I can still remember when I first saw The Doughnut Project pop up onto the doughnut scene back in 2015 with what I thought was the most repulsive doughnut I had ever seen. Ricotta cheese stuffed bismark with a beet glaze. Granted, this was in the early stages of PBD when my palette was less refined and not as open but the thought of beets on a doughnut made me want to vomit! With the inaugural NYC donutfest around the corner, I booked my flight to attend but just as my luck would have it, a massive snow storm canceled the flight and I missed it. I later found out that the ricotta beat doughnut won the overall which had me very intrigued.
A year later, I finally found myself at the doors of The Doughnut Project. When I walked in I was greeted by this super cool guy with tons of energy. I told him I was a doughnut blogger that was on a doughnut tour of NYC and he immediately starts asking about where I’ve been. “Did you try this place yet”? “You gotta try the doughnuts here”. “Don’t forget to try this place too”! Literally giving me recommendations to his competitors. Now, having been to over 100 doughnut shops across America, and even working at one for over 2 years, I’ve noticed there’s one distinct characteristic that separates the good doughnut shops from the great ones. The great ones are run by people with a true passion and understanding for delivering an unforgettable experience. Needless to say, I later found out that this was Troy, co-owner of The Doughnut Project. Man…talk about hospitality. Three minutes into meeting this guy and I felt like we had been friends for years! It’s people like that, that you meet and immediately you know you’ll be back again soon. Well, since that first visit I’ve been back 3 more times and I can tell you right now that The Doughnut Project is like a fine wine that gets better with age.
I’m going to try and keep this one to a ten minute read but with how many flavors I’ve tried and legitimately never being disappointed with a single one, I might end up just tell you about them all but I want to first start out with the very first flavor I ever tried from TDP and that is the Olive Oil Glazed aka…
This doughnut is the one doughnut that I have never quite been able to wrap my head around. It’s a yeast doughnut which is actually the only kind of doughnut TDP offered until recently when they released their buttermilk old fashion which now that I think about it, I forgot to get while I was in town last week….shit! Anyways, the Bronx is a yeast doughnut that is covered in a black pepper olive oil glaze! People...I cannot even begin to describe to you the how amazing this flavor combo is! The craziest part is that it’s really not a savory doughnut either. It’s still sweet but in this kind of weird almost magical way that confuses me more than women! Immediately the pepper hits you in the nose followed by the sweetness of glaze which really balances things out. The finisher is the olive oil which just kind of creeps in with a bit of fruitness that’s normally kind of hard to pick up because olive oil tends to be a bit more bitter but with the glaze, the sweeter flavors of the olive oil really come out. If there’s one doughnut that is a MUST TRY on this menu it’s The Bronx fasho!
Keeping things weird, I gotta circle back around to the doughnut I mentioned earlier. Now I don’t think I have ever eaten beets in my life outside of, well…never. And to be honest, that would probably still be the case if it wasn’t for The Doughnut Project’s
Those Beets are Dope
The best way I know to describe beets is that they taste like sweet corn that was picked way to early. It’s got that grainy, earthy taste that every 8 year old dreads. Had my mom made me beet doughnuts, I probably would have eaten my vegetables instead of being a fat little shit head but that’s behind us now. What matter most here is that this doughnut will knock your damn socks (and possibly your panties) off. The glaze still very much tastes like beets but the flavor is so much more rich and concentrated really letting the natural sugars shine. The best part is that as soon as the ricotta filling ooze out and mixes together with the beets, the saltiness of the cheese cuts through the strong beet flavor and brings everything together. This flavor combo is a total match made in heaven and it’s so unique to the doughnut world which is another reason I love TDP so much. Their flavors are unique to them and they are willing to put things out there that make people question whether or not they are insane or pure genius!
Since I probably already broke my promise on this being a ten minute read, I’m just going to go ahead and list the rest from here on out by name and description because lets me honest, you guys really don’t wanna listen to my babble. It’s all about the doughnuts and I respect that.
Espresso Milk Chocolate
I could have swore this one had a cool name like the first two but turns out it doesn’t. Just straight to the point. What I like about this one that the other two don’t have, was the crunch factor. I’m a sucker for textures and crunchy is at the top of the list. The richness of the milk chocolate is a classic match for the pungent espresso that’s found in not just the drizzle but also the crunch coating along the outside. Also, lets not ignore the fact that that dough looks absolutely beautiful! The way you see those small crimps in the dough where the air pockets meet is exactly what I like to see in my yeast doughnuts.
Yes that’s right…The Brown Butter Carrot reminds me so much of culinary school because that’s where I was first introduced to brown butter. This was a 2017 seasonal fall flavor so I don’t know that it will eve be release again but I couldn’t not mention it considering the name and my maturity level. If you don’t know what brown butter is, basically you melt butter then proceed to burn it. Ok maybe not burn it but the point is to brown the milk solids as they separate from the oils giving it a nutty flavor. This I loved the flavor with the toasted pumpkin seeds on top and. I actually didn’t get a whole lot of carrot flavor but I can appreciate the color that they gave the glaze.
I feel like there’s an old sitcom character that this was named after but I’m too lazy to look it up. All I know is that i’m team dark chocolate for like but the Malted milk chocolate icing on this one is next level! And the home made malted milk chocolate cookie on top…UGHHH! It’s all about the small little details like that that just really push doughnuts over the edge. The Malter White is just a fat kids doughnut. Plain and simple. It’s got a rich milk chocolate glaze with homemade cookies on top. There’s really nothing else a chubby kid like me growing up wouldn’t want except maybe a glass of chocolate milk to top it off
The Everything Bagel
No not literally a bagel but a doughnut covered in a savory cream cheese icing and topped with classic everything bagel seasoning. I’ve never been super big on bagels but especially not savory ones. I actually still have never to this day, tried a real everything bagel. But who needs to when TDP serves it in doughnut form?! That said, I don’t have a leg to stand on when critiquing this one but all I can say is GODDAM this one is BANGIN’! The seasoning not only packs a SHIT TON of flavor but adds a unique crunch to every bite. The sea salt granules are big and just shatter between your teeth but don’t worry. This thing is completely balanced with the cream cheese frosting that just smooths the saltiness out just before it overwhelms the rest of the flavors. I didn’t try it but one of these days i’m gunna slice one in half and do some sort of sandwich with it.
Carnegie Deli Doughnut Sandwich
Sticking with the savory side of things, this is yet another reason why I love TDP. They understand that the food industry is a competition but also a community and they are constantly collaborating with other local businesses to bring things that nobody else has done. I HATE and I mean HATE gimmicky doughnut shit like Krispy Kreme burgers but TDP keeps quality at the forefront of their flavors and doesn’t kill the food by trying to hard. The glaze on this was a thousand island sauce with piles of juicy pastrami piled on top of a bed of julienned apples to give the sandwich some crunch and acidity to tame the strong flavors of the glaze. Everything about this sandwich screamed NYC!
This one is kind of funny because growing up Mexican, you can be off on a word by just one letter and mean something ENTIRELY different. Pepita for example. Pepitas is Spanish for pumpkin seeds. My Spanish speaking readers probably already know where this is going so I’m just gunna say if you know, you know LOL! This doughnut however, is could not have been better executed. This thing seriously packs so much damn flavor and was easily my favorite doughnut on this last trip I had last week. Starting with the cinnamon glaze, it was thick, silky smooth and strong AY EF! Initially, it reminded me of a cinnamon coffee cake but then you bite into the pepitas on top and they mellow it out. Not to mention they were salted to really accentuate the pumpkin seed flavor and tie it in with the cinnamon. It really made me think of the center of a gooey cinnamon bun where the cinnamon flavor is always the strongest but then added another dimension to that by adding the roasted pumpkin seed flavor.
As you can see, The Doughnut Project is NOT just another doughnut shop. Troy and his business partner and co-owner Leslie have created something so incredibly unique in The Doughnut Project. The flavor combinations are something you won’t find anywhere else. They put so much creativity and life into what they produce and it shows in every single flavor. On top of their one of a kind flavors you get a one of kind experience with the energy that they fill their store with. On any given day you can find them in the kitchen, behind the counter, or just chatting with customers filling the place with so much energy and good vibes that you just wanna kick it and hang out. I can’t say enough good thing about this place or Troy and Leslie. This place should be at the top of anyone’s list of things to do while in NYC! 100% Powered by Doughnuts approved!