Month: June 2016

A Doughnut-less Weekend

No doughnut analysis this week. I was out of town this weekend, and due to a flight delay (caused by a malfunctioning air conditioner on the plane), I got home past my bedtime. It wasn’t past Gibson’s bedtime, though – they’re always open, which is another reason to love that place.

Gibson’s was in  the news this weekend, showing they know how to make doughnuts a celebration (not that eating a doughnut in and of itself isn’t a reason to celebrate): Memphis-based band Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors performed at Gibson’s and bought everyone a doughnut. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a concert – eating tastee doughnuts! According to one news report, however, people were throwing some doughnuts off the roof.

PEOPLE OF MEMPHIS! You were taught better manners than that!

Now for a bit of a diversion from doughnuts: Although this is strictly a doughnut blog, I wanted to share photos of these cookies from my hair salon in Houston, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The stylists at Studio 3 sure knows how to celebrate a decade of beauty, don’t they?

Studio 3 cookies studio 3 cookies 2.htm

I ate the pink brush-shaped cookie. It was very good.

Speaking of cookies (and one should always speak of cookies), if you like the maple bacon flavor featured in last week’s segment of the doughnut trek and would like to try it in cookie form, head on over to Cousin Gwen’s baking blog and try these tastee maple bacon cookies. I’m trying to figure out if Cousin Gwen wrote secret messages with the maple glaze on the tops of the cookies. She’s just that sneaky! (But in a good way.)

 

 

 

 

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Week 3 – Eat Your Fruits (& Veggies)!

June 17, 2016

Before we get to the doughnuts, I need to explain my breakfast philosophy: I like every breakfast to include protein and one serving of fruit (or vegetables). After Friday’s breakfast, though, I was down to two strawberries, far less than a full serving. I needed more fruit for my Saturday morning breakfast so I wouldn’t start the slow slide toward scurvy! Obviously, the way to  get a full fruit serving was via a doughnut. So at my weekly trip to Gibson’s, I got the Raspberry Filled and Blueberry doughnuts. I noticed Maple Bacon was available this week, so I got that one as well. (I have family members who are obsessed with bacon.)

Raspberry Filled

raspberry-filled-2-e1466382970680

There is a LOT of raspberry filling in this one. It is all packed into the center of the doughnut, leaving about a half inch margin or more of doughnut. Normally, I would want the filling spread out closer to the edges so I could taste the raspberry with each bite, but the glazed doughnut is so good, I didn’t mind.

This doughnut is also very, ahem, filling. As in, plan for a small salad for lunch. And maybe for dinner. (Full disclosure: I had half the Blueberry with the Raspberry Filled.)

It’s also fun to eat this doughnut – with all the strategizing about which bite to eat next to keep all the filling from dripping down onto the plate.  I’m not being sarcastic here. The eating experience was enjoyable.

I liked this doughnut, but I think I would have liked it more if the raspberry taste had been stronger. Others might appreciate the subtle taste. Note: this is one of my mother’s favorite of Gibson’s doughnuts.

Tastee score: 7

So sorry, Momma!

(Momma later explained that to get the full effect of the raspberry, my first bite should have included the raspberry. I will remember this next time. Because there will be a next time.)

Blueberry

No subtle fruit flavor here! The blueberry taste fills your mouth immediately. Does Gibson’s use fresh blueberries for this doughnut? If not, then I blame those canned blueberries that come in the boxed blueberry muffin mix for confusing my palate.

This is one of their more cake-y doughnuts. The doughnut-iness and blueberry-ness match delightfully. Look at all the blueberries!

Blueberry 1

There is a distinct possibility I made up my morning fruit deficit with this doughnut.

Tastee score: 9

(No, I’m not like that French judge. I really want to reserve the 10 for truly outstanding doughnuts, and I’m still at the beginning of my doughnut trek.)

Maple Bacon

A note about the Gibson’s staff: they placed the paper they use to pick up the doughnuts right over the top of the Maple Bacon doughnut, keeping it from rubbing against the other doughnuts. So barely any of the bacon pieces had fallen off when I got my bag of taste-ness home.

Maple Bacon 1

It’s like the bacon crumbles had their own kind of guard. I don’t know if this was intentional, but I’m going to choose to believe the Gibson’s staff believes their doughnuts are works of art that must be carefully protected on their journey to their new home.

On to the doughnut itself:

I have tried other Maple Bacon doughnuts. Usually, either the maple taste or the bacon taste wins out. Or the maple taste is more sugary than mapley. In fact, I chose to save half the Blueberry to eat after the Maple Bacon, just in case it was too salty.

I shouldn’t have been concerned, however. The Gibson’s version is pretty good. I like how the bacon is crumbled into small pieces on top, which makes the bacon taste present, but not overpowering. The maple glaze flavor was not very prominent, similar to my experience with the Chocolate with Sprinkles. I heated both in the microwave for about 10 seconds. I suspect the heating is melting the flavored glaze just enough to dilute the taste. At some point, I will have a re-do for these two flavors.

Tastee score: 7

Note: I ate the Maple Bacon doughnut and half the Blueberry for breakfast on Sunday: all the necessary breakfast food groups in doughnut form!

If you like maple bacon favors and you like cookies, stay tuned: I’ll point you in the direction of a tastee maple bacon cookie!

Week 2 – Let’s try some variety

June 10, 2016

If I learned anything from my first week of Gibson’s doughnut menu trekking, it was that two doughnuts were not enough, so for Week 2, I got – you guessed it – THREE doughnuts: Glazed, Old-Fashioned, and Chocolate with Sprinkles.

I’m going to review them in the reverse order that I ate them:

Chocolate with Sprinkles

I ate this one last – on Sunday evening (after buying it on Friday night). This doughnut is aesthetically pleasing: the milk chocolate glaze really sets off the brightly colored sprinkles.

See them there on the second row from the top?

Photo from Gibson’s Facebook page

So, so pretty.

But y’all, I think I made a mistake by waiting so long to eat this doughnut. It was a tad dry on the inside, despite my faith in the vacuum-sealing powers of microwave storage. I was also expecting a tad more chocolate-y taste than my taste buds experienced, but again, I might have waited too long to eat it. I heated it up in the microwave – could that have diminished the taste?

Tastee score: 6

I will revisit the Chocolate with Sprinkles and eat it closer to the buy date. I bet it will get a higher score next time.

Old-Fashioned

For the full review of this doughnut, see my last post. Week 2 demonstrated a solid consistency: the old-fashioned was just as tastee as last week’s. Something about the old-fashioned makes me want to immediately eat another one.

Tastee score: I’m keeping it at a 9, just in case the Nadia Comaneci of doughnuts is on the horizon. Which brings me to:

Glazed

Oh. My. Word.

Easily the best glazed doughnut I’ve ever had in my entire life. For reals. (As a lawyer, I’m an officer of the court, so I’m bound BY LAW to give the honest truth.)

To appreciate the glory of this glazed doughnut, some background: Either because of or despite its relative simplicity, it seems nearly every other doughnut shop can’t get this reliable stand-by quite right. The inside is either too flaky and dry, or it’s too dense, approaching an old-fashioned-type consistency, but not all the way to that point, resulting in something that kind of tickles the doughnut itch, but doesn’t really scratch it. Also, lots of doughnut shops can’t get the glaze right – it crumbles off onto your plate (or skirt. Or floor.) just by touching it. So you end up eating a dough-flavored doughnut, or desperately trying to hold the rapidly crumbling glaze onto the doughnut as you put it in your mouth so you can experience some modicum of sweetness.

Not so with Gibson’s.

The fine folks there have created the perfect glazed doughnut. Dare I say it is the Holy Grail of doughnuts? The inside is light but exactly the doughnut-y consistency your heart dreams about. The glaze stays perfectly in place ON the doughnut where it should be with minimal crumbling. And I ate it on Sunday morning, so it was over 24 hours old, but held its flawless tastee-ness for that long. It is sweet … so sweet! But just enough to make you happy, not so much that you want a Frito afterward to cleanse your palate.

Tastee score: A Perfect 10.

Photo from Gibson’s Facebook page

Don’t you want them ALL?

I’m not the only one who raves about the Gibson’s glazed doughnut: so does foodie and cookbook author Alton Brown. See his ode to the Gibson’s glazed doughnut here.

National Doughnut Day

June 3, 2016

Fittingly, I began my trek through Gibson’s menu on National Doughnut Day. I got to the store at around 9:00 pm, and the line was out the door – almost all the way down to the next business. So many Memphians knew where to celebrate National Doughnut Day! Everyone in line waited patiently, as we all knew the tastee-ness that awaited us.The line moved quickly, though, due to the efficiency of the staff. Or it could have been due to the fact that Gibson’s was nearly OUT of doughnuts! (Fewer choices = less decision time = faster line.)

Memphis nearly ate Gibson’s out of doughnuts!

The only options were powdered and old-fashioned. I ordered two old-fashioneds and headed home to indulge.

I didn’t take a photo of the doughnuts because ate them too quickly. I found this photo on the interwebs, but full disclosure: this is NOT a Gibson’s old-fashioned doughnut. Gibson’s doughnuts don’t need accessorizing:

Photo from PeachesPlease.com

But it gives you the general idea.

I held myself to one doughnut when I got home so I could stretch out my enjoyment as long as possible. A quick heat-up in the microwave made it tear apart fairly easily, so I could eat it in smaller bites, politely, you know, the way your mother expects you to eat at a big family dinner with the good china.

The old-fashioned is not an especially attractive doughnut, but the cake-iness was lovely. The taste was a perfect balance between cake and doughnut. Sweet, in a “sugar should really be good for you” way, but not in a “Lord, have mercy, this is just sugar” way.

I ate the second doughnut on Saturday morning, and it was still fresh and cakey. (I stored it in the microwave, because I’ve been told it vacuum seals whatever you put in there. You kitchen scientists can debate that fact on your own.) As soon as I ate the last bite, I wanted more, but sadly, I had not anticipated the amount of tastee-ness I had brought home with me.

Tastee score: 9.

It’s possible I will adjust the score up to a 10, but this was the first doughnut. You know how in the Olympics, the first gymnast to perform his or her floor routine usually gets a lower score so the judges can save the 10, just in case someone else does better? This is the situation here.

What is your opinion of Gibson’s old-fashioned?

 

 

 

 

 

Gibson’s Doughnuts

As any Memphian will tell you, Gibson’s is the best doughnut shop in town.  It’s open 24 hours a day, so you can enjoy one or a dozen of their doughnuts anytime you have the hankering for them.

My brother, cousins and I have long enjoyed, even revered, the way Gibson’s spells “tasty” on their sign: “tastee.” So we have reserved the title of “tastee” only for those foods which especially tickle our taste buds. (A general chocolate chip cookie: tasty. The Family Pumpkin Pie that includes a large number of melted marshmallows: tastee!)

I just moved back to Memphis, my hometown, after a stint in Texas. I needed a hobby to justify running in this heat and humidity, so I’ve decided to eat my way through Gibson’s menu. Each doughnut will be graded on a scale from 1 to 10. The score will include components such as appearance, aroma, texture, flavor, uniqueness, and of course, general tastee-ness.

To keep my doughnut cravings under control, I will only be eating them on the weekend. Also, it will give me time to savor each bite, as I can eat them at my leisure, instead of cramming them in my mouth on the way to work. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Let the trek through Gibson’s menu commence!