We’re hitting the halfway point of our Dozen Weeks of Doughnuts, having consumed almost 100 varieties as we eat our way through area bakeries, two at a time, on a quest to find the area’s best doughnut. In the first five weeks, we checked out national chains, local upstarts and longtime neighborhood favorites. In Week 6, we stop in at a Dupont newcomer specializing in doughnuts and fried chicken, and a deli-bakery near the White House that’s inspired by global street food.
GBD stands for Golden Brown Delicious. That’s a restaurant-kitchen term for the preferred result when frying, the focus of this new fried-chicken-and-doughnuts venture in Dupont Circle from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Birch & Barley, Buzz Bakery). The fried chicken would have to wait for another day while we sampled executive pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac’s gourmet creations, inspired by cocktails, classic cakes and many points in between.
Address: 1323 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-524-5210, www.gbdchickendoughnuts.com.
Hours: Mondays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Fridays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The lineup: There were 11 doughnut varieties on display, including vanilla-glazed, grapefruit Campari, peanut butter and jelly, tres leches, carrot cake, chocolate-filled brioche, Key lime pie, devil’s food, an espresso-glazed cruller, a berry fritter and an apple fritter.
Price: $1.50-$2.75 per doughnut.
The look: Drizzles of icing, unconventional shapes and creative toppings such as sparkly pink sugar crystals made these thoughtfully designed pastries pleasing to the eye. The only criticism was that some of the doughnuts — especially the square ones — were inconsistently sized. (Average weight: 3.9 ounces.)
Price per ounce: 42-75 cents.
How do they taste? These were the best doughnuts we’ve tried so far, helping GBD snatch the top spot from Woodward Takeout Food. Judges — some of whom gave out a few 8s and 9s — were dipping back in for seconds and thirds throughout the tasting, especially for the grape-jelly-filled PB&J that evoked several childhood memories, the tangy Key lime and the well-executed fritters. A soft, pillowy brioche was the building block for several of the doughnuts — including one packed with chocolate pudding and spangled with cocoa crispies — though we’ve been told that MacIsaac is changing that dough recipe significantly. Sadly, the grapefruit Campari tasted like neither the fruit nor the aperitif, so it was easy to overlook. (Average score: 6 out of 10.)
Best of the bunch: Berry fritter. Peppy citrus glaze dotted with poppy seeds conceals a smattering of blueberries. The azure orbs create almost jammy pockets in this showstopper, which moves to the top of the leader board as our overall favorite. (Average score: 7.6.)
Worst of the bunch: Devil’s food. Disappointingly dried-out dough made this pastry tough to swallow. (Average score: 4.1.)
G Street Food
The wide-ranging menu at this multi-culti eatery includes Asian specialties, American classics, Mediterranean favorites and Mexican staples. Baker extraordinaire Mark Furstenberg was in charge when the restaurant opened in 2009, but he and the owners have since parted ways.
Address: 1706 G St. NW. 202-408-7474. www.gstreetfood.com.
Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The lineup: There were two doughnut varieties the day we stopped in: plain and sugared.
Price: $1.75 per doughnut.
The look: Simple and straightforward, these puffy pastries are the plain Janes of the doughnut world. (Average weight: 4 ounces.)
Price per ounce: 41-47 cents.
How do they taste? Blah, boring, bland. As one judge put it, “I can’t think of any situation where I would find myself eating this doughnut again.” (Average score: 3.4 out of 10.)
Best of the bunch: Sugared. Even the coating of sugar could do little to make this anything more than a middle-of-the-road doughnut. Not the worst we’ve had, but nowhere near the leader board, either. (Average score: 3.9.)
Worst of the bunch: Plain. Virtually flavorless, this breadlike bangle had a yeasty start and a greasy finish. (Average score: 2.9.)
The running totals so far:
Woodward Takeout Food: 5.4
Zeke’s DC Donutz: 5.1
Breads Unlimited: 5.0
Woodmoor Pastry Shop: 4.2
Heller’s Bakery: 4.1
Shilla Bakery: 3.9
Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe: 3.5
G Street Food: 3.4
Shoppers Food & Pharmacy: 3.3
Krispy Kreme: 3.1
Dunkin’ Donuts: 2.2
GBD berry fritter: 7.6
Zeke’s Ferrero Rocher: 6.7
Breads Unlimited plain glazed: 5.9
Woodward Takeout Food Berliner, Woodward Takeout Food glazed and Woodmoor cinnamon twist (tie): 5.4
Dunkin’ Donuts toasted coconut: 1.1
Krispy Kreme glazed raspberry-filled: 2.1
Shoppers vanilla-glazed cake and Heidelberg glazed cruller (tie): 2.3
Zeke’s Sexy Mexy: 2.4