I'm always amazed by the sheer distance and variety covered by buffetbuster and wanderingjew, and inspired by their end-of-year review threads, so (like last year), I decided to do one as well.
As it happens, while I love my food, and maintain a blog (major updates to said blog, Offbeat Eats
were a big happening this year, with maps and categories added), I don't often
travel for food itself, the food is something I just try to find along the way, often as I'm traveling for work.
But looking over the happenings of 2011, while it was no 2010 (which involved six trips to other countries!), I still managed to rack up quite a few interesting destinations. Looking things over, I seem to have hit an awful lot of "sweet" destinations this year, so I'll start this off with a list of donut joints from 2011:
First of all, the best donuts of the year go to Dynamo Donuts
(my full review here
)in San Francisco. I originally went there seeking out their bacon donut (shown here with a caramel de sel donuts), and, while good, that actually ended up being my least favorite donut of the many I had there:
What was my favorite? The chocolate spice donut (shown here with the similar chocolate rose donut), which was the perfect combination of crisp texture, perfect flavoring (mostly chocolate, not too sweet, with a slight amount of spices), and a nicely done sugar coating:
Next up in the favorites list of donuts was Gourdough's Big Fat Donuts
in Austin (my full review here
). Having encountered Gourdough's at the end of a long day that involved several pounds of excellent Texas BBQ and several food carts, Gourdough's still managed to impress me with donuts such as this Sailor Jerry, with rum glaze and nuts. If I had a complaint, it's that the underlying donut, which very nicely done and crisp, is overwhelmed by the massive amount of toppings.
After that, I'd have to go with Fractured Prune
(my full review here
), a mid-Atlantic chain that I've often frequented, mostly in Rehoboth Beach, DE. The big attraction of Fractured Prune is that the donuts are freshly made to order: as you order, their "Donut Robot" makes a fresh donut, which they then hand-top to your specifications, with all sorts of interesting combos (like “Black Forest”, with berry glaze, coconut, and mini-chocolate chips). However, I find it best when done simply, such as this basic chocolate and peanut donut:
Finally, I'll close the donut reviews with an odd one: Rolling Donuts
in Dublin, Ireland (full review here
). I found Rolling Donut by smell, being attracted by the smell of fresh donuts as I walked down the street in Dublin. Having cranked out donuts (using a similar automated machine to Fracture Prune's donut robot) for over 20 years, the resulting donuts were an excellent little street treat for only 60 euro cents each: