August 28, 2012

DK Donuts (Review)

So..................................................................................................................who doesn't like donuts?

DK Donuts & Little Bean Espresso (1300 W State St, Boise, ID 83702 (208) 385-7480) has a special place in my heart.  For about a year I lived just across the street, in a dilapidated house that contained no less than four raging alcoholics at a time.  My place was in the basement, where I avoided much of the drama in exchange for mildew.  I didn't have much money at the time, and most of my food came in the form of Ramen noodles or canned food graciously given by churches.  Still, everyone needs an occasional treat, and mine was DK.  Every other weekend, said basement would be filled with a collection of my nerd friends, where we would stay up late into the night playing Dungeons and Dragons.  After the party had slain the heroes (because of course, everyone wanted to play as the bad guys,) we would venture over to DK, where plenty of fresh donuts could be found in spite of the late hour.



Our party's Minotaur would stay in character, getting himself an entire box of donuts, which he would often devour at the time.  The rest of us were always good for at least two; famished from our fantasy fights, the sugary treats would revive us just long enough that we could return to my room and level up.  My favorites were always the indulgent  Boston Creme donuts, which I would often pair with a simple sugar-dusted yeast donut.

I must have eaten hundreds of those pastries during my time in that neighborhood, but things change.  I moved farther away.  More importantly, a scourge descended upon the land in the form of Krispy Kreme.  Despite an inferior product which, like McDonald's fries, is only really edible hot, the Kreme was able to use the hype of their arrival and their name to draw people away from the venerable DK.  This in spite of the fact that Krispy Kreme isn't even actually in Boise.  People were heading to Meridian just because of the gimmicky "Hot Now" sign.  (Although, in fairness, one of my few problems with DK is that they refuse to give you a donut until it has cooled properly, or at least they did at the time.  If heat can make a bland Krispy Kreme taste good, how I would have loved to bite into a hot bear claw from DK...but I digress.)  With the national chain's success, DK's star has lost some of its luster.  There was a time it was open all night.  Then they began to stay open only until the bars closed, which admittedly made more sense.  But it has gotten to be where I would head to work for my ten pm shift and the lights were already out.  I didn't see DK for a couple of years.

Cut to last Friday.  My birthday.  Wife was up already, staring at me as I came to.  "Want a donut for breakfast?"

Yes, yes I did.  We loaded up the kids in the car and headed to DK.
My kids--both nine--had never been in a real donut shop.  Grandpa likes to spoil them with Albertson's donuts when they go to the store, but they were wide eyed as they viewed the counter.  The lady working that day asked what we needed, but it was clear we were going to need a minute.  When it came down to it, Wife got a maple bar, and the kids got long twisty donuts that resemble a maple or chocolate bar, but hide a strip of cinnamon down the middle.  I got the apple fritter, because while the Boston is my favorite, you can get a fake one at the grocery store, and there is no faking an apple fritter.  

Back inside the confines of the car, we devoured our repast.  I'd also gotten a cup of coffee, and it was a good one.  It stuck the perfect balance of dark and mild, and was perfect with our confections.  My fritter was crumbly and sweet, with plenty of hints of apple hidden in its folds.  I never even got to try the kids' treats, they were gone before I'd taken two bites, but Wife's maple bar was soft and chewy, and while the frosting was slightly unexceptional, the quality of its vessel was far superior to grocery versions.  
But that's not where the story ends.  We woke up the next morning, still bushed from an evening spent at the Western Idaho Fair, and as I headed to the kitchen to make some eggs, Wife stopped me.  

"I have to try it."   The "it" in question was the bacon maple bar, which DK famously ripped off from another store in Portland.  The kids didn't mind.  We didn't often over-indulge in sweets, and they were all for this change of pace.  We returned to the shop and this time I knew without question I wanted a bear claw.  You can see, even with the light flooding the picture above, that this thing just oozes filling.  They only had apple, which was sad, because their blueberry is so fantastic that I just had to delete a cliche about it being in outer space, but it was still great.  

And yeah, that whole bacon thing was pretty good, too.  I've been getting tired of the bacon meme, as good as everyone's favorite meat candy is, it's not that good.  But sweet-salty is still one of the best combinations out there, and maple and bacon go together pretty well.  If anything, I would have preferred a stronger bacon taste, but it's definitely something I will eat again, and soon.  While my waistline will not allow me to indulge quite as frequently as I did in my dungeon days, this trip has reminded me of the joys of a good donut.  



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