30 January 2016

The Joy of Duck Donuts - 97/100

There are many places of donut lore I am still waiting to experience.  Voodoo, Blue Star, and Gordough's are just a few of the legends still on my list to taste.   But there's one I finally got to cross of my list, and I have been back several times!  This franchise is having a lot of success right now with more locations opening in Virginia, and it is just the kind of small chain that I readily support.  I've had the pleasure of conversing with folks who've eaten at Duck, and laud the warm, delicious donuts they serve.  I've been to the Fairfax and Arlington locations multiple times.  And this year, Duck was the site of my first donut of the New Year, a January 1 treat to start the next year of donuts off right!

The glory inside awaits
The formula is simple.  A warm donut is a delicious donut.  You can pick your icings, pick your toppings, and watch the donut makers get to it.  There's a donut assembly line with things being started with the "donut river" machine where batter drops into the fryer, cooks, flips, and is deposited in the ready plate.  I've seen employees check them out, pick them up, and remove the inferior ones, and it is a nice sign of quality control.

The box from the first Duck Donuts experience

Choices are set with a series of glazes and toppings that give a good variety, but are not overwhelming.  I wouldn't mind having a few more choices but you still get the basics to choose from, and the peanut butter, strawberry, and lemon glazes are very special to me.  Toppings include sprinkles, peanuts, bacon, and coconut, and more that allow for some really nice combinations.

It's the warmness of the donut and how it just melts in your mouth when you bite into it which seals the deal for me.  It's so soft and fluffy and the glaze just gets melted a little bit from the donut.  Their glazes are not too sugary in my mind, they are just right.  And the batter has a more yellow color to it than I've experienced at many donut shops.  I think the egg yolks are generous and makes it so yellow and delicious for me.

Inside a Maple Bacon

This dough is so good that Duck is the only place I've chosen a "Bare" donut with nothing on it at all.  The warm, fried, plain donut is wonderful being dipped in a hot coffee.  These donuts warm well in the microwave later so they are perfect for having some at the shop, and having plenty of leftovers.

A nice Duck Donuts spread
They are usually pretty generous on toppings but there's really only 5 to choose from (Chocolate Sprinkles, Rainbow Sprinkles, Coconut, Peanuts, and Bacon.  And it feels like you only get 1 topping per donut.  I tried getting them to put two types of sprinkles on my donut once and it just wasn't done.  And if I wanted bacon + peanuts on a donut, I wonder if they will fill that order?  Maybe an idea for my next visit!

Duck Donuts 

Multiple Locations on the East Coast

Quick Score - 10 out of 10 - Having all warm donuts makes for a great score.  
Donut Quality - 10 out of 10 - They are just the perfect combination of dough, sweet-but-not-overly sweet icings, and nice toppings.
Donut Selection - 9 out of 10 - It's all up to your imagination on what you're going to create, and there's good options to get a good variety going.  But there could always be more.  
Donut Freshness - 10 out of 10 - There's just no danger of getting a stale donut.
Service - 10 out of 10- People are always friendly.  Lines can become long and service may appear slow for those who just want to grab a donut and go, but the wait is really worth it.
Extras - 9 out of 10 - Coffee is fine but nothing to get real excited about.  This place isn't about the extras though so it's okay.
Appeal - 10 out of 10 - A fun place to bring joy to donut lovers and make new ones.
Emotion - 10 out of 10 - These donuts are just so fabulous and it's a fun place to go.  It really is the joy that Duck brings me.
Other's Rating - 10 out of 10 - There's great ratings out there and it's more the word of mouth that really got me excited about this place well in advance of going there.
Price - 5 out of 5 - It is pretty competitive and it really feels worthwhile since you're getting the donut made for you on the spot.
Donut Dunkability - 4 out of 5 - Really good tasting these donuts in coffee.  But no donut holes, and this seems like it happens way more often than it should.  Why no donut holes served warm out of the fryer with cinnamon sugar and/or dipped in glazes?  I would love to get their donut batter in donut hole form.

Total - 97

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