“Want them warmed?” is a question Texans should know already — it means your bouquet of sausage rolls, your puffy klobasneks, each pillowy thing with a sausage napping inside, is going to get microwaved. It does a little twist in there for a while, the microwave dings, and the aroma of dough and salty pork wraps around you like a bad Christmas sweater. It’s the time of year when you can stock up Texas’ ultimate, inexpensive, iconic-Texas road meal: It’s klobasnek saving time.
Many doughnut shops offer them around here — they’re cooked early and often with those industrial bulk sausages with the bronze grease. Take, for example, the joy of the open-air drive-thru of USA Donuts & Croissants on Gaston Avenue in East Dallas. The classic doughnut shop is both intensely un-updated-since-the-'80s and perfectly ageless. They open long before dawn, when the street lights are still confusing moths at 5 in the morning. The aroma is pink frosting and coffee and Borden’s chocolate milk.
You’ll get a handful of glazed doughnut holes with your under-10-buck dozen of sausage rolls. USA Donuts is just one joint to get the old-school, doughnut shop kolaches. The rest in the list take klobasneks a step further.
2117 Abrams Road (Lakewood)
They’ve stayed open throughout the pandemic. Stickers mark the floors like a human board game’s underway — show up on a Friday morning and every circle will be occupied. Why? It’s the crystal clear jelly doughnuts and the sugar skulls, sure, but go savory next time: Their klobasneks have snap, a cut above the average Lil Smokie, and ribbons of yellow cheese swirl through the chewy, just-a-little-sweet dough. When fresh out of the oven (or the microwave), they’re an extraordinary way to spend a couple of bucks. You won’t need many: One or two fill you up for a long haul of a morning, and each costs less than a gallon of gas these days. Or grab a dozen, splitting up croissants and the jumbo options with jalapeño coins.
The Sausage and Cheddar at Leila Bakery & Cafe
Leila Bakery and Cafe, 6041 Oram St. (East Dallas)
The sausage cracks open inside the crusty roll, and there’s the rush of pepper and salt. Cheddar, a lot of it, has melted into the walls of the dough so it eclipses every bite. This is the four-buck, baseball-sized “kolache” at Leila, the little bakery with the twisty breads and roasted garlic croutons. The ham and Muenster is another gem: Plenty of ribboned, good ham and even-keeled melty white cheese are perfect, four-buck snacks.
The Small-Batch Kolaches at Brown Bag Provisions
150 Turtle Creek Blvd., No. 202 (Design District)
There’s a roasty sausage inside a flaky brioche pillow at Brown Bag Provisions. It’s a stunning upgrade to the average 99-cent Lil’ Smokie: Ground pork gets seasoned with sage, garlic, shio koji, ginger. They’re stuffed with preserved chiles, onion marmalade, pickled onion, parsley, thyme and American cheese. The mixture is cased and smoked, finished in the oven until it's auburn. Later it’s wrapped in laminated Brioche from Bresnan’s Bread and Bakery. The lamination means it’s got a thin armored shell of crystalized sugar and crackly butter.
“His laminate is absolutely incredible. When baked I would swear that there are 1,000 layers,” says Brown Bag co-owner Brent Gilewicz.
2604 Oak Lawn Ave. (Oak Lawn)
What is a cachito de jamon? I’s a buttery-crusty shell loaded with chopped ham and cheese. It’s the Venezuelan sibling to the klobasnek. Inside this gemstone from Zaguan, which recently celebrated its 20th birthday on Oak Lawn, is that salty core of finely minced pork fused with Paisa cheese. Take, bag, and go — it’s a handheld meal. It’s as portable as a paperback. Get it warmed, like the best klobasneks, so that clean and breezy queso blanco melts right into the walls.