It’s 7:00 a.m., I tell myself. 7:00 a.m. On a Saturday! Why am I up? Why am I traversing across town, shivering from being sleepy and bleary eyed? What am I, crazy? I am. I am totally crazy. What could possibly be so important?! Some may not understand. Others may laugh. However, there are some people who will know exactly where I am coming from. Three words: hot fresh doughnuts. I am on my way to beat the crowd to the fall flavors release party at a doughnut bakery. Welcome to the daily frenzy that is Glazed and Infused.
Those who know me well will find my doughnut obsession surprising. I don’t have a sweet tooth and desserts are lost on me for the most part. But let me ask you: have you ever met anyone who turned down a fresh doughnut? I have yet to meet that person. Doughnuts are magic. They seem to have universal appeal. They can be consumed any time of day. Doughnuts are the fried chicken of dessert world: they are delicious for breakfast or dinner, go as well with a cup of coffee as they do with a glass of champagne, and provide a canvas for endless flavor combinations. That maybe key to my affinity for them. Doughnuts can combine the sweet and the savory in many different ways.
This is precisely why I am taking a bus and a train on the wrong side of dawn to the opposite side of town to taste doughnuts at Glazed and Infused. The folks at this particular doughnut shop are fond of big flavors and bold combinations. Don’t believe me? Try the maple bacon Long John, the yeast raised doughnut with real maple glaze and a whole strip of crispy peppered bacon on top. This is a whole breakfast, the sweet and the spicy and the savory, wrapped into a neat little package. This flavor combo isn’t your style? Try Salted Caramel Crunch: apple-cinnamon doughnut with salted caramel glaze and crunchy peanuts. Taffy Apple, Concord Grape Glazed, Carrot Cake, Creme Brulee, Pumpkin Old Fashioned. All unique. All baked fresh daily. All delicious.
I am first in line. That’s what happens when you get up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday. I stand inside the shop, inhaling the intoxicating aroma of fresh yeast dough that renders the air delicious in a two-block radius. Bleary eyed no more, I am clutching a cup of hot java, waiting with the patience of a saint. No, really. The aroma alone is enough to drive one crazy.
It’s all-hands-on-deck time at Glazed and Infused. James Gray, the jovial general manager and the King of All Things Doughnut, is hustling about, prepping for the party. And what a party it is! In the corner a DJ is setting up. Something tells me this maybe the earliest gig he’s ever played. James directs trays and trays of doughnut samples to be prepared, since a large crowd is expected. Coffee and hot cider are steaming. A line is forming behind me quickly. It is out the door now, spilling onto the sidewalk. Swiftly, I taste the samples, grab more coffee and a couple dozen doughnuts for those fortunate enough to cross paths with me today. I take a seat at a sidewalk table and just watch.
People come in throngs. Kids of all ages are reaching for doughnut samples. It is as busy as I’ve ever seen a bakery. The stream of people is continuous. Doughnuts are flying out the door by dozen upon dozen. As I sip my coffee and try to ignore Justin Bieber tunes, I think to myself how doughnuts make everyone feel like a kid again. They are at home on our breakfast tables, as an after dinner dessert or even as wedding cake or edible party favor. Beautifully decorated simple pieces of dough, they make people go nuts for them. Why is that? Must be magic.