1776 Union Avenue
On Sunday mornings, Warren and I like to sleep in while the kids (Satchel, 6, and Jiro, 4) watch cartoons. Once the kids have woken us up at 8am to announce that they are going to watch cartoons, Warren usually turns his radio on (to WKNO).
Around ten or so, The Splendid Table came on and Lynne Rossetto Kasper interviewed the Sterns, who travel around the country in search of the best diners, cafes and the most authentic eating experiences. They got into a conversation about Butler's Bakery in Somerset, Massachusetts, where "working men dote on dainty donuts."
Now, as you may or may not remember, Warren used to work in a donut shop in California. He must have started feeling nostalgic, or maybe just hungry, because the next thing I knew, we were up, getting dressed, and heading for a donut shop.
"Is that place on Union open?" he asked me. "Howard's? No, Donald's?"
"Uh...I don't know," I said. "The last time I drove by it kind of looked like it was under construction."
"Well, if it isn't, there's one on Summer," he said.
It is not like Warren to be so decisive when it comes to eating out. I was very excited! I went into the living room to inform the monkeys. "Hey guys, get dressed, we're going to get some donuts!" I said.
Satchel looked up at me and said, "But donuts are junk. We can't eat just donuts for breakfast."
Where had I heard those words before? Surely they were originally uttered by me at some point. "Today is an exception!" I replied cheerily.
"But I want a real breakfast. I want a breakfast burrito," he whined before adding, "Then we can get donuts for an early dessert!"
Breakfast burritos are pretty much the only thing that I cook that anybody likes, and I usually only make them on the weekend. Warren was doing something on the computer so I called out, "Is it OK if I make some breakfast burritos really quick?"
"What is the point of going out for breakfast if you are going to make breakfast?" he asked.
"I'm hungry," Satchel reiterated.
"Me too," said Jiro.
"I'll do it fast!" I said in my most convincing tone. "Besides, I really really want to eat a donut!"
Then in one of those moments when you can't believe what comes out of your mouth, I turned to the monkeys and said, "Do you guys promise to eat a donut if I make breakfast burritos?"
They earnestly nodded and I got to work.
Fifteen minutes later we were in the car and headed towards Donald's Donuts. By now it was 11:30am and Warren had lost his original enthusiasm. "They'll probably all be gone by the time we get there," he said pessimistically.
We soon discovered that not only was Donald's open, they had plenty of donuts...and breakfast burritos! (Doh!) The monkeys immediately started pointing to the donuts they wanted before changing their minds and pointing to different ones. They repeated this at the cooler full of drinks.
Eventually we were able to get them to nail down their orders. Satchel wanted a cake donut with white icing and a bottle of Sunny D. Jiro asked for a donut with chocolate "in the middle" and "pink milk." I asked "Donald" if he had iced coffee, but he shook his head no. So I ordered a cherry filled donut and grabbed a can of Diet Dr. Pepper out of the cooler. Warren ordered hot coffee and an apple fritter. Concerned that we would not be eating any chocolate, I asked Warren if he wanted to split a chocolate cake donut with chocolate icing with me. (He did.)
The monkeys and I headed for the seating area while Donald got the donuts and Warren paid. I soon realized that although there was only one full table in the place, it was the one table with four chairs. I tried to corral the monkeys to the corner of the counter, but Jiro was zeroed in on Donald.
"I want the one with chocolate in the middle!" he protested.
I looked in the basket of donuts and said, "He gave you one with chocolate in the middle.
Jiro looked in the cabinet and pointed, "No! The one with chocolate in the middle!"
"That's what you got," I said again steering him toward his seat at the counter.
Warren put his donut with the "chocolate in the middle" before him, but he just crossed his arms and started crying.
Clearly, we were missing something.
I walked back to the cabinet and looked at the last two donuts with "chocolate in the middle." The one that was now in the back had a bigger hole than the one in front and it looked like it had a lot of chocolate in it compared to the other one in front.
Ding ding ding!
When there were three, that was the one with chocolate in the middle. I paid "Donald" another .72 cents and he gave the correct donut to Jiro, who immediately stopped crying. (This had the added effect of the getting the one table full of people to stop staring at us.)
Then the four of us proceeded to enjoy our sugary treats in peace. Jiro ate his entire (hard won) donut and Satchel ate most of his. (He ate two breakfast burritos at the house, so this was impressive.) Warren seemed to enjoy his breakfast and when not reminiscing in his head about the good ol' days in the donut shop in California, he spent a few minutes explaining the difference between cake donuts and raised donuts to us.
After my breakfast of a jelly donut, half a chocolate donut, and a diet soda, I was nearly flying from the sugar high.
The best part of the meal? (I mean dessert...) It lasted about twenty minutes and cost less than $10.
Warren took the boys to the bathroom to wash their hands and faces, and then we headed across the street to Schnuck's to do a little grocery shopping. (Jiro's first question once we were there was, "Can I have a cookie?")
I looked at the door on our way out and Donald's is open from 4:30am until 7pm, which means you could even have donuts for dinner!