Today was the D.C. Donut Crawl, a recreational bike ride that stopped at four local doughnut shops over an 8-mile course. I signed up as soon as they announced it, because I always tell people I’m perfectly happy to ride my bike if they stick food halfway through the route. My friends Michael and Julia signed up at the last minute to accompany me, which was nice of them.
The ride kicked off up in Brightwood at the Chocolate Crust. I’d gotten off to a late start, which put us at the back of a very slow moving line. It was clear that the number of participants had overwhelmed the small shop, where the employees struggled to serve folks in an efficient fashion.
They were temporarily out of the chocolate doissant, a doughnut-croissant hybrid the shop is locally known for, by the time Julia and I got to the cash register, so I opted for the chocolate-filled doughnut. The dough was a bit greasy (more like a fried dough shell than your traditional Berliner doughnut casing), but the frosting piped in was quite tasty. I combined it with a butter beer, because, really, when offered a drink out of Harry Potter, how do you say no? (It’s very sweet and butterscotchy.)
Because we were so far behind the rest of the riders, the marshal for our group decided to skip GBD in favor of getting to the third stop, downtown’s Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, which Washington Post staffers recently dubbed the best doughnuts in the city. Located near my office, I agree with their assessment, but also recognize these are yuppy doughnuts, each costing approximately $3. Julia opted to follow her piece of fried chicken with the pecan pie doughnut, which turned out to be too sweet for her tastes (she sent it home with me, and Rudi and I split it for dessert tonight), but I liked the Almond Joy, a coconut cake doughnut topped with chocolate frosting and candied almonds.
The tour finished at Union Kitchen, a building used as a collective incubator space for small food-related startups, where District Doughnuts, another new-to-me shop, had two flavors for us to sample: caramel apple streusel (which was delicious) and pumpkin spice (which Julia and Michael raved over). We had a brief conversation with the owners of the business, who explained the key to doughnut-making lies with the dough. As I have found the key to quality pizza lies with the crust, I could appreciate the distinction.
After a few other stops, I decided to conclude the day by running past GBD (Golden Brown Delicious) on my way home. They had put their fritters on sale for the day, so I picked up a gala apple-cinnamon fritter, which Rudi and I split tonight, and a raspberry-ginger fritter, which we’ve saved for tomorrow. I had had mixed feelings about GBD’s doughnuts the only other time I visited them, so it was a real pleasure to bite into the apple fritter and find it so chock-full of apple bits. Rudi and I agreed that it was one of the best fritters we’d had.
So it was a fun ride, even if there were some kinks to work out for the next one. And I definitely should plan to work out tomorrow because one should not, as a general rule, consume as many baked goods as I did today, even if they were interspersed with bike riding.
Thanks to the organizers and the participating shops!