The Forks blog

Who needs donuts?

Written by Melissa McCart on

Saveur has a post this week on the best donuts in each of the 50 states. Pennsylvania's superlative goes to Federal Donuts, the Philly outpost I wrote about a couple weeks ago that inspires eaters to wax rhapsodic. They're so good they sometimes sell out just hours after opening.

A nostalgia food, a donut can be terribly memorable. My favorites are the mini cider donuts at Atkins Farms in Western Massachusetts near where I went to college. These little cake donuts sold in sleeves look sadly naked, minus glaze, cinnamon or any embellishments. Yet their simplicity makes them so delicious. 

Like butter brickle and rum raisin, this is an old-man donut flavor. And yet, they beckon. And they're perfect for dunking.

Pittsburgh is quietly turning out some donuts to rival those anywhere. Some of them aren't available every day, but they are worth seeking out.

Take the ethereal beignets that leave a trail of powdered sugar at E2 in Highland Park, available for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Or the savory zeppoli, rolled in black pepper and parmesan. Those stuffed with anchovies make a bacon-maple donut seem nearly ordinary.

There's no telling where good donuts can be found. Some diners crave those at Grand Concourse in Station Square. Others lust for cake donuts, cruellers, spin, rings and puffs from the Downtown and Shadyside locations of Prantl's. Oakmont Bakery tempts with a menu of guilty pleasures. 

Peace, Love & Little Donuts in the Strip creates the most rococo donuts, whether they're little or minis topped with chocolate or cereal, cookies or coconut. 

In a kooky children's book, young Sam heads to the big city in search of donuts, "more than his mother and father could ever buy him." It's based on the question from author and illustrator Mark Stamaty.

"Who Needs Donuts?" 

We do. 

Book cover by Mark Alan Stamaty

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