Saturday morning, and way too early for someone who’s slept as little as I have during the past week to be up and moving around. I hopped in the car and headed down State Street, passing WinCo and Wal-Mart because there’s no way I was going to be cooking anything this morning. I kept going, passing The Egg Factory, Merritt’s, The Lift, Dawson’s, Big City, and any number of chain coffee/fast food places. Today, I had two things to satisfy: hunger and curiosity.
DK Donuts (or DK’s Variety Donuts, depending on which sign you believe) has been around just about as long as I can remember. If memory serves, Boise used to be a better place for donuts when it was much smaller. I think we may have had Dunkin’ Donuts at one point. I know for a fact we had Winchell’s. For a long time though, our options were limited to Country Donut, DK, Pastry Perfection, and the grocery stores. Then Krispy Kreme came to town, and it’s important for me to get something off my chest before we continue: I DESPISE Krispy Kreme. To me, their mass-produced, triple-dipped, assembly line doughnuts are only one step above the boxed stuff from Hostess that you can grab at any grocery or convenience store, and that one step is due only to the fact that the original glazed are pretty decent if you get them when they’re still fresh and hot (it would seem that KK knows this, which is why they have that sign out front).
Anyway, there’s only so much you can say about doughnuts, so this won’t be a very in-depth review. I had the tiny older foreign woman behind the counter throw a selection into a box, and off I went toward home.
|Maple and Chocolate Bars|
I have to admit I didn’t try either the regular maple or chocolate bars. They seem to be pretty standard for the area in terms of weight and amount of icing. I’m not so big on chocolate doughnuts anyway, but I did try the maple icing on something else and it was good, though not worth writing home about. The roommate didn’t care for the maple icing at all.
Lame, I know, but I didn’t really try this one either. It was purchased for the roommate, who pronounced it “okay”. I did try a tiny little bit of the lemon filling, and didn’t think it was okay at all.
I bought this one for the tween, who actually happened to be awake so I did get to try it. Once again, good, but not spectacular. The dough is good, the flavors not terribly strong, and at the risk of nitpicking I find it aesthetically unpleasing the way the icing was flaking off. Still, the kid didn’t seem to mind.
|Bacon Maple Bar|
Ah, now this is what I made the journey for. Last summer on a trip to Portland, I visited both Voodoo Doughnut locations (there were only two at that time, a third has since opened in Eugene), the one Anthony Bourdain visited AND the one Adam Richman visited. It was there that I fell in love with the bacon maple bar, an idea that seems to put some people off but which made total sense to me the second I heard it. And I must not be the only one, because it’s arguably the main doughnut featured on all the travel shows that stop by. A while back, Boise Weekly mentioned that DK was co-opting the concept for the Boise masses, and today I finally tried their version.
|The original bacon maple bar from Voodoo Doughnut|
The verdict? It’s somewhat similar, but over all a completely different animal. DK’s doughnuts are more airy, and they use less icing. They do, however, use longer strips of thin bacon that are laid straight up and down their elongated, rectangular bars. The Voodoo version is a denser affair, VERY heavy on the icing and the bacon is of a thicker variety which is out of necessity fried crispier. So, let’s do a tally on the DK Bacon Maple Bar…
Pro: Lighter than Voodoo’s, smoky bacon in every bite with some to spare, and you don’t feel your teeth rotting from the abundance of icing while you eat it.
Con: Doesn’t strike the same successful balance between bacon and maple that Voodoo’s does, the maple icing is underused and not as flavorful, and the bacon is barely crisp at all.
In the end, I have to give the victory to Voodoo. If you want a…somewhat healthier (?) version of the bacon maple bar or if you’ve never had it and/or won’t be visiting Portland or Eugene anytime soon, by all means check it out at DK, it’s a combination that deserves to be experienced. If you want something closer to the real thing, I recommend going to Winco in Meridian where they make denser doughnuts with lots of icing (I don’t know about the Boise or Nampa locations, but the Eagle branch doesn’t slather on the icing the way Meridian does), grabbing some maple bars and some thick-cut smoked or maple bacon, and making it into a do-it-yourself project.
DK Donuts is (my opinion, of course) definitely better than Krispy Kreme, Country Donut, and most of the grocery store options. Good enough to make a special trip downtown for? That’s another matter. Pastry Perfection is closer and I think they have French crullers (my all-time favorite doughnut), so that may be my doughnut place of choice for the time being.
Final Grade: C+
I love DK doughnuts. May not be the best ever doughnuts, but I don't know of better doughnuts in Boise. Certainly leaps and bounds above any grocery store doughnut, and I think better than Krispy Kreme. If there are better doughnuts in Boise I want to know.
It doesn't take much to be better than Krispy Kreme, they've got kind of a lowest common denominator thing going on. My roommate swears that Albertson's are the best in town, and honestly I think my vote is currently with Pastry Perfection. Still, my kingdom for a Tim Horton's or Dunkin' Donuts in Boise!
DK is skimping on their donuts. The old fashion used to have a small center, but the hole in the middle is getting larger and larger so now they're just a large thin ring of donut.
Have you gotten the chance to try Guru Donuts yet? Be sure to try the Hipster Berry if you do!
Looking forward to them re-opening so I can try something!