Monday, December 31, 2012

Dixie Donuts

Top: Aztec, Samoa, German Chocolate, Bangkok Beauty, The Cutie
Middle: Dixie Spice, Peach Cobbler, Dulce de Leche, Strawberry Shortcake
Bottom: Chocolate Spice, Oreo, French Toast, Sweet Potato
“Floral” and “delicate” are not adjectives usually associated with doughnuts. But it also could be said that rosewater candy and curried mango salt aren’t typical ingredients on a holey fried delight. Contradictions like these are what, for me, define the new south. And Richmond, Virginia is a perfect example.

On historic Monument Avenue, lavish mansions occupied by old money sit next door to neglected buildings that house college students and starving artists. Grizzled I-don’t-give-a-care punks like Tim Barry emphasize local history/tradition while getting "Sic Semper Tyrannis" tattooed on their bodies. Once thriving industrial sections of town may look run-down, but they host local businesses and art galleries. And in Carytown, Dixie Donuts makes creations with names like Aztec, Maharaja and the Bangkok Beauty.

It didn’t take much effort to convince my brother Brian to join in trying this new establishment. And after we ordered, it may have taken us even less effort to polish off 8 doughnuts. Even with the reduced size of the doughnuts (perhaps three-quarters the average size one expects with a doughnut), it is rare to find cake doughnuts like these that don’t sit heavily after one or two. Though the doughnuts were indeed on the light side, Brian and I’s breakfast vanquishing also had something to do with the exotic flavors being offered.

I had never considered doughnuts as a culinary opportunity to explore other cultures but, based on the 16 varieties I’ve tried, this is what Dixie Donuts does best. (Contradictions: wearing cream-colored suits in the height of summer; a beauty queen with a gutter mouth.) It is also how the business distinguishes itself from other gourmet doughnut outlets.* The Bangkok Beauty is my favorite of the pack—lime-mango curried salt with penden cookies. Next was the Maharaja (vanilla-rosewater pistachio with garam masala). Their Dulce de Leche doughtnut had an appropriately gooey topping that made it stand out from the rest. The Aztec was a delicious double chocolate doughnut dusted with chipotle cinnamon and topped with candied pepitas (pumpkin seeds). And the German Chocolate Cake has a sizeable dollop of crystally coconut ooze that left me scraping the box with my finger.

DoughNOT miss Dixie Donuts. (How many times have I blogged about donuts, yet somehow never made that joke until now? Huzzah!)

* Gourmet donuts: (n) fanciful donuts characterized by unusual toppings or flavor combinations, often with a larger price tag. Antonym: traditional donuts.

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