Now I know why Homer Simpson is always fast asleep behind the control panel at the nuclear power plant; he stuffs his fat face with
high-quality Lard Lad donuts in the morning, and he has to sleep it off all afternoon. After driving around the southern regions of St. Louis to find a good donut, that’s exactly what I did Saturday afternoon. Except I wasn’t at a nuclear power plant. And I wasn’t drooling. Much.
Saturday was the Donut Deathmatch Redux and the results have been tabulated, calculated and regurgitated here for your reading pleasure. Like the first installment of the Donut Deathmatch, this is pseudo-serious business: donuts are graded on a scale of one to five in each of three categories: taste, texture and glaze/icing. There were four tasters, so 60 was the ultimate score.
- #3 World’s Fair Doughnuts, score: 41. This is old school south city right here. The lady behind the counter had a starched beehive and she added up your total with a pen on a paper bag. There was one man in back rolling dough, and they lorded over the place like the donut king and queen in this ancient white building. WFD earned a respectable 41, getting above-average scores for taste and icing. My chocolate long john was good, but a fellow taster raved about the buttermilk cake donut.
- #2 The Donut Stop, score: 54. This is the donut shop that provided the flimsy pretext for this second donut tasting. Per Bon Appetit’s article, The Donut Stop is one of the top ten in the nation. I admit, I was skeptical, but my suspicion was entirely unjustified. This place makes a darn good donut. Earning a 19 out of a possible 20 in both the taste and icing categories, The Donut Stop was a crowd pleaser. My creme-filled long john was one of the best I’ve ever eaten. Topped with a rich, almost-black smear of chocolate, the crispy donut contained a fluffly white creme that was sweet but not too sweet. Most surprising, however was the — dare I say it? — sophisticated addition of a touch of salt. I don’t know if it was in the creme or if it was on the donut itself, but it perfectly offset and enhanced the sweetness of the donut. Too bad this was the last stop because this place doesn’t just have donuts, they have some amazing treats behind the counter that we just couldn’t manage to force-feed ourselves. Case in point, the Cinnamon Glob, a glazed kickball-sized globe o’ goodness. The apple fritters below the shelf of globs are large enough to feed a family of four. Twice.
- #3 St. Louis Hills Donut Shop, score: 58. I had dreams about these donuts on Friday night, and I was not disappointed when we
arrived at our second stop of the morning. Earning a perfect score for taste and 19s for texture and icing, this was still the shop to beat. The shop is tiny, and it has that characteristic intoxicating sugary yeast smell that hits you when you get the downdraft of the open front door. As we sat in the parking lot tailgate-style outside the little green shack, a member of the crew inhaled his glazed donut. My chocolate donut was glazed and drizzled with a rich chocolate icing. The cake donuts are just-done and on the doughy side so they are always moist and rich. Of the three shops, this place had the best coffee.
After we left The Donut Stop, we hopped on Highway 55 north, completely buzzed out of our brains high on sugar, singing the theme song to “The Jeffersons” at the top of our lungs to hit Soulard Market to buy some much-needed vegetables. What we won’t do for you, my Hungry Readers.