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For Doughnuts in the Land of Our Founding Fathers

Once upon a time Philadelphia was our nation’s capital. It is where our founding fathers creating the documents that formed our more perfect union. Some of the best places to visit nowadays are those halls, homes, and buildings where they once walked. While you are there you will be getting hungry taking in all of that history, believe me I know! (See links below.)

When it comes to eating in Philly, cheese steaks are at the foremost of our minds. But when I am in Philly I like to eat the ice cream at Franklin Fountain and hit many of the stalls at Reading Terminal Market. I especially like the fresh donuts from Beiler’s Bakery. But I am not here to talk about those.

Federal Donuts has been a popular institution since it opened in 2011. Most days there are still lines out the door. To get what you want you need to be the first few on line. Despite my desire to try one I hadn’t planned a trip revolving around that yet. Fate, as it always does, intervened and I got my chance the very last time I was in Philly, on my way to a party of all places, with no other destination in mind. As I was driving down a narrow street surrounded by condos galore I spotted a Federal Donut shop out of the corner of my eye. It was just sitting there this small, quiet, local spot. There were two people sitting outside having coffee relaxing on that Saturday morning. I pulled over like a mad man and jumped out of the car. Don’t worry no one was hurt in pursuit of this blog post. 

I was completely unprepared for this visit but I just leaned into it. I had already had my coffee so I had only doughnuts on my mind. There were only a few kinds left so I ordered one of each for a total of three. I knew I would never eat them all but I wanted to taste as much as possible so I could officially cross this off my to do list.

However now that I have my research fresh in my mind I see the error of my ways.

“Chef Mike Solomonov thought to combine his chewy, cakey doughnuts with crispy, double-fried chicken, and the rest is history……..The menu here is simple: doughnuts, fried chicken and coffee. The Korean-style chicken is twice fried to create an extra-crunchy crust before being dressed up with the seasoning or glaze of your choice (options include chili garlic and buttermilk ranch). Buttery doughnuts make for a sweet finish.”

Here lies my crucial mistake- eating only doughnuts instead of doughnuts AND fried chicken. To be fair to myself I didn’t see any signs, figuratively or literally, about said chicken. It was about eleven a.m. so either they were out or not making any?? I am very perplexed by this whole situation. My migraine brain can usually smell food (or smoke) from miles away so I know if it would have picked up the scent of fried chicken I would have drove around in circles just to find it. Looking back I see the sign for the chicken in my photos but it took some time to find. That’s probably another reason I didn’t notice it, it was off to the side.

As for the doughnuts I tried the butter pecan, old-fashioned glazed, and chocolate éclair. They were all very heavy and dry. The butter pecan was way too sweet for me.  I don’t normally go for anything chocolate but the éclair part sounded good to me. I think I was picturing it wrong, remembering the éclairs I loved in Paris. Boy was that a mistake. I suppose I liked the old fashioned glazed the best by default even though I was done with that as well in a few small bites. Unfortunately I was not sad when I had to throw the remains out.

Since I am not someone who is a cake enthusiast I never select the yeast-based doughnuts. That’s why when I visit Doughnut Plant back in New York City I always go for the ( filled square doughnuts. I like when there is something in the middle so that there is a blend of tastes. It also feels lighter when you are eating it.

I will conclude with a little bit of trivia that has been bothering me forever so I decided to finally look it up. Officially the word “doughnut” with this spelling is the correct way. The definition is the same for “donut” which interestingly enough didn’t become a part of our mainstream vocabulary until “Dunkin Donuts” popularized the phrase. Incidentally their donuts are taste artificial to me and are by far the worst I have ever had. To prove my point you only need to visit the closest, newest, doughnut shop in your city. The doughnut craze didn’t start there.

I now must wonder if having the chicken in addition to these doughnuts would have changed my experience. I guess we will never know.

Or we have to wait until I run smack into another Federal Donuts. It is bound to happen sometime.

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