Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dunwell Doughnuts

There's no way I would have left NYC without heading to Williamsburg for DOUGHNUTS!!!

One thing I love about this place is the story behind it. Dan Dunbar and Christopher Hollowell (get it: DUN-bar and HolloWELL = DUNWELL) raised $15,000 to help open their store front. Watch this video for more about them. I'm just really into the idea of someone being inspired and brave enough to take on something like this. (I SO WANT to open a restaurant or business one day.) And then others rallying behind them in support!

Watch this video from their website. Before our trip (and after), I think my kids and I watched it no less than six times. We called Ryan in to watch it, too. 

"Finally, the solution to all our problems..." 

Anyway, I just thought it was fun advertisement.

The store is really cute, somewhere I would want to hang out all of the time. It's really easy to find, as well. Just take the L to the Montrose Avenue stop, and it's RIGHT THERE.

It's too easy to get there. If you know what I mean. We were staying in Chelsea (my new favorite area to stay) right by the 23rd street subway entrance, so we were one stop away from the L.

Each day, they rotate a variety from over 200 flavors. Check out all of the flavors. I'm talking Pecan Pie, Root Beer, Raspberry Pistachio, Maple Blueberry, Sliced Pear and Pumpkin Spice, etc.

Since this was my first time, however, I stuck with my old-time favorites. Chocolate Covered, Chocolate and Peanut Covered, and Glazed. (And my son also chose Raspberry.) They use fresh, organic ingredients.

Although it's hard to go against Glazed (I mean, soooo good.), the Chocolate Peanut Covered will probably always be my favorite because it evokes a memory of being the first kid to get up on Sunday mornings. I was an early riser back then, so I got to ride to Casey's General Store with my dad for a newspaper and Chocolate Peanut Covered Long Johns.

We only bought half a dozen on our first visit. I questioned Hollowell about how long the doughnuts would stay fresh. He suggested only a day or two. As my son and I were contemplating how many to order for our hotel room, the guy asked, "Is it just you two?" 

My mind pondered quickly with panic, 
"Tell the truth or not tell the truth?! 
Tell the truth or not tell the truth?!"

"Yeah, it's just us."

"Oh, I would think half a dozen would be more than plenty."

Dang it. Now I had to choose between looking like the Vegan Dessert Pig that I am - or presenting myself normal and cool in front of this very cute, charming person. I agreed with him that 6 doughnuts would be plenty, we ate those 6 doughnuts within a few hours, headed back the next day hoping outfit and hairdo changes would throw him off...smiled at him when he commented that it was good to see us again...and scurried on our way with another DOZEN doughnuts to go.

You can even get a Doughnut Sundae!

I can tell you what I'm getting next time.

a Doughnut Sundae

I mean...there are just those places that can merit a visit to a city all on their own. Dunwell Doughnuts is one of those places for us. I'd travel to NYC, pick up a dozen or two, then come right home. To Arkansas. I would.

And if that's not enough to convince you, Dunwell's were chosen by The New York Daily News as the city's best doughnuts. Of all the doughnuts, not just the vegan ones.

On our second visit, they had started serving Lavendar Lemonade, an excellent addition. I can't speak on the other drinks such as coffee, "egg" creams, Italian Soda, etc. I think they also had vegan candybars when we were there.

They're open 7-7 on weekdays (closed Mondays!) and 8-7 on weekends. Free wi-fi. Cash only.

Friday, September 7, 2012

NYC Trip 2012: Part 1

I'm disappointed that I went on this great trip with such great food and wasn't able to photograph it very well. A lot of my food pics are dark or out of focus.
I blame this guy.

One of my goals for this trip was to try at least THREE new places. (I ended up far surpassing my goal!) This was significant because I definitely have my favorite places to repeatedly revisit. I checked one off my list an hour or so after we exited Penn Station. My sister strongly suggested I check out Caravan of Dreams. It did not disappoint. This was our Seitan Nachos appetizer.

This was my entree: Seitan Taquitos
pineapple, guacamole, chili d'arbol sauce, leafy greens

I was expecting more of a rolled up taquito, but it was tasty. I enjoyed the healthy feel to the meal plus the asparagus and citrus.

I'll definitely go back to Caravan of Dreams. I was tempted to try the raw dishes. And I'm certain there was live music, although I was a little tired and distracted to fully appreciate it. The downsides: it's pretty pricey, and it wasn't really kid-friendly. We sat outside so that part was fine, but inside it's a fairly cramped space. And it was REALLY dark. I highly prefer dim lighting; I mean, it's romantic - plus I just look better in dim lighting. But it was so dark (see dark pics above) I could barely see my food.

I spent a pretty penny at my #2 new spot:  one lucky duck. We were able to walk there since we were staying in Chelsea. It's located inside the very cute Chelsea Market. I would have enjoyed a more leisure stroll through the market, but I'll tell you, my son was not a fan. Some smell within the market did not agree with him, and he was in a huge hurry to leave ASAP. 

Back to our breakfast the first morning: I should have bought something more breakfast-y or filling like nuts or granola, but I couldn't bear buying something I could buy just anywhere. We each picked a juice/lemon-aid that was flavored with agave. I picked up this dish of macadamia "cheese." It was tasty but not really satisfying to eat plain for breakfast. I would have enjoyed it more on a salad. I liked our other three choices, which we shared at a nearby park.

Lemon Bar with almond, coconut crust

Chocolate Ganache Tart 
with yummy cream

I don't remember what this was, but:

raw chocolate with cream filling is 
generally going to equal good.

That night my son begged to go out for pizza. I had in mind a certain pizza place in Brooklyn for sometime that week, but I didn't feel like doing the whole subway thing that night. I tried to change his mind, and it's not like he's the boss. However, part of the point of this trip was to allow him to make a lot of decisions, a privilege not always allowed in a family of 6. So I found a place in the West Village - Slice, which earned the spot of New Place #3.

Fortunately, the pizza was more of the healthy & fresh variety. I liked the crust. I opted for kalamata olives and fresh arugula. They weren't kidding about it being fresh. I'm of the belief that lettuce makes anything better, and I was happy to eat my first green food of the day.

It wasn't crowded when we arrived but started filling up. The guys who worked there seemed very easygoing and friendly. I like the neighborhood, and there were parks nearby, which is a plus for us. They also offer gluten-free crust to those who are concerned. They also use other healthier options of ingredients, but I'm not going to talk about no longer living animals here so you can look for yourself if that's your thing.

That evening we were close enough to check out The High Line. It is a public park developed on an old elevated train track. It runs a good distance up western Manhattan, with several entrances. I thought it was nice with fun views of the city and water. There were quite a few people walking through since it was late evening.

The next day, guess who I got to meet? Some of you may have already read about it here. Maud from Food Feud joined us for lunch at Sacred Chow, which I certainly always believed was Sacred Cow when I apparently looked too quickly at it in print. So, Sacred Chow: New Place #4.

We both ordered Kale Caesar Salad with Tofu Croutons. I wasn't being a copycat. I had already looked at the menu before we arrived and thought it sounded the best. The tofu had the chewiness you achieve from freezing it. The salad tasted like my favorite salad I eat regularly at home, so I obviously liked it. I have never used my favorite caesar dressing on straight kale, though, so this was inspiring to me.

In a less green move, my son 
opted for the cheese "dog." 

I got a pic of Maud and me together, but I won't post it since she's pretty private. I should, though, since she's super cool and cute and pleasant, and we enjoyed our meal together. Plus, it's nice for my son to hang out with someone with...wait for it...real tattoos. Not just the kind you apply with water. He pointed this out later. I'm pretty sure he was impressed. He also likes her because she wrote nice things about him. :) I appreciated the suggestion for a new place, and I was able to broaden my NYC restaurant scope. I'll see ya next time we're around, unless you're living on a commune in the Appalachians by then.

Next up from NYC: 
doughnuts that changed our lives.