A woman stands at the counter of the newly opened Donut Friend in Highland Park and points at a familiar plastic bottle. “What do you do with the Sriracha?” she asks.
“Anything you want,” the woman behind the counter responds.
They settle on a chocolate doughnut with chocolate glaze and a squiggle of Sriracha to top it off. “It smells so good!” the woman behind the counter cries as she adds the Sriracha.
Donut Friend is a new shop on York Ave. that takes the doughnut game to the extreme, adding unexpected fillings and toppings such as manchego cheese, thyme, bacon and olive oil to more traditional components like jams, creams and glazes.
The small shop, which spots a colorful mural of animals playing instruments and eating doughnuts on its back wall, is owned by Mark Trombino, a musician and record producer who made records with Blink 182 and Jimmy Eat World, among many others.
Doughnuts at Donut Friend can be made choose-your-own-adventure style, or you can choose from a menu of combinations, most of which are punny takes on the names of punk bands. They're not very good puns, but the tribute is nice. I tried the Jets to Basil, a play on the band Jets to Brazil, a traditional yeast doughnut cut in half and stuffed with goat cheese, strawberry jam and fresh basil, and glazed with sugar glaze and balsamic reduction. Was it a ridiculously over-the-top gut bomb? Yes. But it was also kinda awesome, the basil lending a freshness and perfume that made all the sweetness far more compelling.
I also tried a Chocolate From the Crypt, which was far more straightforward: chocolate cake doughnut, topped with chocolate glaze, cinnamon and cayenne. The cayenne was subtle, but gave a tiny amount of spice, which lent some intrigue to the chocolatyness of the whole thing.
The doughnuts get more outrageous from there, and I imagine a (purely hypothetical) menu-planning session that included the owners getting all their friends stoned and having them raid the fridge and come up with wild combinations and names. Of course the fun is that you could do the same — chocolate doughnut with cheddar, Greek yogurt, maple glaze, bacon and rosemary? Totally doable. Oh, and Sriracha. Of course.
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