Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Doughnut Day! We had a taste of doughnuts on my quest not too long ago, but that was for National Creamed Filled Doughnut Day. Today was straight up Doughnut Day and boy was I excited. I think my excitement came from being trolled by great looking doughnuts on Instagram. I blame Becky.
Becky shared a picture with me not too long ago from a new doughnut shop that opened in Providence called PV Donuts. They opened up on Memorial Day in Providence at the corner of Ives and Wickenden which I think is considered the Fox Point neighborhood. It’s run by some young bakers who are committed to making great tasting doughnuts by hand and from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. They open at 8 am (except on Monday and Tuesday) and stay open until they sell out. They post their creations on Instagram pretty regularly and it is pure food porn (especially if you fancy a doughnut or two). Becky shared a picture of theirs with me and said we had to try them at some point. That’s when I started following them and now every day my Instagram feed features their creations, and that’s when I start to drool.
I had an eye appointment last week in Providence and I realized it was right in the same neighborhood as PV Donuts. That got me excited and as soon as I was finished at the doctor’s, I b-lined right for their store which has a teal doughnut logo hanging above the facade. But alas, that was a Tuesday and that’s how I learned they were closed for that day. After a few minutes of pressing my face against the windows as I looked inside in sorrow, tears streaming down my cheeks, I made my way home. Then I realized that National Doughnut Day was coming and I knew what my plan would be.
By the way, the Grammarist tells me that the dictionary-approved spelling for this special treat is doughnut. The shortened ‘donut’ has been around since the late 1800s, but it wasn’t popularized until the late 20th century when Dunkin’ Donuts made it ubiquitous. I just wanted to clear that up because it was confusing me.
I woke up early this morning and made my way to Providence. Lola was busy working on her computer so she was glad to get me out of her hair. I was just excited to be on a doughnut hunt. I got there at about 10 am and there was a line that stretched from their front door and down the street (probably about 40 people deep). That’s when I realized that I was standing in line on a Saturday morning, playing on my iPhone, dressed in my hoodie and baseball cap, waiting for some gourmet doughnuts. I was officially a hipster.
The line wasn’t too bad and they crank you through. On the weekends, there’s a six doughnut limit, so that moved things along too. Once I got inside, I was bubbling with excitement and all my anger from having waited quickly faded. Inside is clean and nicely decorated but sparse too – just enough counter space to make it work. There is one large communal table and then a sitting area with couches, but most people were just getting doughnuts and leaving. At last it was my time and I ordered up my selections. The service was fast, cheerful and speedy. I paid using Apple Pay from my phone (remember, I’m a hipster) and was out the door with the goods in hand. I immediately texted Becky a picture to let her know I had made it!
They had about a dozen flavors available which made it hard to keep it to six. I went with (clockwise from top left if you look at photo above): Carrot Cake, Salted Maple Pecan, Maple Bacon with Revival Brewing Beer Drizzle, Cereal Milk and Brown Butter Cranberry. For the sixth option, I opted for Dave’s Coffee Milk Donut Holes (pictured below) which come with a little syringe of Dave’s Coffee Milk that you squeeze into the donut before your bite (you get six donut holes per order which counts as one doughnut in your six limit).
When I got home, I set out a sampling for Lola and I to try, cutting a piece of each doughnut and cutting it on a plate and I brewed some coffee to help wash down our palette. I also set aside a tasting of all for Becky that she picked up later in the day. Then, Lola and I sat down with our plates and went around the horn and tasted them all. These are gourmet doughnuts and are different than the doughnuts you get at your coffee shop or bakery. They offer two kinds of doughnuts: old fashioned and yeasted brioche. The old fashioned ones are made from cake-like batter and are leavened with baking powder or baking soda to create a texture that is denser and often a bit crustier. The yeasted brioche doughnuts use yeast as a leavener, resulting in a light, airy doughnuts that often have stretchy (rather than crumbly) interiors and feel lighter in-hand. That was good to know for our taste test because we tried to figure out why some were light and airy and others were more dense.
I hate to say it, but they were all just good, but not great. Maybe my expectations were too high. The glazes and toppings were great especially the bacon one which had a great combination of flavors (always good to have some savory in a sea of sweetness). I really liked the frosting-like glaze on the Cranberry donut and Lola was a fan of the Cereal Milk topping especially with Fruity Pebbles mixed in. But the doughnuts themselves seemed dry and that took away from the overall taste (Lola and Becky agreed). We were really excited for the best doughnuts of our life, and unfortunately they were not. The donut holes were a little better because the Dave’s Syrup gave the inside some moisture, but otherwise they had the same texture as the others. Maybe they need to be eaten fresh from the fryer for best flavor. Regardless, our hopes were too high and it was kind of a let down.
Would I try them again? Yes, absolutely, although I would stick to just one or two doughnuts. The fact is that I love the concept. I love having some local bakers working hard at something they love and making a product that people line up for. I love that they are being creative and reimagining it all. I love that they share these great pictures of their work with us too. They are following their dream and I think anyone following their dreams should be supported (especially if they dream of doughnuts). Maybe today was just an off day. I’ll try them again and tell them to keep up the good work.
I think that at the root of to all, I may not have the hankering for gourmet doughnuts (maybe I’m not such a hipster). I’m more of a traditionalist. I’ve waited in traffic for over an hour for a box of Krispy Kreme’s and I’d do it again. I’ve wrestled through people trying to get their Sunday malasada at Ma’s Donuts so I could get my hands on a marble glazed cruller. I’ve withstood the rage-inducing morning traffic on Rte. 111 in Windham, NH to get a box of Klemm’s doughnuts to be the office hero. Those are my kind of doughnuts. I’m a glazed guy. An Entenmann’s Crumb doughnut kind of guy. I’m going to stick to what I know.
But I’m always up for any doughnut celebration.
Next Up: National Nachos Day