an amazing job at crafting some tasty cuppies. I’ve written about a couple of my favorite spots, Butter Lane and Sugar Sweet Sunshine, which, I truly hope don’t disappear with all of this cupcake bashing. I know, this sounds dramatic, it’s really lighthearted, but, it just saddens my heart to see awesome places bulked into a trendy, fad-type of dessert hate-fest.

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The other thing that’s pretty annoying is, all of these sources and people talking about the end of the cupcake trend, and the new trend of the next big dessert. I get it, it’s all about marketing. I mean, no one knew what the hell a Cronut was before Dominique Ansel made one. And then, it was like the second coming of Christ. But, I think innovation is cool, and reinventing something is cool too. But, it’s kind of funny when people say that the next big thing is doughnuts (which, presumably date back to the 19th century…doesn’t sound too “new” to me…but, they’re still ridiculously delicious), or macarons (which were possibly created in 791. 791! Does that sound “new”??). Believe me, I’d celebrate and encourage both, I love them and visited a number of doughnut (or donut) spots and macaron shops.

So, what’s my main gripe? I guess it’s the whole hype about ending one type of business and going full throttle into another. Isn’t there enough room in the dessert space for everyone? Even I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut in the sweets space. And, I mean, quality of the product will hopefully always have the influence over what stays and what closes up shop. Unfortunately, I know that’s not always the case. There are plenty of crappy companies and products out there that have their hype-men (and women), and paid-off publications to promote their sub-par stuff. And so, we as the consumer then listen to them and follow the Pied Piper. This isn’t revolutionary, it’s the whole world of PR and marketing, and, it’s reality.

So, instead of celebrating the end of cupcakes, I want to still embrace them, and welcome the new, interesting goods to come. I mean, let’s be honest…if someone gave you a delightful, delicious cupcake today, would you smash it and say “f#@k you, cupcake craze!”, or, would you shut up and enjoy it?

So, RIP, Crumbs. I’ll remember you best when I was surprised with one of your Giant Cupcakes for my birthday a couple years ago.

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And I wasn’t saying “ughhh this stupid cupcake craze”…I was thinking:

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