Long time readers of this blog will note that I have a mother who also writes a blog, which, so far as I can tell, is the most special bond between parent and child that exists in the world.
Anyway, a while back she did a small series rating some of the nation’s most impressive (and most overhyped) donut restaurants, ranging from Seattle to New York and stopping most places in between. For the sake of that analogy, by the way, Miami is not between those two cities, because none of us had ever been to Miami until a year after the series was posted.
Fast forward to about a year ago, when the Benderson clan decided to escape the Mid-Atlantic chill of Washington D.C. and flee to Miami Beach for a week of swimming and ubering to delicious food locations, and you’ve remedied part of the list issue. Our fearless food leader, whose former blog, uncomplicating ideas, shall ever been in our hearts (#RIP), discovered The Salty Donut, which was at this time a small food truck with a huge following.
The Salty Donut truck was located in Wynwood, a neighborhood notable for it’s impressive murals, burgeoning art scene, and being the first place in the United States where health officials detected the Zika virus. Zika was not yet a pressing issue in North America, however, so we set out to secure ourselves some donuts. We ubered for about half an hour to get off Miami beach and through the city to Wynwood, wandered around the murals for enough time to secure a wonderful photo of something or other that achieved it’s destiny of becoming one of my computer desktop backgrounds, and then headed for the truck.
Then the unthinkable happened. The line was so long, and the truck was so small, that we failed in our mission. We walked away empty handed, devastated, and hungry. Then we went to a burger place called Kush and things improved dramatically, but still, we had eaten no donuts.
We returned home donut-less, and then a bunch of insignificant things happened like me graduating high school and going off to college and getting second place in a battle of the bands that will allow my goofy cover band to play a festival for potential thousands of my classmates. Then, this year, right now, as I type this, I returned to Miami with some of my friends for spring break.
Being a good Bendon, I have spent much of the trip to this point walking to and spending all of my money on delicious foods. My snobbery level is high (I went to Bubba Gump Shrimp Whatever with my friends because they wanted to and physically shuddered walking through the door because seriously those places are so damn expensive for being super average, at best). Also, my aversion to spending money on Uber combined with my knowledge of restaurants in Miami Beach and our hotel’s location downtown has led me to average about 15 miles of walking per day (#humblebrag #withoutthehumble #justbragging).
Which brings us to today. It’s currently 11:26. I’ve been up for a little under 2 hours, and I think my friends are still asleep, despite their (admittedly forced) pledge to wake up and get donuts with me. I got up and started walking at about 9:45, and, as is tradition, called my father so that I’d have someone to talk to that was awake and appreciated things other than constantly and unsuccessfully searching for babes.
[Editor’s Note: the author would like to make it clear that he likes his friends, but that this is literally their mindset at the moment. The author thinks they underestimated the negative impact being relatively average looking dudes from Ohio would affect them in a city full of very attractive people of both biological sexes, and is very happy with his own strategy of filling the empty space in his heart with fried pastry].
30 to possibly-50-I’m-not-really-sure minutes later, I arrived at my destination, the brand new (to me) brick and mortar version of the Salty Donut. The store is located in the same neighborhood as the truck was. Actually, it’s in a new exposed metal and brick mini mall type storefront, with large glass windows and wooden tables out front where one can sit and burn the bejesus out of their neck.
Inside there’s one large table filled with presumably strangers chilling on their laptops and enjoying some expensive but well crafted coffee while picking at the remains of their deep fried deliciousness. The donuts themselves are kept behind a glass counter, visible to the public. The line, when I arrived, was near nonexistent, though it has now grown to a slow but steadily moving crowd of 20 donut pilgrims, shuffling ever closer to extreme tastiness in the form of circular dough.
The options are many, though due to the budget limit of this reporter, only one more donut that should reasonably have been purchased was tasted (these things are huge), and all I can report on is the maple bacon and the nutella hazelnut covered circle of greatness oh my god so delicious woooooooooo.
The maple bacon, which I ate half of on both sides of the nutella, was delicious. The donut was perfectly chewy and thick, providing excellent mouth feel and fillingness, and could totally have served as a meal for your local 3000 calorie a day consuming college student by itself. But what’s the fun in that, I ask you? How do you spend more than your budget without getting another, I also ask, because I am fiscally responsible except when donuts or sushi are involved.
In order to solve that problem, I ordered and devoured the nutella donut, a circle (no hole) of brioche donut with a nutella cream filling, covered in hazelnuts and meant to be eaten by higher lifeform. Well, maybe it wasn’t that good. Then again, if I was a god I’d probably eat a fair number of donuts because I would never end up fat.
Ok, back to the point. These donuts were delicious. The options were not too small, though not impressively expansive, so they lose maybe one point for that, and the price for two donuts and a medium iced latte ($12), is entirely more doable if you’ve got a job, which I’m assuming most other customers here do.
Do-Rite in Chicago still holds the title for best donut in the country, because even the nutella donut of greatness doesn’t compare to the fresh chocolate raised that raises questions about the meaning of life itself.
Blue Star in Portland is an equally good if not superior donut fabricator, and their variety and location in the city of Portland bumps them over The Salty Donut as well.
The only other superior donut is in New York, at the Donut Plant. Because damn, those creme brulee donut bites of greatness and whatever that chocolate cake one is are awesome.
It’s possible that my three months without quality donuts have skewed my taste buds and reviewing skills, or that I’m justifying my 12 dollar expenditure by rating The Salty Donut fourth best in the nation. But for now, pending further review, that’s where they go. And based on the line that’s outside right now, I have confidence that they’ll stay there.