Mojo between sisters

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You really do.

No one eats with more reckless abandon while on vacation than I do. Add my constant treat-yourself mentality and you’re looking at a lot of calories consumed on any given out of town trip. Case in point: my recent jaunt to South Florida.

When my sister announced we were having donuts for breakfast Sunday morning, I was fully on board and off we went to Mojo Donuts in Pembroke Pines, the otherwise barren desert of strip malls and gated communities.

While I’m a lover of just a plain ol’ French cruller or a classic Boston cream, my sister loves really over-the-top  donuts, filled with jams and custards, crusted with all manner of confections and drizzled with syrups and sticky, sugary things.

Mojo was one hundred percent my sister’s kind of donut shop, but you know what? I thought it was pretty great, too.

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You really do.

For a light breakfast to start off a day that would end up with me in a bikini by the pool, we went with a red velvet, banana cream pie, pistachio mousse chocolate, cannoli, guava and cheese, and Nutella and bacon assortment of donuts.

Completely over the top? Uhm, yea. Gluttonous as all hell? Duh. Finger lickin’ good and a perflectly acceptable way to bond with your sibling over your shared love of carbs and sugar when you have little else in common? Absolutely.

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Knock off Cronut

I’m not usually one for blatant knock offs —the only thing you’ll find me buying in Chinatown are dumplings and noodles (aaand egg custard tarts and pork buns and egg rolls and wontons and, well, you get it!)— but I made an exception this week when I found myself at Dunkin Donuts ordering a Croissant Donut i.e. the not-so-cleverly named Cronut knock off.

Like a Cronut... kinda

Like a Cronut… kinda

I’m at DD a lot because in my mostly cash-only Brooklyn neighborhood, it’s the only place where I can pay for a morning coffee with a credit card. At first I scoffed at the Croissant Donut— after all, I’m a BIG fan of the original Cronut— but each time I saw it, I got a little more curious. It was only a couple bucks and at the ungodly hour that I’m usually there each morning, there was none of the infamous Cronut line, so I thought why not, let’s see what this knock off has to offer.

DD’s Croissant Donut is basically the Cronut’s less attractive, slightly messy second cousin. Instead of the elegant gold box there’s a square, white Dunkin box with a cellophane window. The pastry itself lacks the glittery dusting of sugar, the rich, seasonal flavors, which change monthly for the Cronut, and the overall air of a fancy pants pastry you might want spend two hours waiting in line for.

Not quite a Cronut, but not bad either

Not quite a Cronut, but not bad either

That being said though, it’s not that bad. The glaze on the outside is maybe a bit too thick, and sweet to the point that it almost makes your teeth hurt, but gluttonously good in the same way as say, Twinkies or fried Oreos. The inside, layered in croissant-like layers similar to the Cronut but not as delicate, is thick and moist (sorry, gross word, I know, but the most appropriate) like the whole thing had been injected with cream.

It’s an over the top, low brow counterpart to the Cronut, something that like a fake Louis or Gucci, wouldn’t be out of place at a county fair.  But really, I’m ok with the knock off this time.

 

 

In the words of Homer, “Mmmmm, donuts…”

Gibraltar at Dynamo Donut

Oh that all days could start like this, what happy days they would be. At least for me. Seriously, coffee and donuts. That’s all. Long distance boyfriends, lunatic parents, never-ending bills, the impending doom of apartment hunting in New York (again. Alone.)— it would all sort itself out with some strong coffee and a fat, sugary donut (or two).

Ok, so maybe not, but it couldn’t hurt, right? This weekend I was on a failing mission to buy a dress for a big wedding shin-dig I’m going to in a few weeks when I decided to abort that mission and head for a better one: the mission, as in my new favorite San Francisco neighborhood. I had read about a donut place there and thought some baked goods and caffeine would be just the thing I needed.

And I was right. I showed up in the late afternoon, just a couple of hours before Dynamo Donuts closed, but I was still able to snag a delicious spiced chocolate donut and a gibraltar to give me the second wind I needed to keep trying on dresses the rest of the afternoon.

Spiced chocolate donut

The donut was perfect: a soft, dark chocolate ring of moist, donut perfection covered in a sparkly layer of cinnamon, sugar and chipotle powder. I’ve been a fan of the chocolate-chili combo ever since I first tried it in Italy (although I think the idea originally came from the Aztecs, not the Italians) so I knew I would like this. Upon the first bite or so, the donut had a deep chocolatey flavor, with the granulated texture of the cinnamon and sugar playing against the softness of the cake. But then, almost not until after I swallowed the first couple of bites, I noticed a subtle, spicy warmth in my mouth, the slight kick of the chili. It was nice and not so spicy that it made my tongue tingle uncomfortably.

The coffee, which I admittedly was drawn to because of the foreign name, Gibraltar, was in the end just two shots of espresso topped with steamed milk and foam. Think of it as the shorter, stronger cousin of the cappuccino. I’ll be honest and say it wasn’t the best coffee I’d ever had but it definitely wasn’t bad. Maybe I was so smitten with my donut, that I couldn’t really focus on anything else.

When I finished both, I had enough sugar and caffeine in me to give me the second wind I needed to continue dress shopping, and although I was ultimately unsuccessful that day, I wasn’t even in a bad mood about it. A little donut and coffee goes a long way.

Just when you thought pork belly couldn’t get better…

Little nuggets of deliciousness

It doesn’t get more diabolically delicious than fat little chunks of juicy pork belly, battered and deep fried and topped off with Maker’s Mark infused maple syrup. I mean really. Really! Did you process that? Pork belly donuts, people. Pork belly freakin’ donuts. It’s almost wrong how gluttonously awesome I think this is. Almost.

These tender mouthfuls of pork belly, moist and fluffy in their little coats of batter and syrup, were courtesy of  The Sycamore, a funky, laid-back bar in the Mission (where thanks to food like this I now regret not living in). To sell these at a place that focuses on alcohol is just pure evil genius. I’d have a hard time turning these down sober, but put so much as one drink in me and chances are I’m gonna be wolfing these down by the dozen.

Lucky for them they come in orders of six and I was splitting them with two other people. But next time, pork belly donuts? I don’t think you’ll be so lucky.