The whole donut phenomenon is nothing new to me.
I remember jumping on the donut bandwagon back in college. Sitting in the damp, dark basement of my sorority house, waiting to be pinned and dying to finally sleep – we were enticed to stay and celebrate our new sisters with donuts. Not just any donuts, but “Ye Old Donuts” baked fresh every night in Champaign, Illinois. What shoes were to Sarah Jessica, donuts were to me. The world’s most perfect food.
Over the years I have searched, yearned and craved; running to what used to be Country Maid Bakery early on Friday mornings when I was a peer group leader at Glenbrook North so I could bring my freshman some hot, glazed sticky donuts. The jelly filled were works of art; the custard filled were glazed with chocolate and oozing the same custard as Country Maid's Boston Cream Pie. It was just so addicting. My sampling methods involved cutting each one into fourths; that way I could eat guilt free and sample as many as I wanted.
Eventually, like every other donut addict out there, I upped the drug. I certainly ate my share during the 27 months of my life that I was pregnant… it wasn’t my fault; I was eating for two. I would casually walk by the display case at Sunset Foods just to see if I could gauge when they would come out of the oven. In desperate times, I have even caved to the coffee roll from Dunkin Donuts — please don’t think less of me. I just couldn’t help myself. One of the first words my middle son said was, “Dooda.” Yes, that translated into “donut.” Proud Mama.
Krispy Kreme came and went… I was unimpressed. I spent years scouring coffee houses in strange cities for those that kept really big, oversized donuts in the stained display case at the front of the restaurant. One great find was University Coffee on University Avenue in Stanford, California. It was a dive, surrounded by an Einstein Bagels and a Starbucks. The big, round sweet coffee rolls were always in the front and so sticky and sweet. The last time I was there Bill Clinton was President and Chelsea was next door having a latte with six secret service agents and a girlfriend.
Addicts need friends because we love having someone to share the happiness with. So after months of discussing how donuts are the new black, my friends Nick and Jen, their two girls and I embarked on a field trip to Chicago, to one of the craziest donut houses I have ever seen, The Donut Vault. We had to leave early on a Saturday morning because once Donut Vault sells out, they close. Rumors of lines around the block were intimidating. We could do it. We had good weather; it was warm and sunny and the karma was right.
Lines around the block? You cannot imagine the sight, but clearly everyone else was as motivated as we were. Couples, babies, cops and pregnant women… the line was ripe with donut addicts. We got in line, which was wrapped around the block. How long could it possibly be? It was just a donut, right?
90 minutes later and knee deep into a grande coffee courtesy of my driver, Nick, we stepped up into the awning of Donut Vault. There, the most beautiful man, with the most interesting tattoos and sugar cake sprinkling on his fingers, asked what we wanted. Weak at the knees (maybe it was the heat, maybe it was because Jen and I had been standing up for 90 minutes or maybe because Ashton Kutcher was about to serve me a buttermilk donut) we stuttered… we stammered. We couldn’t make a decision. It was so overwhelming and thrilling – we actually started taking bites before we paid. Boxes, bags and attitude prevailed. Walking out of Donut Vault, looking at the poor souls who were still in line, feeling smug because we had survived the wait – we jumped into our getaway car and grabbed a box of wipes. Breakfast was served.
Donut Vault did not disappoint. Most definitely the best donut I’ve had to-date; I bought plenty to share with the friends who teased me for waiting so long for a donut. But when they finally tasted it, they knew. I know my donuts and I know what good donuts taste like. Nobody’s teasing me anymore.
I do not have to divulge how many I ate this weekend and I don’t even want to guess the calorie count of one. I will tell you that I tasted three different kinds; chocolate glazed, buttermilk and vanilla glazed. Buttermilk wins every time. It was an outstanding way to begin a lazy Saturday summer morning with nothing more important to do than take a drive for a good donut.