Blackbird Doughnuts, June 2020 (National Donut Day!)

National Donut Day! Doughnut?

Maybe this should be settled (spoiler alert, I’m not going to settle it).

I did extensive research (Wikipedia) to find the etymology of the word, and didn’t really get a whole in-depth explanation. Which is surprising. Wikipedia is the go-to for all important information and is completely exhaustive in its clarity. What I did find, though, will be good enough for me.

“Dough”, obvious. “Do-“, abbreviated by an automated doughnut machine manufacturer so it was easier to pronounce by foreign immigrants. “-nut” because small cakes were sometimes referred to as nuts. So TECHNICALLY, doughnut holes are the original doughnuts. I, personally, will be sticking with “donut”, because it’s easier to pronounce of the economy of characters when writing long entries. Unless a proper name dictates otherwise, such as the case with Blackbird.

Enough of this now. A lot to cover today. Not every week’s intro is going to be a winner.

Actually, I lied. One more prologue.

Blackbird Doughnuts. While I grew up on some small blue-collar places in Pennsylvania, and Dunkin Donuts dominated most donut runs when I was a kid, I’d like to think Blackbird was my first. I technically want to say Union Square Donuts were my first of the specialty donut shops of this new artisan era, but there was something that didn’t stick about them. I made a trek out there, sampled a few, but nothing stood out. Blackbird changed it.

They had a table at an event I went to a few years back and I was excited to try it, but by the time I made my way over to them, they were already out for the day. Elusive. Slipped through my grasp… that I never hustled fast enough for… But one day I knew I’d get to their shop. I guess I could’ve just… gone? Seems like too much work. The first time I finally had them was maybe a year or two later when an officemate brought them in. And that’s when I knew.

Love at first bite, I became enamored with their offerings. Their menu changes. The quality. The branding, stupidly enough. It was simple. Everything fit. And their one staple that, if you haven’t had it, you absolutely need to try. I’ll get to that.

But! There was a rift. Summer of 2019. New menu, and of course I jumped on it the first day. They had s’mores! I love anything s’mores and I’ve always liked what Blackbird does with theirs. That year’s was a filled donut, topped with chocolate frosting graham cracker crumbs and filled with a burnt marshmallow cream. Quality stuff. There was also a bubble gum flavor on the menu, which, I’m never quite on board with, but had to try it. However, that’s not what caused the rift.

Summer of 2019 introduced the lychee ginger lemonade flavor. Of course I tossed it in my order because I had to try it, but I didn’t have high hopes. Now, even if I’m not a fan of something, I generally can tolerate it enough to get a solid taste test in. Not this. This was different. This was so offensive to my palate that I forced the first small bite down, just because there were people around and I didn’t want to be rude. I can be a little over the top in an office setting, but I have a line. I guess, if only, with spitting out food. Later in the day, I tried another bite to see if my thoughts have changed after a proper lunch and a day of work. I like to give things a three-taste run to try and give if the benefit of the doubt.

This bite ended up in the trash, along with the rest of the donut. Which, by the way, of all the people in the office that were taking samples of things, my two sections were the only ones missing. No one dared venture near it. This donut seemed to be getting a lot of hype on their social media. Positive comments along the lines of “wow”, and “Can’t wait to try it!”, but never a positive review, something in the past tense showing evidence of having sampled it. This is where my role comes in.

“Trash.” I commented.

I’ve never been blocked on social media, but that was a swift one.

Suffice it to say, that flavor didn’t last long on their menu. The beginning of 2020 had a lovely looking menu and I sent a humble apology letter to Mr. Blackbird (or whoever reads them, I imagine the bird is), asking for forgiveness and ending my self-imposed boycott. But, I did also point out that flavor didn’t last long.

So, we’ve since made up, and thank goodness, because they’re a formidable entry into these donut roundups, and I had found one of my all-time favorite donuts in that menu.

Covid-specific Process

Online pre-order! With some quirkiness. Pre-order that day for your location and time of pickup. And, while they just started doing singles, at first it was just pre-picked 6-packs. Makes sense while they were figuring out their process after being closed after a while, control variables, I get it.

So you pop on, staring at 9am, pick the pack at your pickup time (instead of selecting a time when you initially start), then head to that shop at your scheduled time, or later. Not earlier, but they’ll hold them afterward. It’s confusing to explain unless you’ve seen it, or are better with words… But it’s worth going through the process. They post what their menu will be on their instagram, and instead of a set seasonal offering, it’s been rotating. Which is great for sampling! But also bad if you have no self control…. which brings me to….

The Donuts

Ok. This is a double episode. I… uh… pre-ordered for Friday (OK. National Donut Day was an advanced pre-order instead of same-day, so I already had those on the book about a week ahead of time). But what they had on Wednesday was SOLID, and a lot of their staples. I knew I had to capture those, so I grabbed a pack on impulse, FOR YOUR BENEFIT. You think I like eating all these?? (I do.)

Part 1.

Chocolate Old Fashioned (cake)
Three and a half donuts (I STILL HAVEN’T MADE MY GRAPHIC)
Blackbird’s cake donuts are some of my favorites I’ve determined. I’d say a little less traditional than other donut shops, being that these are a lighter cake, but not too dry or too moist. They’re just right. And they keep the size reasonable. You’re not trying to fit a whole huge angel food sized cake in your mouth, and easy to grab a single cake donut and have that as a snack instead of feeling like you need to share it or split it into multiple portions. Or, crush a dozen. nbd.

As for calling it an “old fashioned”, I think that may be another debate. I’ll save it for another time. I’ll allow a “cake” to be an “old fashioned” for now.

Glaze is a smooth, almost, waxy I would say? consistency, which is perfectly fine! I’d rather have it a little stiff like that so I can grab it and not feel like I have to wash my hands before I touch anything else. I love finger food that I can eat while working. It’s a good thickness as well, not too thick to be overwhelming, but a perfect compliment to the rest of the donut. And back to the donut itself quick, chocolate flavor isn’t too rich (RICH. That’s the word I needed last week for Kane’s), but it’s still there. Really solid in the old fashioned/cake department.

This on also holds up NICE the next day. I’ve noticed their chocolate cake stays the best the next day vs plain cake. Plain cake gets a little drier, but still ok. Brioche gets the toughest. Just to cover that all now.

The Blackbird (cake)
Three donuts
Another old fashioned, PLAIN STYLE. Because it’s plain, and the consitency of this one, I’d put it more into the old fashioned department. But, the Blackbird is similar cake consitency, but… well… plain. But it’s a great plain flavor! Cake is a little denser, but overall it’s a thinner barreled donut. So it kinda evens out overall, or something. I’d say there’s a little bit of a citrusy kick to it but nothing crazy, just a balancing flavor. And this one the glaze was a little less smooth, but still not coming off on my hand. Again, the gripe about it only really covering the top 1/4 or 1/3. More glaze. Glaze it up, baby. Giving it three donuts, because it’s good, but not top of my list. If I was only getting one, it wouldn’t be this.

Chocolate Sprinkle (brioche)
Three donuts
Their brioche is definitely different than others I’ve had, but in a way that I kinda like. It’s chewier, but still has some good airiness to it and spring. No extra glaze on this one, so it keeps it less rich 😉 😉 and easy to get through a whole if you were so inclined. A little greasy on this one, so I definitely felt compelled to rinse my hands before I went back to typing notes, but nothing overly heavy. Now, the chocolate frosting is a little rich. Very chocolatey, which, not my favorite. A strong chocolate flavor is never my go-to, and it’s a little damp? thick? buttery? than I’d prefer. A thin snappy layer is more what I’m a fan of, but because it’s not covering the whole thing, or really anymore than that top portion, it’s not too offensive.

Raspberry White Chocolate Glazed (brioche)
Four donuts
Their first non-staple in this pack. (Usually their seasonal menus will include their staples, plus some unique ones for that period).

Another brioche, so all the same description from before, but yowza! I’ve always felt what Blackbird excels at is their fruitwork. Whenever there is something with citrus or a berry, it POPS. Immediately hit with raspberriness and the white chocolate drizzle is a perfect compliment. I love dark chocolate and raspberry, and always a little skeptical of white chocolate because of it’s sweetness, but it’s just the right amount to balance out the raspberry, and that frosting and the light glaze on the donut are a perfect harmony with the brioche. And no kitschy crap to get in the way of anything. For a different sort of flavor, there’s no need to overdo it with actual fruit or whatever on top. Easy to eat. Winner winner donut dinner.

And being that it’s brioche, it got a little stale the next day, and the topping did something weird… like… disappeared. It was against a piece of wax paper it was packaged with, but I didn’t see it on the paper or, in the box, or… did it ooze into the donut? Evaporate? I still tasted it… but…

Vanilla Glazed
Four donuts
If there was a honey dipped equivalent at Blackbird, this would be it. Straight brioche, glazed, but with that good solid vanilla flavor. This is usually my go to– as a second… more on that in a bit. If I’m just going for a dessert donut and don’t want something heavy, Vanilla Glazed all day.

Strawberry Rhubarb Bismarck (filled brioche)
Two donuts
It’s… fine? Filled brioche. Not a greasy outside. Sprinkled all over with sugar (not powdered… are powdered donuts really a thing anymore?). The innards… are fine. I got their strawberry jam Bismarck a few weeks back and it was also… fine. I like what they do with fruit, but strawberry is probably the lamest berry to do a jam with. I like strawberries! But like, whole. And maybe dipped in chocolate because ooo la la so fancy. The rhubarb didn’t really add anything I felt. It was just… fine. But I didn’t feel like eating the whole thing. It’s heavy. Like it would ruin the rest of my day if I ate the whole thing. Literally only ate a quarter of all these so far and the Bismarck is kinda putting a damper on everything.

Part 2 (National Donut Day Pack)

They were offering three different 6-packs for this order, and now I can’t find the listings of what they had, but I think one was called classics… and I forget what was in there, but they weren’t Blackbird staples from what I remember. Another was vegan, and I don’t even think I read that one. Sorry vegans. But it was only three flavors, just two of each. Maybe someday I’ll cover vegan stuff. MAYBE.

I got the “fan faves” pack. I really want to meet these fans now. Some of them I can see as being favorites, but the rest– what are you people eating! The favorites should be the staples. That’s why they’re staples. Classic and solid. Can’t go wrong. I don’t get people, man.

Speaking of not getting people, proceeds from the packs on Friday were donated to the NAACPLDF, ACLU, Fenway Health, and Campaign Zero. Which, if you’ve been following the news at all, stuuuufffff’s beeeeeennnn haaaappppennnning. Without really getting into it, I was struggling to find different ways to get involved, and you can really get a down a rabbit hole with looking into charities and organizations, but in the end, every one is doing something good, and every one needs support. I was happy to see Blackbird was aligned with organizations I was getting behind (and PVD did something similar, but only a portion of their profits… WHAT’S UP, PVD?). So, yeah, my donut preferences and political ideology are linked. NEAT.

Everything bagel (brioche with whipped cream)
Four and a half donuts (remember, perfect score commitment issues)
This is one of their all-the-time staples, THANK GOD. Brioche, but without a glaze, everything bagel topping, whipped cream cheese sandwiched between the two halves. Perfection. Like eating a bagel but not having to get through the chewiness. Which, don’t get me wrong, bagels are amazing, but this is something special. Yeah, you’re adding in a some extra ingredients as opposed to a bagel to get the brioche, but I think the way it works out is it’s still less calories than a bagel. Win win.

Mocha Chip (cake)
Three donuts
I don’t really remember seeing this before, but it’s a fan favorite I guess. Their classic Chocolate cake, plus mocha glaze I believe, and mini chocolate chips adorn the top. I like texture of chocolate chips, especially mini for some reason. And this isn’t overly coffee which is great because coffee flavor can usually go to hell. Except for tirimisu. But that’s a balance that just works well.

Charms…? (brioche) I can’t find it on their instagram page anymore so I forget the exact name, but…
Three donuts
Brioche donut, chocolate frosting similar to choc sprinkle, COSMIC SPARKLY SPRINKLE DUST, and Lucky Charms marshmallows. Kitschy crap! An aggressive amount, but still easy to eat. Only gripe on this, aside maybe from it being a weird concept, is the marshmallows either are like this for some reason, or they pick up a moisture from the rest of the pack, but they were super soft. Also not complaining (a few days prior I had made eggs and started eating WAY too fast and may have burnt the roof of my mouth pretty bad…) But it was weird and not expected. Otherwise, not bad. My one thought though, as with the mocha chip— the flavor isn’t crazy intense, which is great if you don’t want to be blasted with something intense, but then why does the flavor exist? The fruit? Yes. Clear standouts. But these are a different breed.

Cinnamon sugar (cake)
Three and a half donuts
Plain cake, and almost like a powdered donut, but, like a not Scarface amount of powder. Think churro quantity. Which is perfect. I don’t want to be finding powder in random place after I have a donut. Cake is light and the sugar and cinnamon add a perfect gritty texture and sweetness/flavor that makes this a great addition to a cake lineup, if you didn’t want a glaze on it. Like a dry rub on a wing. Sauced wings are good, but sometimes you want a good dry rub.

Salted Toffee (brioche)
Three donuts
Ok. Now the flavor hits ya. I love toffee and caramel and all that stuff, and this donut delivers. But maybe it’s not what I want in a donut. I like small caramel and toffee candies, and usually hit my max quick. Unless they’re the caramel cream bullseyes. Those will be the death of me some day. If you really like toffee though, this might be your pick.

Ice Cream Cake (filled brioche)
4.99999999999repeating donuts
I understand how this is a fan favorite, but in general, I don’t understand this one. Existentially.

It’s magic. It’s other-worldly. It’s amazing. This is what was on that January 2020 menu that made me glad I atoned for my transgression.

Brioche filled, with a perfect chocolate cream. Not gritty, not goopy, perfect consistency. And flavor. Just the right creamy chocolate hit. And the top. The little confetti sprinkles and chocolate cookie crumbles and the icing. How is this icing so perfect? I know what ice cream is, but what I can’t understand is how this icing captures the flavor profile of ice cream so dead on.
This whole thing is magical. It’s meaty donut without being heavy. I could easily take down a whole 6 pack of these bad boys.


$3 a pop. $3.50 for singles if not going with a pack for these Covid-times. In the before-times they were $3 a pop as well. Fine price in this category, unless you enjoy bringing them into the office and have to sample every flavor. Don’t waste these on simple palate folks, unless you’re trying to pull favors or impress. Savor these. Be selfish.


You can throw their coffee into your order, and woorrrtthh iiittt. I love their cold brew, and have only done cold brew. All day e’ry day. You can also get the beans they use and cold brew concentrate. I’ve been trying to get my cold brew making down, so I grabbed a single cold brew and a bag of beans to re-up my supply, but have a quick taste check as well so I knew my benchmark.

Their coffee is strong, like bull. Fazenda beans, and a specific blackbird blend (I’ve never had other Fazenda, so can’t say if it’s actually something different). Local roasters! Hurray! Strong coffee that goes down smooth like a good cold brew should. Dunkin’ cold brew never sits well with me, and I like Starbucks, but I’m always going to rank Blackbird’s ahead of all. I like to get cold brew when I’m up at Congdon’s in Maine, and I forget who does theirs, but there something a little off about that one. Great for when I’m driving and need something, but would never be my go-to.

Donut Album of the Morning

Because I did a two-fer for this one, I’m doing two albums. I also damaged my record player’s needle. I was all excited because a version of something I was looking for finally arrived, I’m all proud, popping it in and giving it a listen, and stupidly forgot what I was listening to it on and dropped the sleeve on the player and after it skipped a few grooves, everything sounded dull and distorted after that. This is why I can’t have nice things. So, CDs and streaming for a bit…

For this round: two from Bloc Party. A Weekend in the City and Four. Every now and then I get on Bloc Party kicks and I don’t necessarily think it was coincidence this week was Bloc Party week. All their albums have some really nice mellow tracks, and then some where they sound like they go all out. And each album progresses their style a bit more, so you’re never getting a Bloc Party fatigue if you binge everything. Two songs in particular grabbed me this week, “Where is Home” from A Weekend in the City (released in 2007) and “Kettling” from Four (2013). It seems like a while ago now, but it’s really not. They still seem incredibly relevant right now. And they’re from England! These kinds of things SHOULDN’T have to be relevant.

Lead singer Kele Okereke posted a version of him playing “Kettling” on his Instagram feed the other day. No caption. Just that.

Kane’s Donuts, May 2020

I walked into the shop with my sunglasses on. It’s a dumb pet peeve when people wear sunglasses inside. I don’t know what happened. I drove up to Kane’s, got in the drive-thru lane, but broke off and grabbed a parking spot because it looked quicker. I usually have my sunny weather driving routine down: throw the car in park, stop the engine, swap out glasses (prescription sunglasses, oh yeah!), make sure I have keys, phone, wallet, etc., get out and lock the door.

Everything got thrown off. I had to take my hat off to throw my elastic-around the head mask on, easier to get on without the brim, and I thought something felt weird, like it was interacting with my glasses weird, but, it usually doesn’t. I also don’t typically always wear hats, but, it’s been a while without a haircut and I was doing everyone a favor. Or me. Routine was off a bit, and I didn’t even realize it until I got back in the car. So now I’m the guy in the shop wearing a mask, hat, and sunglasses.

My order was ready to go, but the guy behind the counter and I were talking for a couple minutes, and then after I realized my error I felt even more like a jackass. I get that so much of conversation is pulled from expressions and body language, and here I am, covering up as much of that as possible. Hence why I like to try and not have these things on during conversation, especially inside.

Regardless, I got my donuts and went down this week’s journey. The sunglasses incident should have been foreshadowing. As I was sampling this selection, I had a lot of questions. Is this worth it? How many will I have to eat? Do I have to? What if I hate donuts at the end of this? What’s the point?

Ok. It’s not that drastic. Those answers are easy. Yes. Who cares. Yes. You won’t. Glory.

Good. That’s settled. Let’s dive in.

Covid-specific Process

Pre-paid pre-orders! Yay! You can jump on their site, pick your location, and schedule a day and time in advance. I don’t know how far out you can go, and I’m sure I can look, but, laziness. I set mine up on Wednesday for a Saturday morning pickup. You must be able to push further out because crullers were already sold out. How am I supposed to be comparing staples across the board if they don’t exist. Does this mean I’m going to have to go back? What is this madness.

I also had butter crunch added in my cart, but, must’ve submitted too late, since I got a substitute in my box. They sold out while I was deliberating my selection. I appreciate the robust system though. Great layout of the menu, everything’s very clear and easy to navigate. While this is also a praise of the backend software (local company too!), credit goes to the folks who have to put all the information in. Teamwork!

But, alas, that’s two staples out of this week’s. PVD didn’t have a butter crunch, but I feel like that’s more of a blue-collar donut place staple, so it won’t be standard everywhere, but a staple none-the-less I feel.

Pickup was easy though. I probably could have stuck in the drive-thru lane, had my order number and just grabbed and went. While sitting in the line though, I saw a few people get a parking spot, walk in and out before I had moved a spot. So I opted to run in quick, and yes, quicker! Get to donuts faster!

The Donuts

Kane’s is a weird mix between what I like to dub blue-collar donuts and fancy donuts. PVD? Fancy donuts, with original and unique flavors and combinations, and usually a higher cost, but that can reflect process, ingredients, etc. A lot of factors. [insert your local donut place here that’s been there forever]? Blue-collar donuts. Less expensive, standard honey dipped/jelly/old fashioned/etc. Sometimes those places are incredible though. Kane’s is somewhere in the middle of that.

I grabbed seven (ok, yes, you’ll see some extra in that box, but was picking up some for a friend). Seems to be my magic number. There were a few on the menu that sound awesome, but I was trying to stick to my donut wheelhouse.

Cookies & Cream
Four donuts (still didn’t make my graphic…)

Cookies & Cream is your typical Oreo generic name. I’m always going to go for something cookies and cream. Simple and classic, and… well you’ll see. Cake is perfect. It’s a light cake but not crumbly, and just the right amount of glaze on the outside to give it a little snap but not be too sweet. The sweetness comes from the top cream which is perfectly reminiscent of Oreo cream filling. and then YESSS KITSCHY CRAP ON TOP with the Oreo pieces. Varying in size, but nothing outside of the realm of bite-sized. I was praising it for not being overly sweet as i got into it, but once i reached about the halfway point, it was starting to be a bit much. But for my first one in this parade, of course I’m going to power through.

Honey Dipped (raised)
Three donuts
Light and not chewy, but squishy. There’s no spring back after a bite. I like the memory foam raised donuts that retain a bit of their shape after a mauling. But they’re generous on the glaze. Good thick layer. Maybe because of the heat though, there wasn’t really a good crispness to it. A thick layer of viscous glaze ended up being a little too sweet for a quality honey dipped (in my eyes at least).

Maple Bacon (raised)
Two donuts
This is the worst kind of donut. It’s always going to be my last choice anywhere. I love bacon. I love maple syrup. But I can’t stand maple bacon flavored things. I’m convinced no one actually likes this, but because of the weird bacon fetish that exists, this flavor persists. And eeevvvverrryyoneee has to have a take on it. And of course, if I’m getting a collection of donuts and there’s room for it, I’ll get it, so I can judge it.

That being said– it’s not overly maple, which I appreciate. Small bacon bits spread out makes it not so overwhelming as far as a single spot on your tongue, but there’s a lot of them. So overall, you’re getting this savory hit trying to compete with the sweetness of the donut itself. It’s a weird combination, and Kane’s has not turned me on to it with this. I’m looking for the one that’ll change my mind, but for now, I motion that these donuts are eradicated from all menus everywhere.

Turtle (cake)
Three donuts
I grabbed a coffee while I was at the shop, but didn’t get a straw. I didn’t want to jeopardize this donut’s welfare. But when I got to this one, I promptly sliced it in half and devoured it. Tastefully though. I’m not a monster (I am).

First, let’s just lead with KITSCHY CRAP ALERT. Heath bits! Caramel! Chocolate drizzle! It’s a chocolate cake donut with a light glaze, but seems denser than the Cookies & Cream cake. Then topped off with a creamy caramel base, heath bits, and chocolate drizzle. And a bonus! Caramel dump right in the middle hole that doesn’t drip down and adhered to the half that I started with, so an extra bit of sweetness– though… not sure if I’m into it.

And I love Heath bars so much, but I’m not getting a ton of Heath essence in this. For how much is on top, I’m not getting what I would expect. This ends up being a heavy one to get through. Or am i just getting donut fatigue? IS THIS WHERE MY HATRED OF DONUTS BEGINS?

Blueberry Cake (…cake…)
Four donuts
Oh. Yes. Blueberry cake. Another donut staple. Denser cake than the others, but a perfect consistency to hold the blueberries. Great glaze coating, not too thick, not too thin, not too sweet. And very flavorful on this one! You want blueberries, here it is. For classic donut flavors, this one has my heart so far.

Créme Brûlée
Two donuts
This was the substitute for the butter crunch. You would think a staple would be subbed with another staple, but since I covered the other staples already, I appreciate the cruveball. But… hmm..

Raised filled donut with a caramelized crunchy sugar thing going on up top. Which makes sense! It’s créme brûlée! Filling was a classic custard. But… You’ll notice I’ll never willingly get a Boston cream. I do not care for the custard. It’s a texture thing. And a taste thing. I’ve just never been wild about it. And I don’t like eating a donut and needing a drip tray. Given that– this was actually pretty good. The custard could turn me. It’s just a lot in a donut. It’s a big donut. And custard-filled are hard to share. Because of the drippiness…

Strawberry Frosted (raised)
Two and a half donuts
Same raised style as the honey dipped, but with a classic strawberry frosting and sprinkles. Now– it wasn’t THAT hot on Saturday. And I kept everything in a fine environment. Why is the frosting getting all melted so quick? Strawberry flavor was definitely there and great in the realm of strawberry frosted donuts (plus sprinkles, so yay), but overall pretty sweet and just that chewy raised donut I’m not really into on this round.

For next-day donuts, the cake and raised do hold up pretty well. Blueberry cake lost a bit of the intensity of the flavor, but texture was pretty good. Raised actually got a little better, texture was more consistent, keeping its shape a little better, like the semi-stale state allows it to settle. The chocolate cake (Turtle) remained pretty similar to the day before. Can’t report on the Créme Brûlée. As of writing, I haven’t tried to get back into it. I didn’t refrigerate it. Should I have refrigerated it? I probably won’t try it. Or, go for it? Or not. Maybe. Probably not. Wasn’t that exciting to begin with.

Overall though… There was a moment where I thought Kane’s was going to be one of my top ranked places in the Boston area. I’m questioning that now. They’re an older traditional place in the area, so maybe it was a bit of me wanting to be nostalgic for local pillars, but Kane’s was the first place I grabbed donuts from after stay at home recommendations were in place for a while, and either I just HOUSED those and wasn’t happy with myself, or I’m just not into Kane’s. Usually I can put plow through at least a couple donuts and maybe only feel shame, but Kane’s are something different.

But I’m only two shops into this deep dive and time will tell.


This one’s easy! All on the site! $3 a pop! Gluten free are $3.50, and I can’t see a fritter price (which you’ll also notice I didn’t grab on this run), since right now it says it’s out of stock. I can’t remember if I wanted to grab an apple fritter or not, but for some reason didn’t… I would like to be testing fritters for all these… hmm…


I grabbed my non-turtle murdering coffee there, since I was out at home and figured I’d give it a go. No cold brew, so not pleased about that, only iced via Back Bay Roasters. I haven’t had a straight iced coffee in a while, and maybe I’m getting a little snobby, but… I was disappointed. It was just coffee, iced. Which I KNOW IS IN THE NAME, but I’ve come to expect so much more from my morning bean water. I’ve been spoiled and I can’t go back.

As I’m actually writing this, I’m drinking my own cold brew from some beans I got from my produce delivery stuff. I can’t get my ratios and time right. But I’d still drink that over a plain iced coffee any day. I wear sunglasses indoors, am snobby about coffee, and am writing a dumb food blog. I’m becoming some sort of a villain.

Donut Album of the Morning

Taylor SwiftRed
Shut up. This album is awesome. I listened to this at some point a while ago, like, a while ago, because I still had it on my iPod that I haven’t used in forever. I can’t remember if it was one of the singles on their that prompted me to listen to it, or what, but fell in love. This is Taylor pre-poppy, overly electronic stuff, still in her country roots. She’s a fantastic songwriter and a lot of her non-poppy stuff is excellent. Heck, her poppy stuff is even great too. I recently gave Reputation another go and once I got past the first few tracks just thinking she sold out, I saw the real T Swift in there. While I like Lover and Reputation, Red is my favorite. There’s some sad stuff in there! But also I love the energetic start of the album with State of Grace. The poppy singles are fun, but I usually tune out during 22. I’m also really into changing sides three times when I put the album on… I’d say shut up, but, no, I don’t care. I own Taylor Swift records and I’m fine with it.

And that’s this week’s roundup.
National Donut Day is June 5th. Just sayin’.

PVDonuts, May 2020

These are weird times. I’ve been judging donut shops on how well they’re handling orders via online orders and doing their pickups, etc. I went to Blackbird on the last day they were open before non-essential businesses closed for the stay at home advisory, and they weren’t sure what their plans were going to be during all this. They were the only ones I was keeping an eye on at the time, but also didn’t plan my donut provisions for the next few months, not really knowing what was going to be happening.

After about a month of really not having to drive anywhere, I had known someone who ventured up to Kane’s and did a pre-order, and I saw their drive through was still open, so popped up there for a few donuts. Definitely went at the WRONG time and a bunch of stuff ended up selling out, but ended up with a honey dipped raised donut and glazed stick (cake). Once I got those bad boys home, I ate them like I’ve never seen a donut in my life. It was like I was punishing myself for not knowing they were open this whole time.

Blackbird finally opened up for online ordering, but only offering pre-packaged 6-packs, no singles or picking flavors. I went for it though on the first day. Good flavor lineup, and it had been a few weeks since I had done donuts, so thought it would be a good weekend treat. I like their cold brew too. Only problem is some of the flavors don’t hold great the next day, and I live alone, so FINE I GUESS I’LL EAT SIX ALL AT ONCE.

This is going to be a problem if no one can stay at home and wear masks and this goes on forever. I knew I’d have to up my running game. I’m not traditionally a runner, but occasionally sign up for races, mostly being 5k, but have signed up for a couple half-marathons. Those I wanted to make sure I was training properly for. But since I have none on my schedule, AND with other gyms and such being closed, I’d have to start running…. multiple times a week… [shudder]. Then I started challenging myself more and doing more hill work.

Meanwhile– someone had sent me a post from Providence Donuts with their current lineup, and how their pre-orders worked. Pre-order dates were hard to come by! Very in demand. PVD has been on my list for a while too, so I was excited to now make getting their donuts more difficult rather than JUST HAVING GONE IN THE BEFORE TIME. But whatever, better late than never.

After checking daily for pre-order dates to open up, I finally see one in a couple days. I select it, then run down the menu and just blindly add one of each that sounds like it’d be amazing. Seven total. I haven’t been there before and had no advance scouting, so I have no idea how big these are or how well they’ll hold up. I also don’t even know how much they are…

Back to running– the day before I’m scheduled to pick them up, I notice a weird new soreness in my ankle. Definitely not a normal running muscle soreness, and I’ve mostly worked all that out by now. APPARENTLY my form isn’t great and I’ve been putting too much stress on one of my Achilles and it got all swollen. Not even a good swole either. So… I have to give that a bit of a rest. Perfect time for a donut binge.


Covid-specific Process

PVD’s pre-order process is pretty simple. Jump on their form, pick your date, pick your pickup time, enter your contact info, add quantities of what you want in the list. No pre-pay though, that’s all done at pickup. If you’ll be more than an hour late, they ask you to contact them, but otherwise they could be released for walk-in customers. No cash at pickup also. I used Apple Pay, so easy enough, but you can use card too.

There’s a pre-order line/pickup window they have set up (currently only Fri-Sun), with a barrier and marked out Xs to keep everyone aware of the 6ft space. I went right at 8am, and not a ton of people were there.

For the walk-in folk, they have a separate line with a similar barrier and Xs, and anyone beyond a certain point is asked to wait across the street and abide by 6ft distancing. I have one question–

WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE NOT PRE-ORDERING? With a limited amount of people allowed in the store at one time, and knowing the general populations penchant for not being prepared at all for picking out donuts, some of them are looking at maybe at least an hour wait I would think. At that point, do you REALLY need it? I’m all about supporting local businesses, but think about your time people! Also, learn what 6ft is. It was madness on the other side of the street.

The Donuts

I grabbed seven. Well, six and a fritter. Ok, four and two crullers and a fritter if we’re going to nitpick. This particular menu also ends at the end of May, so this is just for posterity’s sake or if there are any that pop up again, but I’m also looking at the general quality of raised vs cake vs fritter vs cruller. I also didn’t grab any great pictures because I wasn’t thinking ahead, and then I just mercilessly attacked once I got the box open.

This is going to be a weird batch to start this with. I’ve had A LOT of donuts, but this is probably one of my favorite batches. A colleague of mine has a theory that the area down there has a secret treasure trove of high quality donuts. I’m enamored with what I’ve had around Boston, but I had to go to Providence to have my mind blown.

French Toast (brioche)
Three and a half donuts (out of five). I want to make little donut graphics for this BUT GIVE ME TIME
Love at first bite. Which, yeah, is weird that I gave it three and a half donuts, but let me explain. This was a perfect raised brioche donut. An overall excellent fry that created a thin, crispy shell to keep its form, and a light, fluffy interior that just melt in your mouth. THAT’s what I was in love with. For my first venture in to PVD, I was impressed.

I didn’t really pick up a ton of french toast-specific essence, nothing that really reminded me that I was eating french toast instead of a donut, the way that some french toast bagels might. It has a maple glaze, spiced cream cheese frosting, and brown sugar crumble– I don’t typically put that on my french toast… but maybe I’m missing out? I thought the frosting and glaze and crumble ended up making it a little too sweet and size (about as big as my hand) not ideal for eating the whole thing.


I ate the whole thing.

Cereal Milk (brioche)
Four donuts
Kept the brioche train rolling and grabbed this one next. Definitely picked up the cereal milk taste, which I’m assuming is in the glaze (can’t find a specific write-up). A little sweet, but that may be attributed to the 700 pounds of fruity pebbles coating it. Not complaining, just, may have been a little sweeted out from the previous donut.

Ate the whole thing.

Confetti Cruller
Four and half donuts
I love crullers. If I’m ever forced to go to Dunkin’ and they have a cruller, that’s my weak running tendon. ESPECIALLY if they have some kitschy crap on it. Put extra frosting on it? Give me six. Put sprinkles too? I’ll mercy kill it so quick. PVD’s cruller is so fluffy and smooth and perfect glaze and the sprinkles on top just light up my world. I couldn’t give it a whole five donuts because I’m afraid of perfection. So let’s just grade that on a curve.

Was [semi] responsible, waited an hour, ate half.

Birthday Cookie (brioche)
Four donuts
Another brioche, but this has a cookie on top! Pro tip: put a cookie on top of a turd, call it a donut, I’ll probably eat it. Funfetti sugar cookie on top of brioche with a funfetti/cookie crumble. Can’t go wrong.

Managed to keep myself to half, maybe an hour later.

Blueberry Cake (…cake)
Four donuts
Blueberry cake is one of those staples that most shops have and good to use as a baseline. PVD did not disappoint. Some cake donuts are too dense, some too light and crumbly, this was perfectly on the bullseye. Moist and light, and the blueberry glaze wasn’t too strong, but a perfect balance of flavor and glazey crisp to round out the cake– and bonus: frosted all the way around.

Time is a blur at this point, but ate the whole thing. Sweetness did not overcome me.

Triple Berry Fritter
Four donuts
This is a big boy. Dense, but in a good way, not overwhelmingly so. You want something heartier than a cake donut, and just a mess of doughy goodness. Very pleasant fruit action, but just the right amount to balance out the fritter, but still a good thick enough to get a good texture around. A wasp got into the house and was particularly drawn to this one.

Ate a third.

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle (filled)
Three donuts
Ate some real dinner in there at some point, just so I wouldn’t feel like a total glutton going right for this. Good donut quality, but my qualms were sweetness again. And the cookie is too crispy to cut half of or get through with a bite. Yes, I take issue with hard to navigate kitschy toppings. I also wasn’t totally on board with the filling. Creamy, but had a snickerdoodle spice or something to it that was just too much. Sweetness and spice that took away some enjoyment. And it’s big. Definitely one to split with people.

This is where you’ll learn how I approach donuts too. I refuse to feel shame. Ate the whole thing. (What! I don’t like filled donuts sitting for too long, and I wanted to give it a full taste chance.)

Bonus PSA: Don’t get a filled donut and smash it open for your insta’. Stop. Just stop.

Vanilla Sprinkled (brioche)
Four and a half donuts
I had the other half of the sprinkled cruller the next morning, and was surprised how well it held up. Got a little dried out, and I hypothesized because the inside was now exposed (I just left everything in the shut box, no extra sealing). So I had high hopes for a full brioche. If you have to get one donut for a quick breakfast treat (ya know, once things open normally again, not waiting in line for sixteen hours), this is a solid choice. All the previous brioche notes + sprinkles and a great glaze.

Full send!

Honey Cruller
Four donuts

See above. Minus sprinkles. Great stuff. Full send!

Also ate the rest of the birthday cookie. Still held up!


I have no idea! There’s no pricing on their site, and none via the pre-order. All I know was the total: $31 and change. And I threw a little tip on top. So– looking at almost $4.50/donut. Didn’t get a line-item receipt so not sure if brioche/cruller/filled/fritters differ. I also hit no receipt on the screen… so…. my bad.

There’s an ice cream shop that is doing pre-orders and I think jumped their milkshake prices up 100% right now. I forgot what they were before, but they definitely weren’t as high as I paid recently. So maybe that’s what’s happening here? Specialty shops differ a bit here and there, but all hover around the same price, and hole-in-the-wall places are much lower. This is higher than the average though. When I eventually get a ranking system together, this will definitely have to be a weighted factor somehow. Not saying that’s a knock on PVD, because these were ABSOLUTELY worth it.


When I do weekend donuts, it’s nice to sit down, take some time to work through a couple or a dozen, grab a coffee, and throw an album on. Good morning light, usually no landscapers going bonkers yet.. just a good peaceful way to start the day.

PVDonuts does have coffee in store, via other companies, but didn’t check if they were doing that for pre-orders/walk-ins. But I had some cold brew concentrate from Blackbird at home. And I don’t think I adhere to the mixing standards correctly, so I’m making some pretty strong stuff. GONNA MURDER THE DAY.

Donut Album of the Morning

Midnight RerunsForce of Nurture
I like putting physical albums on, kinda makes me feel more deliberate about what I’m listening to and feels like you’re a little more connected. Also can’t get lost in something else if you have to flip over to side B. But this is a group out of Milwaukee a friend turned me on to. This album rocks my face off. Fun riffs and bass lines and side B starts (Note on a Bill) and ends stroonnngggg. Really love the ending.

Not sure what’s up next for donuts. Blackbird does a new menu weekly. Kane’s is out there. Meanwhile, going to go ice my ankle some more. Maybe my stomach.

Just What in the Hell Is This!

Hi! Welcome! Hello!

As I was stuffing my face with donuts the other day and trying to write overly detailed descriptions to friends, I had a thought. Wouldn’t it be nice to have my notes on donuts I’ve eaten so when I forget about them after a donut blackout I can reference them? It’s a shame going to a donut shop and not remembering what you’ve had before and felt about it so you don’t make that mistake again. I know it’s just a donut, but these are calories and sometimes a Brinks truck we’re talking about.

I tried to think of what kind of notebook layout would work best for this, or should it be digital? I like physically writing things, but my handwriting is trash, and also indexing is a little slower. Something digital would be good, and flexible for later additions, but– actually, I really don’t have any downsides to something like a spreadsheet, other than the fact I just don’t want to do it.

Enter the blog format. Now I get to yell into the internet and pretend people care! And I think I’m still grieving over the implosion of Deadspin and missing a similar format. I figure I can step up and be the hero the internet needs.

There are plenty of donut shops in the Metro Boston area, fancy and hole-in-the-wall, and Dunkin’. I’ve hit a bunch already, but never wrote detailed notes, so I gueesssss I’ll have to get back out there again. FOR YOU. You’re welcome.

And who knows, once I get going, I’ll probably branch out and cover other stuff. There are plenty of good bakeries and bad bakeries and weird pastry stuffs out there that I like eating and complaining about.

But, Travis, you ask, why are YOU writing this? While I’m not uniquely qualified, I’d like to think I’m semi-qualified. I’ve had a sourdough starter for a little over a year now and do a loaf once a week. While they’re not perfect, I appreciate the process and tinkering with recipes and processes. I feel that I can be a little more appreciative of bakery’s work put into their product, and whatever Dunkin’ does I guess. Hopefully this also gives be a better vocabulary bank to pull from when describing tastes and textures other than “it’s yum”.

I’ve also tried my hand at fancy pastries and donuts! That never goes well! But I appreciate the process there as well and know how much work goes into creating something that’s high quality.

Or none of this qualifies me and I’m just spewing out nonsense. Either way: I’m achieving my goal of keeping my donut notes somewhere, and if these help someone somewhere once, then that’s a bonus! Don’t make bad donut choices!

Also as a bonus– if I feel like hustling more and get into a rhythm with this, I may have opportunities to create dumb videos around topics. I also have a penchant for dumb bracket competitions, so maybe even look at a staple(s) between most donut shops and have a FIGHT.

And as I eat my way through different shops and flavors, you can follow along as I try and stave off weight gain and diabetes, and see who I can get blocked by on Instagram (Blackbird once already– I dropped a hot take in a comment that a flavor was pretty bad).

First write up coming: PVD!