Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Miss Donut's doughnuts

The internet is great. But sometimes, the good old fashioned phone book is invaluable. That is especially true if your quest is to find mom-and-pop doughnut shops in a new area. You know, the kind of shops with a lunch counter that still serve coffee in white enamel cups for 50 cents and the senior citizen gentlemen that read the paper and catch up on the local gossip; these sorts of shops don't usually have web sites. What they do have is old fashioned, homemade doughnuts. And they are always worth the find.

We flew to Virginia on Saturday. Yesterday morning, I cracked the big 3-inch thick northern Virginia area phone book, and let my fingers do the walking right to ‘B’ for Bakeries. That's where I found Milan Bakery and Miss Donut in Falls Church, VA.

By the time we got two toddlers and a baby out of the house, it was lunchtime. So my friend and I, another dietitan, packed turkey sandwiches for the kids and set the GPS for Falls Church. We arrived at a storefront bakery with a blue awning. And when we opened the door to Milan Bakery and Miss Donut, we knew the doughnuts would be worth the trip. What blissful aroma of sweetly fried dough. Another sign of the goodness to come: There were only two or three left of many of the varieties. I chose three cake doughnuts, chocolate glazed, honey wheat glazed, plain sour cream; and a maple frosted raised doughnut and a French crueler.

We got the kids set with their turkey sandwiches and then, yes, we sat with our heads tucked behind our brown paper bags of doughnuts, out of view of the kids and the two of us RD’s tasted and swooned over freshly fried, sugared dough. Of course I tried the plain cake doughnut first. A doughnut shop’s plain cake doughnut is a signature of its quality. The plain cake has no sweet glaze or flavors or sprinkles to hide the flavors of old grease that may have been used in which to fry the doughnuts. The dough should be sweet, but not too sweet. A hint of spice – nutmeg or cinnamon – is nice too; just a hint to give the donut a bit of depth. Well Miss Donut’s doughnuts delivered on all accounts. The outside was still a bit crunchy, indicating freshness. The cakey part was faintly sweet – no spice – just dense and rich. Moving on to the maple raised doughnut, I found it divine too. It was chewy and fresh, and was smothered in just the right amount of subtly flavored maple frosting. The chocolate cake doughnut was perfect: pure cocoa flavor, but not too sweet either. No, I did not eat three doughnuts for lunch, only about a total of two and a half – because I had to try a bite, or three of each flavor. I also had coffee with lots of milk to balance out my lunch.

And yes, we did let the kids sample the doughnuts – after they finished their healthy lunches. What sweet smiles lit up their faces.

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