Monday, September 23, 2013

Flavor Battle: Doughnut Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cue up the Jock Jams, ladies and gentlemen.
In this corner is Firecakes, current title holder for Best Gourmet Doughnut in Chicago. Their doughnut ice cream sandwich features a glazed yeast doughnut in the shape of a ciabatta roll. Customers have a choice of different two or three homemade gelato fillings, a selection that recently included vanilla, cinnamon and peach. I chose the glazed yeast doughnut with cinnamon gelato.

In the other corner is former title holder Glazed & Infused, offering four distinct combinations, each with a unique doughnut and gelato pairing. Two options are an apple fritter with salted peanut gelato and a Terry's Toffee doughnut with milk stout gelato. I was more intrigued by the other two: the lemon cake doughnut paired with blueberry french toast gelato and the chocolate frosted chocolate cake doughnut paired with nutella gelato with pretzels.

(FADE IN: flashback dream sequence montage)
"What what! Menu just got more gangsta with doughnut ice cream sandwiches! Put 'em in ya mouth!"
-Firecakes, July 20, 2013

"Holy swollen belly, Batman! I'm over here like, 'Cronuts? So over.'" 
-Huffington Post, August 7, 2013

"What up, my people?! We havin' a one-off doughnut ice cream sandwich partay at Black Doggy Dogg at the end of the month! Gelato in the hizzy!"
-Glazed & Infused, August 21, 2013

"Be there or be a straight-up rhomboid."
-Numerous note-worthy media outlets, Aug. 20-29, 2013

"Check it: Sold out. In 90 minutes, suckas!"
-Glazed & Infused, Aug. 29, 2013

"Yo yo yo, playa! We still got the OGs fo' ya oral cavitay!"
-Firecakes, August 30, 2013

The gauntlet had been thrown down. And my taste buds were acting as referee.

Glazed & Infused chose wisely to tag team with Black Dog Gelato, who make my favorite Chicago dessert. With both halves offering unique flavors, it seemed a powerful combo. But G&I chose poorly to use cake doughnuts, whose heaviness laid a choke hold on Black Dog's gelato, as did the overly sugary choco-frosting. The clear winner among G&I's sandwiches was the lemon cake doughnut with blueberry french toast gelato. Its subtle glaze gave a nice burst of citrus, though the density of the doughnut completely swallowed the underrepresented tangy-sweet gelato.

Firecakes, rather than exploring ambitious flavor combinations, leaned on simple classics. The glaze at Firecakes is among the best I've had and pairing it with a simple cinnamon gelato accomplished what neither of the Glazed & Infused sandwiches did: it enhanced both flavors. Only one arm can be raised at the end of a match and from the first bite I knew Firecakes had won, leaving G&I down for the count, no tap out. Added bonus that Firecakes' product is less expensive. Served in a coffee sleeve for easy portability, Firecakes' sandwich is a mere $4, compared to the $6 and $8 offerings from G&I.

Given the success of the party Glazed & Infused threw, there will undoubtedly be future events, likely with new doughnut/gelato combinations...and possibilities of a future grudge match. Here's hoping the champion also considers offering other options eventually, like a chocolate-glaze on the doughnut.

1 comment:

Brad said...

I'll definitely need to check out the Firecakes sandwich before it gets too cold out