his week’s review is more of a photo essay, a monologue, a little ditty about my favourite donut. The Krispy Kreme. Being a Girl From Vancouver (where there isn’t a store within a reasonable driving distance), I’d only seen the famous donut store on TV and I had never been inside one. That all changed last year, soon after my arrival to this steamy city. In fact, the first week I was here I went there two days in a row (but it’s really out of the way and I only went there because I was going to (a) Réno-Dépôt and (b) to get my car inspected for new license plates).
I went again last week and every time I walk into the pristine, cool space I’m struck by a couple of things. First off, I love how clean the place is. It’s like a little plastic dollhouse that has been dropped into the middle of the Marché Central parking lot, complete with picture windows and a green candy roof.
When you come in the door, you’re immediately faced with a long stretch of windows that allow you to see what’s going on behind the scenes. And the place smells great. They should be pumping that smell into the parking lot. Into elevators around town. Like Musak only better.
First is the “proof box” – the place where the donuts rise and get ready for cooking. The next step is the cooking. The get dumped from the proofer into the oil, and are flipped half way through. After they’re cooked, they come out onto a belt for a short time (maybe to cool down) before they go to be glazed. I’m not sure what’s best… hot donuts, or hot donuts that are glazed on both sides.
coming down the cooling belt
Every time I go to this store, I’m barely two feet in the door before a young girl hands me a donut with a small waxed paper sheet folded around it, saying “here, take this, it’s free” or French words to that effect. The last time I was there I ordered a lemon filled donut, and when I got to the cashier to pay for it, the clerk told me it was free. OK, I’m not questioning their marketing techniques especially since I’m the one benefiting, clearly, but two days in a row I left the store without giving them any money at all. I am telling you about it though. Perhaps that’s all the advertising they need. Right now if you buy a dozen donuts you get a dozen additional for $1. It’s shameless, really.
You’ve never had one? They’re like Tim Horton’s plain donuts but with crack cocaine in them to make them addictive. They’re warm and small and covered on both sides in glaze, and they’re actually served to you warm, that’s part of the shtick. You get to watch them go from the rising chamber along the conveyer belt to the oil and through the glazer just like “Those Little Donuts” at the PNE. It’s exactly like that. Only times 10. My sister’s ex-boyfriend apparently will drive an hour from Toronto to get one of these donuts. This is not a confirmed story. My friend Jillian, though, has confessed to driving from Toronto to Montreal for a smoked meat sandwich in her university days. This is a 5 hr trip when driving faster than the speed limit. This story has been confirmed. In Vancouver I used to go to Crescent Beach from West 11th (about 45 minutes) to buy fish and chips on the beach from a Chinese family restaurant that also sold fizz-candies in the long strips. But I digress.
They also sell coffee injected with the donut glaze...
Krispy Kreme statistics you don’t know yet: the make about 5 million donuts a day, every week they make enough to reach from New York to Los Angeles. And here are my statistics: There's a 87% chance that if you eat just one donut, you’ll be telling everyone you know about them. Then there's 90% chance that everyone you know will be asking you buy donuts for them. You'll be running a black market donut distribution centre in your neighbourhood in no time.
OK, you *can* buy them at Wal-Mart, cold, in a day-old cardboard box. I wouldn’t bother. If they aren’t hot, they’re just not worth it.
-- Reviewed by Shelley MacDonald