Friday, February 28, 2014

Bobtail Year: Chocolate Covered Strawberry

February is month nine of my Bobtail Year, two pints of Bobtail Homemade Ice Cream a month for donating to Oracle Theatre.

 • • •
Dearest Strawberry,

Ask any seasoned couple and they can tell you when they first fell in love. It should come as no surprise then when I tell you that I remember when I was first introduced to a certain Strawberry and Goat Cheese ice cream, back when you went by that name. For weeks, I'd heard my friends talk about you and had looked forward to when I would meet such a vibrant and charismatic personality. Then one magical evening at Bobtail in 2010, fate brought us together. From the very first moment, I knew you were no ordinary strawberry and that I would dream of you for years to come.

When you first arrived, I was still fairly new in town myself. To me, you were the lights in the Chicago skyline. But, as it does for everyone, time passes and relationships change. You were carving out your own identity, one separate from goat cheese. Without that edgier side, you were just as beautiful as the day we met, but still I found myself missing your feisty, take-me-as-I-am spirit. There's no need to rehash about that rough period we went through, when I was seeing other flavors. I only bring it up so I can make one thing absolutely clear: While I did miss your adventurous side, I never stopped loving you, Strawberry.

Those love fires may have been burning low, but they were burning all the same. I couldn't help but reminisce every one of those times we ran into one another at Bobtail. I get the feeling those brief encounters also left you dreaming of that magical evening years ago when we first met.

By the time February rolled around, I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to have you again. Little did I know that you had been thinking of reinventing yourself once more. Just in time for Valentine's Day, you unveiled yourself as Chocolate Covered Strawberry. While time had shown me that it was you I missed and not the frills, can you blame me for being allured by this new experimental side?

Look at you! I could just eat you up!
Ask any couple about how they keep the thrills coming in their more private moments and they'll say, "You have to spice it up." For me, the chocolate flake accoutrements gave you a new bite; they were black as leather and tasty as edible undies. But while I enjoyed this new kinky side, I remembered that it was your foundation as a flavor that really made you all that you are. Your rosy color and sweet disposition are exactly what I've been searching for all these years, no matter what form you may take. What I say to you now, I say for a lifetime: I would have you in my mouth anytime.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Top Ten Firecakes Doughnuts

How much is that doughnut in the window?
This week, Firecakes Donuts is celebrating its one-year anniversary. In honor of this, they are holding a promotion (Feb. 21 - 28) where every box of doughnuts (half-dozen or more) will include a sealed envelope with secret and wonderful contents. While most envelopes will contain a coupon for a free old fashioned, three will contain a "Golden Donut" good for free doughnuts for a year!

Since they have been my favorite doughnut shop in Chicago since they opened, I am a bit of an authority on their menu. I thought I would help out whomever finds the "Golden Donut" by introducing him or her to the Top Ten doughnuts Firecakes has to offer.

1.) Strawberry Mascarpone - This seasonal doughnut is the best in Chicago and easily top three in my life. A doughnut lightly stuffed with strawberry mascarpone, glazed and topped with two strawberries. Light, sweet, perfect, fresh. Get them while you can this week!
2.) Valrhona Chocolate Iced - You'll be tempted to get the Triple Valrhona Chocolate Cake doughnut instead, but stay simple and go classic. The best chocolate icing to be found on a doughnut because it actually tastes like chocolate, not just shiny black sugar.
3.) Meyers Lemon - Lemon is a category of doughnut I usually ignore, but Firecakes shut me up when they premiered this doughnut toward the end of 2013. Nothing canned about this tiny delicacy.
4.) Chocolate Hazelnut Long John - Not as Nutella-y as one might expect, but this doughnut still contains the maximum amount of richness a person could actually handle.
Strawberry Mascarpone: The best doughnut in Chicago.
5.) Donut Ice Cream Sandwich - A glazed doughnut split open and filled with a rotating menu of homemade gelato.
6.) Honey Glazed - Eating this, you will understand what every other doughnut place was trying to do.
7.) Peanut Butter Cup - This peanut butter cream-filled doughnut that makes me forgive all the less-than-dessert-y peanut butter things I've consumed over the years. And that glorious chocolate on top.
8.) Old Fashioned Buttermilk - The first non-yeast doughnut on this list...and the only Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnut I've wanted to order again. Has a streak of something carmel-y in it.
9.) Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie - This pumpkin cake doughnut with pumpkin mousse and caramelized pecan was memorable even after pumpkin season was over. Mmm...pumpkin season.
10.) Maple Glazed Pineapple & Bacon - The tart pineapple helps this bacon doughnut transcend the grease bomb most doughnut shops serve up.

Sorry, but our princess is in another castle.
"But, wait," you ask, "why not list a full dozen?"

Good question! Because I didn't win (see photo -->) and you're sharing with know, for helping you out with my recommendations. Thanks in advance!

Happy anniversary, Firecakes! Can't wait to see what great doughnuts you think of next!