It seems like a few years ago cupcakeries were popping up everywhere. Now it’s doughnuts. While I love a good cupcake, it’s very hard to strike the right balance between moist cake to icing. A lot of times the presentation is better than the taste.
Now it’s doughnuts. Doughnuts are very ‘in’ right now. I prefer them because it’s easier (IMO) to make a great doughnut than a great cupcake. Plus they can be eaten with breakfast, making them and any time snack.
With doughnut shops popping up, what better way to spend a rainy day off with the kids than on a doughnut tour? That’s just what we did. Our plan was to hit 5 or 6 Monmouth County, NJ doughnut shops and split a doughnut (or two) at each place.
There are many more shops to try in Ocean County or in the western part of the state. Once day when we make the rounds, there will be more parts to this tour. The name will stay the same even if we aren’t technically on the shore, because rhyming.
We mapped out about 7 locations for the day and made it to 5 on this leg. Here’s the rundown:
Not a doughnut shop, but they do offer several fresh, delicious doughnuts in addition to an amazing selection of other baked goods and produce. We picked these up the day before. My favorite are the plain apple cider doughnuts, but my husband had bought powdered (also good, in addition to the cinnamon powdered).
We started our day splitting a powdered doughnut. It was a nice, traditional way to start our tour.
It seemed fitting that this be our first official stop of the day. It was a rainy winter Friday after the normal breakfast so we were the only ones in the shop. The man behind the counter (who I assume was the owner but didn’t actually ask) was very pleasant and personable.
Donuts First has the option to create your own donut in addition to donut suggestions. After much discussion we ordered one Pucker Up (lemon glaze, crystallized sugar and vanilla drizzle) and one Coconut Caramel Delight.
Our order was made in front of us and the man behind the counter wished us well on our tour. We made it to the car before tearing into the donuts.
What did we think? The dough part was fresh and had a great texture. Not to heavy, not too crumbly. The topics were tasty and well-balanced with the dough. They weren’t too overwhelming or sweet. I especially enjoyed the Pucker Up and was glad it wasn’t sickeningly sweet.
Donuts First is a little out of our way to make regular stops, but I will absolutely make a point to stop when we’re in the area.
Started in Duck, North Carolina, Duck Donuts is now a fast-growing chain. We’ve visited the Duck locations and they are a highlight of our trips to the Outer Banks. Finding one much closer is a thrill.
We’ve only visited Duck Donuts during a busy time of day and during tourist season. On our tour we were the only ones in the place (again). The donuts are always fresh and warm, but we’ve never had them THIS fresh and warm. Duck Donuts also as make-your-own options or pre-selected combinations. Here we decided to order a half-dozen and share with family members unable to come on the tour.
Our choices here were French Toast, Peanut Butter Paradise, Beach Ball, S’mores, Vanilla/Oreo/salted caramel and Mint/Oreo/chocolate drizzle. These were also made to order in front of us.
What did we think? I like that the dough part is a little smaller than other specialty doughnuts (easier to eat more), but it is more crumbly. This doesn’t seriously diminish my enjoyment of them, however. These were as delicious as usual, but the visit wasn’t as fun as when we are in Duck.
Broad Street Dough Co. has an extensive number of daily specialties in addition to daily specials (don’t confuse them), triple layer doughnuts AND gluten-free/vegan options. They will also make custom orders if you don’t see quite the combination you’re looking for.
We were getting pretty full by this point and only split one doughnut. It was PIPING hot and we actually had to wait for it to cool down. BSDC has a great vibe and very friendly staff.
What did we think? This was on the “A Little Extra” part of the menu and it definitely had the most topping. The girls loved it. I personally prefer less topping and have enjoyed some of their other creations more. Still fresh and delicious, though!
Confession: We were so full after four rounds of doughnuts that we couldn’t stomach (pun intended) one more stop that day. We saved Purple Glaze for breakfast the next morning. I’m glad we did.
Of all the places we tried, Purple Glaze has the cutest location. They aren’t made right in front of you, so I am not sure if they are made as you order or pre-made. They have the fastest turn-around from order time so they are either really fast or have some made.
I know the order was a La Dona, Mint 2B and Banana Cream Pie, but I can’t remember or figure out the fourth.
What did we think? Even though these aren’t warm, they are still very fresh-tasting. The toppings are very well-balanced with the dough part. Not too sweet and very enjoyable. The Mint 2B and La Dona were very delicious. I didn’t get a sample of the others!
Favorites? I think it’s very hard to go wrong with freshly-made doughnuts and creative toppings. I would stop at any of these locations if I were in the area. Each menu had a good variety of doughnuts for all different tastes. They can be as simple or as elaborate as desired. The doughnut trend is one worth researching and planning a tour nearby.