Key Lime Doughnut

Oh, Gibson’s! You know I love you with a love deeper than the deepest part of the Mississippi River, right?! I’ve waxed almost poetic about you. When my friends from Texas come to Memphis for a visit, and I ask them what they want to see, you know where they want to go? Up there with Graceland, any number of music museums, the Peabody ducks, and Memphis BBQ? They want to go to Gibson’s Donuts.

Why do I explain all of the above? Because the following hurts me to admit.

I had a less than satisfactory doughnut at Gibson’s.

Here’s the deal: in a way, it’s a compliment to the fine folks at my favorite doughnut shop. The bar is very, very high. Gibson’s can nail just about any flavor you challenge them to translate into doughnut.

So it was with high hopes that I got (last month’s) doughnut of the month: Key Lime. I have to admit: I was a tad wary of the color of the green filling:

K top split 2

The doughnut was … okay. The key lime filling wasn’t quite as tangy as I was expecting. The powdered sugar doughnut didn’t seem to mesh well with the sorta tangy flavor. And I must have forgotten that the powdered doughnut was not my favorite.

For a good description of what key lime should taste like, read Southern Living‘s history of it (and a recipe) here.

So according to the experts, key lime should be a creamy yellow, not green.

KL split 2

And this green was an, ahem, unusual green color. Almost like slime green. I was going to include a photo of green slime, but it is not Pretty, and I don’t want to do that to your eyes or do anything that seems to be making fun of Gibson’s.

So I give this doughnut points for creativity and boldness. Who else would have attempted a key lime doughnut? My opinion: if Gibson’s wants to try this again (and maybe it shouldn’t), go with the sugary doughnut and a graham cracker-ish topping, kind of like the Strawberry Shortcake. And if it wants to stay with the green color to differentiate from its other cream-filled doughnuts. go a tad darker and / or brighter.

Tastee score: 4 (it hurts me more than it hurts you)

Doughnut news: Taking a break from doughnut news for Important Memphis News: this week is International Elvis Week to commemorate Elvis’ death 40 years ago. Graceland’s list of things you can do to honor The King of Rock ‘N Roll is here.  Cross-check that list against the events listed in the I Love Memphis blog here.

One very important change: you have to buy a ticket to participate in the Candlelight Vigil this year.

 

Happy National Doughnut Day!

Y’all, I started my trek through Gibson’s Donuts’ menu just over ONE YEAR ago! Weeks and weeks of tastee-ness later, here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Gibson’s tagline of “tastee” really does set the standard of tastee-ness in the doughnut world.
  2. Gibson’s employees are some of the friendliest, most efficient, hard-working folks I’ve ever encountered. Employers, if a resume lands on your desk with “Gibson’s Donuts” listed in the candidate’s work background, then that person should be your leading candidate for the job.
  3. The fans / patrons / devotees of Gibson’s are warmly congenial and absolutely devoted to their favorite doughnut shop.
  4. Gibson’s captures the heart of the #Choose901 movement: love Memphis, love people, make Memphis a better place, and brighten the day of each person you meet.

National Doughnut Day is no ordinary day, so in celebration I visited Gibson’s three times.

Let’s review the tastee-ness, shall we?

OLD FASHIONED (Plain)

Old fashioned plain 2

The lighting makes this look dry. It was not dry.

This is the Old Fashioned without the glaze. Each bite isa combination of the soft inside and the crispy edges. With no sugary glaze, the taste is distinct from just about every other doughnut I’ve had at Gibson’s. And that’s the poetry of this doughnut: you find out how tastee a Gibson’s doughnut really is: cake doughnut so perfectly fried, it tastes almost creamy, juxtaposed against the crispiness of the edges.

Tastee score: 9

Lemon Drops

NO holes 2

Pretty proud of the lighting here.

I ordered two of these. You know, to pace myself on my marathon Doughnut Day, but the Gibson’s person said they were sold only in threes.

Twist my arm, why don’t you??

At first, I thought these were the doughnut hole version of the New Orleans. But I later learned they’re called Lemon Drops. Y’all. These are so very tastee: a thin sheen of glaze encasing a slightly dark-tasting crust. Then a bright lemon flavor in the middle, like a burst of sunshine on a gray, cloudy day. Go get yoself one three of these at your next available snack time.

Tastee score: 10

Old Fashioned

My last trip to Gibson’s on National Doughnut Day was at about 11 pm. I went with two of my Aggie friends who have lived in Memphis for years and not been to Gibson’s. THE HORROR! So I persuaded them to make the drive, regaling them with stories about the glory of the glazed doughnuts, the cakey perfection of the old fashioned until I could see them drooling (Mentally, not physically. They are ladies.). Even though the magical Gibson’s doughnut bakers (friers?) had been at work non-stop for more than 24 hours in preparation for National Doughnut Day, there weren’t many options (Memphis drains Gibson’s dry on National Doughnut Day), so I went for what I’ve now decided is my favorite doughnut, the Old Fashioned:

Old fash 2

When I design my family crest, this will be the symbol in the middle.

It did not disappoint. In the past, I’ve given this doughnut a tastee score of 9. But I think this is the third time I’ve had this doughnut, and you know what they say about that:

Tastee score: 10

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

At church the next Sunday, someone brought Gibson’s doughnuts to share with the class. In the spirit of National Doughnut Day weekend, I partook:

Chocolate Glazed

Church chocolate 2

Notice the classic wood grain of the church table.

For reals, I could almost smell the glorious chocolate glaze through my computer screen. Gibson’s does simple so well: a delicious glazed doughnut topped with just enough chocolate that you can taste the chocolate without losing the doughnutty doughnut-ness.

Tastee score: 9 (because the Old Fashioned has my whole heart)

Stay tuned for the Key Lime Doughnut!

Chocolate cream filled

One thing I love about Gibson’s Donuts (and there are so many things to love) is finding new doughnuts I haven’t yet sampled at every visit. This week, I tried the chocolate-cream filed doughnut.

Choc filled whole 2

This is the basic glazed doughnut filled, and I mean FILLED, with chocolate cream. Nearly every bit of the inside of this doughnut was jam-packed with chocolate. As I was aware of the filling pre-bite, I cut it open (this blog is a non-chewed food zone) to get a photo of the inside of the doughnut to demonstrate the fullness of the filling.

Behold!

Choc filled inside 2

Chocolate in every bite!

The chocolate itself was a subtle chocolatey flavor. A milk chocolate with a bit of a chalky (in a good way) taste. Personally, I’m a dark chocolate fan, but chocolate is one of my favorite flavors, and I love it all. The glazed portion of the doughnut was perfection, as always.

This doughnut gets points for being filled to the edge with the chocolate cream filling. I wish the chocolate flavor was a tad more chocolatey, however.

Tastee score: 7

Doughnut news: This Friday is NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY, so be sure to visit your favorite doughnut shop. If you’re in Memphis, your favorite doughnut shop is Gibson’s Donuts. If it’s not, then you’re wrong.

I hope to see you there!

Strawberry Shortcake

In celebration of the UK’s Doughnut Week, I enjoyed my second doughnut this week: Gibson’s Donuts’ Doughnut of the Month, the Strawberry Shortcake:

Sberry scake 3

How pretty is this doughnut? See the lovely bits of strawberry peeking through? The decadent cream cheese glaze with the graham cracker (?) crumbled topping? One of the prettiest doughnuts I’ve seen at Gibson’s. My first bite into the doughnut revealed the pale pink cake inside. So delightful!

The strawberry taste was faint (the doughnut itself was the strawberry cake doughnut), but balanced nicely with the cream cheese and topping. I’m a HUGE fan of Gibson’s cream cheese topping, so I would not have been disappointed with a bit more of it. For real, I would eat a big bowl of just their cream cheese topping with a spoon if I could.

Overall, I think the prettiness of this doughnut outweighs its taste. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tastee doughnut, but I would have liked a smidge more strawberry taste. But perhaps my impression of strawberry shortcake is warped by my memory of the strong smell of the Strawberry Shortcake doll. One time on a family vacation when I was little, I put my Strawberry Shortcake doll and several of her dessert-themed friends in a drawer in the hotel room. The next day, when I went to retrieve them, the smell was way-overpowering. As in, take an antihistamine and cover your nose with a sweatshirt strong. It’s possible that I now mistakenly associate strawberry shortcake with strong sensory experiences. So maybe strawberry shortcake actually should have a lighter strawberry taste? That way, it will not remind us of odoriferous childhood memories.

Tastee score: 7

Doughnuts news: Make sure you celebrate Doughnut Week this week, even if you don’t live in Australia or the UK! Or maybe we should think of every week as doughnut week so we can justify a trip to Gibson’s.

 

Lots o’ cream; lots o’ frosting

Behold all this sugary goodness!

choc glazed sprinkles 2

Chocolate glaze, frosting, sprinkles, and on the inside: a delicious creamy vanilla filling! I did not discover the creamy filling until I had taken the first glorious bite. So no photos of the inside because of my refusal to photograph chewed up food.

This is a very pretty doughnut, no? Who doesn’t love sprinkles?? The contrast of the pink against the dark color of the chocolate makes this doughnut all the more enticing.

The eating experience was interesting, however. I heated it up slightly, so after several bites, the frosting on top slid off. But I gotta tell you: I’m not gonna complain about eating straight frosting! With all the sugar-based components, this was a very, very sweet doughnut. Not as sweet as the Jolly Rancher, but still quite sweet.

Part of me wishes there had been more emphasis on doughnut rather than the sugary additions, as all the extra sugary-ness seemed to overpower the delighfulness of Gibson’s glazed doughnut. But I would recommend this doughnut.

Tastee score: 7.

Doughnut news: Remember when a faithful Gibson’s customer tried to make it a drive-through? Gibson’s made lemonade-flavored doughnuts when life handed them lemons: Local Memphis artist Adam Exelbierd painted the boarded up windows:

Art window 2

Aren’t these murals fantastic? I love the splattered look. Check out more of Mr. Exelbierd’s work on his Instagram account.

MORE doughnut news: According to Australia, this week is National Doughnut Week! A whole week dedicated to doughnuts? I fully support this! I think this means a couple of trips to Gibson’s this week. Stay tuned.

 

This week at Gibson’s was anything but Vanilla

This week, I chose a simple doughnut of the week so we could spend some time on the wild and crazy week that Gibson’s Donuts experienced.

But first: today was my day to take snacks to the Bible study class at church, so of course I chose Gibson’s Donuts: glazed doughnuts and doughnut holes.

Bible study class 2

Before

To make sure the doughnut holes were okay (riiiiight), I tried one (or two) right after I set the boxes on the table. Y’all, they had just come from the oven, because  they were still warm! I was afraid they wouldn’t match my first impression of them, but they were just as good, if not better, than I remembered: melt-in-your-mouth tastee.

No “after” photograph, as it would just be two empty boxes with a few flakes of glaze in the bottom.

Now for the doughnut of the week – Vanilla:

Vanilla final

The glaze got a little mushed, but that’s on me. I moved the bag around on my kitchen counter a bit too much while I got some cooking for the week done, and I was apparently not careful enough.

This is not my first experience with the vanilla glaze. It’s been the base of several other doughnuts, but I’ve never had it solo. The taste was delightful. It was the perfect kind of sweet: a light vanilla flavor balanced with the perfection that is the glazed doughnut. I also love that Gibson’s doesn’t make every doughnut fancy with glitter, sprinkles, and decorations, etc. (not that there’s anything wrong with that). They know that sometimes, we want a straightforward, classic doughnut. The Vanilla fits squarely in that category.

Tastee score: 8

Doughnut news: Fasten your seatbelts, friends, cuz we’ve got a lot to cover. First up, the #CongressionalCannonballRun. US House Representatives Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) and Beto O’Rourke (D – El Paso) were getting ready to fly from San Antonio to Washington, DC  this past Tuesday to make it to DC for the first vote of the session on Wednesday. Wintry weather in DC interfered, however, and their flights were canceled due to the snow storm. Neither one of them knew the other very well, but Rep. O’Rourke convinced Rep. Hurd to drive to DC, so they hopped in a rented Chevy Impala and road tripped it to DC. They livestreamed the whole trip on Facebook, inviting questions about any issues facing our country, then discussed their thoughts on each matter to demonstrate that people can, according to Rep. Hurd, “disagree without being disagreeable.”  They also spoke with other Congresspeople and asked each of them what member of the opposite party they would like to road trip with.

Their playlist was pretty great as well, including Robert Earl Keen, Selena, Social Distortion, Buddy Holly, The Clash, Foss (Rep. O’Rourke’s band), and my favorite, Lyle Lovett.

As they were headed toward Memphis on Tuesday evening, Gibson’s shared the livestream on its Facebook page:

WillBeto 2

From Gibson’s Donuts’ Facebook page

Dozens and dozens of folks then added comments to the livestream, suggesting – nay, insisting – that the Representatives stop at Gibson’s Donuts, even providing the address. So after this Aggie/former undercover CIA officer (Hurd) and former punk rocker (O’Rourke) finished up a visit to Graceland, they headed to our favorite doughnut shop, where they spoke to the patrons about any issue they wished. WMC-TV5 anchor Joe Birch ran over after his 10 pm broadcast and interviewed them (bless their hearts, they were trying to get out of there so they could make it to Nashville to sleep a bit before Day 2 of their road trip – it was 11:30 pm at this point, but they were very gracious and answered his questions). Representative O’Rourke videoed the interview with his phone while Mr. Birch captured the interview on his phone. While Representative Hurd was answering a question, Representative O’Rourke turned to his phone and whispered, “this is getting meta” of the phone to phone video. (Politicians can be funny, too.)

Mr. DeWeese’s son, Bain, had arranged to pay for their box of a dozen doughnuts (a combo of the Old-Fashioned and Chocolate Cruller) and t-shirts for each of them. Representative Hurd noted the Old-Fashioned was “light.” Representative O’Rourke devoured two Chocolate Crullers before they hit the expressway, so I think it’s safe to assume he thoroughly enjoyed them. They later declared Gibson’s Donuts’ doughnuts their favorite snack of the entire 31 hour trip. They mentioned Gibson’s Donuts several times on the trip, including in yet another interview when they arrived at the Capitol, with 30 minutes to spare before they would be too late to cast their votes.

A few folks commented that perhaps the Representatives should wear their Gibson’s t-shirts on the House floor, but that apparently would be a violation of the House dress code. What did happen? Both Representatives signed as co-sponsors on each other’s bills, which they had discussed on their trip. You can read about the bills here (for real, both propose helpful legislation).

As you can imagine, the trip garnered a good bit of media attention, some of which included the stop at Gibson’s. The Washington Post, home of the inimitable Woodward and Bernstein, reported the trip and gave a pretty good play-by-play of the visit to Gibson’s. Other news media that covered the trip: the New York Times, multiple Texas newspapers, and even the BBC.

This would be enough excitement for one doughnut shop in one week, right? But on Friday, while we were still marveling at the attention that Gibson’s was getting due to their crack-smart marketing move, near-tragedy struck:

Gibson's FB wreck final

From Gibson’s Donuts’ Facebook page

Apparently, an elderly man’s brakes failed as he was pulling into a parking spot right in front of the store, and his car crashed into two of the windows. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and no doughnuts were damaged. Details here.

Full shot of the front of the building after the two affected windows were boarded up:

Gibson's front twitter

From Gibson’s Donuts’ Twitter page

Another view of the damaged window  – from my trip to to Gibson’s this morning:

Gibson's windows 2

Back to the crash: The video of the car coming through two of the front windows is in the link above – watch that one first so you’ll have the timeline down. I really want you to watch the video of the folks behind the counter, though (posted by Glenn Carver of WREG):

 

As I’m sure my sharp-eyed fellow-Gibson’s fans noticed: the Gibson’s employees DID NOT DROP THE DOUGHNUTS! In the face of danger, they kept the boxes of doughnuts carefully balanced, then went right back to the counter to complete their customers’ orders. I saw one of these fine folks later that night (I convinced some friends of mine from Texas who were driving through Memphis to try Gibson’s). He proudly proclaimed that OF COURSE he protected the doughnuts, then fist-bumped a fellow employee in celebration. And you know what? I’m not surprised. The customer service at Gibson’s is consistently efficient, friendly, and fun. It really seems like the employees enjoy working there and make sure that you, their customer, are enjoying your time there, too. So naturally, they are quick-thinking when the unexpected occurs.

Mr. DeWeese, these fearless, dedicated employees should be named Employees of the Month! If you don’t already have that award, please add it!

Speaking of Mr. DeWeese, I saw him at Gibson’s this morning (does he ever sleep?). In between chatting with a customer and checking on the folks at the register, I think I detected a bit of exhaustion and concern in place of his normally pleasant, smiling expression on his face. I hope he and the other Gibson’s employees are taking some time to rest after this nutty week.

Gibson's aftermath 2

From Gibson’s Donuts’ Facebook page

It’s true. If you don’t get to Gibson’s before 11 am, you might not get a specific flavor doughnut you want. But I’m willing to bet you’ll get a tastee doughnut you’ll enjoy.

 

King Cake

We’re in the middle of Lent, so let’s do a throwback to Mardi Gras! Gibson’s Donuts found a great way to celebrate: what I’m pretty sure was real King Cake twisted into a circular shape, then topped with vanilla frosting, and green, yellow and purple glittery sprinkles.

King cake 3

What you can’t see: underneath the generous frosting are two cakes that are swirled, cinnamon bun-style, into a doughnut shape (I know, I know, I should have photographed it – next time!), then stuck together with the frosting.

These are very popular: when I tried to get it the weekend prior – on Sunday after church, they were out. So I returned the following Sunday before church, and when the Gibson’s person handed this to me, he warned: “Be careful, it’s got LOTS of frosting and glitter on it!” To which I responded, “Get excited!”

The taste: Here’s the deal, I am not an expert in King Cake. I like eating it (sugary carbs!), but I’m not sure if King Cake should be flaky or cake-y. So my mostly uninformed opinion of the taste of Gibson’s King Cake Doughnut: very nice. Not the OH MY WORD!, this is AMAZING! response when I had the Old Fashioned or Glazed, but it was … nice.

The frosting? So yummy! The glittery sprinkles? Very festive. The baby: let’s be frank, it’s a little creepy. What do you do with it after you eat the doughnut/King Cake? It seems strange to keep it – because where do you store it? The utensil drawer? Junk drawer? Jewelry box? I’m not gonna use it for anything, so maybe I should just throw it away. But does anyone else feel a smidge guilty about throwing away a tiny baby, even if it’s plastic?

Also, was it sanitized before they smushed its tiny plastic bum into the lovely vanilla frosting? A thought I had after I ate this, sadly.

Tastee score: 7

I’ll do some research on King Cake in preparation for next year, when I’ll try this one again.

Doughnut news: Technically, not doughnut news, but some interesting facts about the meaning of King Cake from Southern Living, which is basically the Bible for all Southern cooks.

 

 

Carrot Cake Doughnut

For real, y’all, I’m never gonna have to eat salad again! My daily fruit/veggie serving will be from doughnuts. This weekend, I finally got to try the carrot cake doughnut. I like that Gibson’s is encouraging us to eat healthy through doughnuts (blueberry, strawberry, carrots – so, so healthy).

Kids, that argument *might* not work on your parents, but please give it a try and report your results. If you successfully defend your position, I’ll write your rec for law school.

Back to the issue at hand. Behold the carrot cake doughnut:

carrot-cake-2

Doesn’t it look delicious? And that cream cheese frosting – DIVINE.

It was a little light on carroty flavor, but the texture was spot on for carrot cake. (Fun fact: I have baked carrot cake from scratch before.) Also? It did NOT have nuts! You know how a lot of people ruin (or as my Grandmother used to say, “rurn”) a carrot cake with chopped up pieces of nuts all in it? Gibson’s does not. Gibson’s respects the carrot cake.

Like last week, I’m a tad conflicted on the score. This is a delicious doughnut; the cream cheese frosting is so tastee, I’d eat a bowl of it with a spoon. But there wasn’t quite enough carroty flavor to it. So:

Tastee score: 7

Maybe I should try this doughnut again in a few weeks (it’s now in the regular line up) to see if it tastes more carroty (carrotier?). Also, it means a tastee vegetable serving for the day.

Doughnut news: One more weekend for the King Cake doughnut. I will get to Gibson’s super early this weekend to try it!

Strawberry Cake Doughnut

Confession: I missed Gibson’s doughnut of the month last month: Samoa, like the Girl Scout cookie.

Confession No. 2: I was relieved to have missed it because it had coconut all over it, and I do not enjoy coconut (Cousin Gwen eats my share of it.)

BUT I spotted a strawberry cake doughnut. So much tastee-er sounding than the coconut-slathered Samoa (which I’m sure coconut lovers have found to be lovely).

strawberry-cake-2

See all the bits of strawberry in the doughnut? Such a beautiful doughnut.

I tried to keep my expectations in check because the blueberry doughnut was so perfectly blueberry-ey. A very high bar for all other fruit-flavored cake doughnuts.

There was a faint hint of strawberry scent mixed with the general sugary/cakey scent of the doughnut. What is not pictured is the inside: a soft, pale pink. I chose not to take a picture of it because I did not want to post a photograph of a half-eaten doughnut – no one needs to see where I gnawed on it. (PSA: please don’t post photos of food with bites taken out of whatever you’re eating. It’s not a pleasant sight.)

The strawberry taste was not overpowering (read: faint), but the thin layer of glaze added just the right amount of sweetness.

So it was a good doughnut.

Tastee score: 7

Doughnut news: Food Report of Memphis helped celebrate Gibson’s 50th Anniversary with a contest to win a dozen doughnuts from Gibson’s, so I entered. I did not win, which is WRONG, as a certain elected official is wont to say. Food Report, I go there almost weekly! (except for last month and part of December). And I help spread the word about Gibson’s with this little blog! Could there BE a more worthy winner?

I think not.

But hopefully the winners of the contest love Gibson’s just as much as I do and are sharing their doughnuts with their family and friends. Because really, the point is to spread the doughnut love as far as we can, right?

Food Report published this interview with Gibson’s owner, Mr. Don DeWeese, on their Facebook page that includes some interesting history about Gibson’s Donuts and how they make some of their doughnuts:

 

 

 

Caramel Doughnuts & Doughnut Travel Tips

A couple of weeks ago, I read on a Saturday morning that Gibson’s Doughnuts was having carrot cake doughnuts for one weekend only.

ccake2

From the Gibson’s Donuts Instagram Page

Of course, I immediately notified Cousin Gwen of this special flavor, and she urged me to get to Gibson’s right away! But unfortunately, I need not heed her advice, and they were all gone by Sunday afternoon when I decided to make my visit. I can only hope that Gibson’s reprises these oh-so-tastee looking doughnuts very soon.

Instead, I decided to go the more classic doughnut route. I tried the Caramel doughnut.

caramel2b

Pardon the cracks in the icing. This doughnut, in its Gibson’s doughnut bag, got pushed to the back of the counter while I made these delicious cookies. Next time, I’ll treat the doughnut with more respect.

I like how simple this doughnut is: just the classic glazed doughnut with caramel icing. No bells, no whistles, no sprinkles, no enhanced colors, nothing to draw extra attention to it. This doughnut is confident enough in itself to be Just Caramel.

The taste? Potentially compromised by my heating it up for too long in the microwave. I tried to wait for it to cool off, but it had been so long since I had my last Gibson’s doughnut, I wanted to eat it immediately. As a result, I couldn’t detect a clear caramel taste. There was a definite sugar taste – and no one is going to complain about that, right?? But not much caramel. So, sadly:

Tastee score: 5

This will definitely go on the “try it again” list.

Doughnut news: Gibson’s Donuts doughnuts travel fairly well.

travel-doughnuts-2

Patiently waiting at the Memphis International Airport

Some friends of mine were kind enough to host me for a weekend trip to Houston, so I took them some doughnuts as a thank-you gift (like momma taught me). I got to go through the TSA Pre-Check line, which does not have bins for the various things you have to take out of your carry-ons to be scanned separately. So I carefully placed my two carry-ons just right so that the Gibson’s box would have enough space in between them to keep the box from smushed. A TSA security person in the regular security line saw my efforts and raced over to give me a bin for the doughnuts. Y’all, this is how revered Gibson’s Donuts doughnuts are in this town: even governmental safety officials help protect them!

Note: I would suggest taping the sides of the box lid down. Despite my best efforts, sometimes the inevitable jostling of the carry-on bag made the lid bend upward a tad, exposing the doughnuts to the elements. And we MUST protect the doughnuts! Especially if TSA is concerned about transporting them safely!