Complaint Desk

The Sad State of the Dallas Doughnut

Like many food writers I'm sure, I've been watching Pulitzer-winning Jonathan Gold's transition from the LA Weekly to the Los Angeles Times closely. The death of the star system at the daily publication has gotten a lot of attention, too, but it's Gold's first blog post that has invoked deep introspection for me with respect to Dallas' doughnut scene.

The subject is a foie gras stuffed pastry, laden with forest berry jam, which is fried to order and then carefully dusted with ground peanuts that I'm sure invoke a baseball season that is at once so close and so far away. The doughnut is so sexy the LA Weekly picked it up shortly thereafter. One can imagine an army of Californians rushing to indulge duck liver in every way possible while they still can.

It reminds me of a doughnut I ordered on more occasions than I probably should have at Cork Market in DC. Those doughnuts were freshly fried, too, from a batter that fermented overnight, resulting in a slight and sour tangy flavor and a lightly chewy texture. Dusted in cinnamon and sugar with the lightest touch of savory salt, and enjoyed with rich black coffee, that doughnut had enough character to create a memory that's stayed with me long after my Hijra from the District.

Or maybe that doughnut is still with me because the doughnuts in Dallas haven't provided a worthy replacement. While other cities indulge fine ingredients like foie gras, bacon and sweeteners with due restraint, Dallas has been offering up calamity doughnuts that look like this and this and this.

Certainly doughnuts are fun and should invoke whimsy, but that doesn't mean the pastry should be treated like a circus. And just because doughnuts were Homer Simpson's favorite food doesn't mean they should eat like a cartoon.

If colorful cereals have any proper place in the world, it's in a breakfast bowl. Fruit Loops do not belong on doughnuts. That goes for terrible candy, too.