Monday, March 29, 2010

The Epic Saga of a Giant Donut

I admire your use of the Food Network as a distraction from your eating disorder

So I know what you're thinking (and by you, I mean A). You saw the title and you thought to yourself, "Oh no Stinger's life has sunk to such lows that she has utterly nothing to write about, so she's going to tell the story about a giant donut."

Well, worry not, Fair Reader, because my life may be boring but the story about the giant donut is nothing short of legen - wait for it, I hope you're not lactose intolerant because the last part is - DARY. That's right.

Months ago in Puerto Rico, my sister and I were sharing a room and watching Man Vs. Food, an awesome show on the Travel Channel where this guy Adam Richman goes around trying to beat food challenges (this was the direct catalyst for my New Year's Resolution to succeed in at least one food challenge this year). Two amazing things came out of this mini-marathon of watching Adam take on 10-pound pizzas and wings so spicy they cause heart attacks.

First of all, little sister E found her future spouse, Greg Moomsie aka the Great Moomsie, The Great Moomsie is a skinny little shit of a guy who manages to consume massive amounts of food for a living. And there is something about this that my sister finds to be totally sexy. So Moomsie, if you're reading this, feel free to give little E a call because she is just waiting to binge at the Chicken Shack with you.

The second most awesome thing was we started our hunt for a giant donut. In the Austin episode, Adam visits this bakery famous for its donuts and they make a giant donut that's two feet wide and requires a bucket to make the imprint in the dough. And it looked delicious. So E and I just turned to each there and simultaneously said, "We. Need. Giant. Donut."

We searched all over NY for a giant donut but couldn't find anywhere that made them and even found a Yelp posting from someone in Ohio titled, "HELP! NEED GIANT DONUT!" It seems there is a network of people out there looking for oversized delicious pastries, and now, E and I are proud members.

So fast forward a few months and E and I were researching places we could go in California while I was visiting out there. E found a posting on Yelp for a bakery that makes giant donuts and we started scheduling our days around it. Bob's Donut & Pastry Shop does in fact make giant donuts, either glazed or maple-glazed. And they're open 24-hours a day to satiate your giant donut cravings, even at 4AM!

We got the maple-glazed, because it seemed more special, and it was absolutely delicious. You'd think a giant donut would be too doughy in the middle or too hard on the outside, or the bread to glaze ratio wuld be too low, but I am telling you it is perfect. It's so soft it melts in your mouth and might possibly be my new favorite dessert. From now on when I have people over, I'm going to order one and say, "Would you care for some dessert? I can offer you a slice off this giant donut."

When we were leaving Bob's, we saw a guy order a regular donut to which E scoffed, "Oh look at you buying your regular-sized donut when you could've gotten a giant donut. What a sucker!" We thought it would be great to stand outside the shop and heckle the people that bought regular-sized pastries like, "Oh pshaw! A cruller?! What's wrong with you - there are GIANT DONUTS in there!"

We chronicled the giant donut with a photo.

Anyways, you would think that would be the end of the giant donut adventure, but no, there is more.

When I got back to New York, the parents and I went to dinner at Per Se for my mother's birthday and I recounted the story for them.

My father, in typical my father fashion, looked confused and said, "But why would you want a giant donut?"

To which I obviously replied, "Um, why WOULDN'T you?"

Unfortunately, during this exchange the very hot waiter was nearby and he wandered over and said, "Did I just hear someone say giant donut?"

I explained, "Yes, you heard correctly. I went to California last week and my sister and I bought a giant donut the size of my face. It was awesome."

He laughed and asked if we finished it and I told him unfortunately, we did not.

Half an hour later, he came by to pour our wine and told me, "So I told the chef about your giant donut and he laughed and said it's great. He's very impressed."

Thinking the chef was some unknown but hardworking sous chef who I didn't care about, I was amused but didn't think much of it.

Two hours and eleven courses later (yes, it was the longest dinner ever), our desserts came out and the waiter brought us special extra desserts: coffee and donuts. "The chef specially made these for you because of your love of giant donuts!" he said. "I'm sorry, these are regular-sized donuts, but I hope they're acceptable. I know you usually like the giant ones."

First of all, that's what she said. Secondly, the donut was delicious.

Thirdly, the waiter asked if we'd like to meet the chef and take a tour of the kitchen, which we did. And we walked into the kitchen to see this guy:

Thomas. Keller.

Now unless you're a giant food nerd like me, or you just spend a lot of time watching the Food Network, you probably have no idea who he is. But per his Wikipedia page, Thomas Keller has "won multiple awards from the James Beard Foundation, notably the Best California Chef in 1996, and the Best Chef in America in 1997. The restaurant is a perennial winner in the annual Restaurant Magazine list of the Top 50 Restaurants of the World....He is the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous Michelin stars for two different restaurants."

In other words, if the world of French epicurial arts were a terrorist organization threatening American soil, Thomas Keller would be Jack Bauer. He kicks French culinary ass. He is a legend among chefs. Plus he was in the Pixar movie Ratatouille:

So totally giddy, like a teenage girl in the 80s meeting Scott Baio, I shook his hand, told him what a huge fan I am, and thanked him for his donut. Walking out of the kitchen, I realized what an enormous fool I had made out of myself and for the rest of my days, I will now be known to him as "the giant donut girl."

I may never live down the shame, but at least I can tell people that one of the greatest chefs in the world, Thomas Keller, made me a regular-sized donut.


Allison said...

At some barbecue competitions (not KCBS sanctioned ones) they add a dessert category. I promise to let you know if any have a donut category - giant or not.

The Great Moomsi said...

While I take slight exception to being called a "skinny little shit of a guy", this saga does intertwine my 3 favorite things: Donuts, Thomas Keller, and my episode of Man vs Food, so this musing is absolutely moomsi approved :) .............and give my number to E