searching for the perfect

The Search for Donuts in Boston

I’m not sure what sparked us to begin our quest to find the best donut in Boston, but one Saturday morning Dane and I decided that we needed to find some places that served up some delicious donuts. Maybe it was memories of my favorite bakery in NY, or a special on the Travel Channel. Whatever put the thought in our heads, there was no stopping us until we had found and tried some donuts from true specialty donut shops in Boston.

Our one biggest rule was that it could not be a chain, meaning that Dunkin’ Donuts was not eligible for our donut taste testing. Since DD’s was founded in Massachusetts, the chain is abundant in Boston. I love some great iced coffee from Dunks, but just couldn’t bring myself to put it into the same category as small shops that bake their own pastries fresh each day on site.

I started my search for some specialty shops that specialize in donuts and found a few places around the city. Finding places was the biggest challenge in this because I really wanted to try places that are known for donuts. Just being a bakery and having donuts was not enough to qualify to be on this list. The shop had to really specialize in donuts. After some time on the internet, we found three places to try and here they are.

Mike’s Donuts
2 Locations: Roxbury and the Forest Hills Orange Line T Stop
Our first stop on the donut tour 2010 was Mike’s Donuts. This place kept popping up in every search I did for donuts in Boston. I can see why after visiting. Dane and I stopped in around 12:30pm to some delicious smelling baked goods. Sadly, by the time we came by much of the selection was long gone. The donuts are baked each day here, and whatever they make is what they sell. Once something runs out, you are out of luck.

We tried a glazed donut and a vanilla frosted with sprinkles here.

There was actually a big different between the two. The vanilla frosted was much more crumbly and had a cake like texture. The glazed was much lighter and flaky, but was not covered 100% covered in the sweet glaze. We both liked the glazed donut here better than the vanilla frosted.

If you go, head out there early to get the best and freshest selection. Mike’s Donuts is easily accessible on the Orange line either by walking about 2 minutes to the shop from the Roxbury Crossing stop, or going right to the location in the Forest Hills stop. The staff is very friendly and efficient, making conversation with the customers and creating a generally upbeat atmosphere. There are also a few tables if you prefer to sit and eat there.

Mike's Donuts on Urbanspoon

Doughboy Donuts
South Boston
Second up was Doughboy Donuts. Reviews I read seemed to have some really hardcore fans and it sounded exactly like what we were looking for. We trekked out to South Boston and navigated the streets to find it. For us, this was a bit more difficult since we were not familiar with South Boston.

From the outside, you wouldn’t necessarily assume that this place has great donuts. Heading inside will make you sure that this is a local donut shop where people meet and chat about the day. They had a great selection, much more than at Mike’s, even later in the day. Here we picked up a glazed jelly donut and a glazed donut.

Both of these options were super yummy. The glazed was light and perfectly sweet. The jelly donut was filled with raspberry jelly (my personal favorite) with a similar glaze. If I lived any reasonable distance to this place, I’d probably be there every weekend.

The shop itself seems like it’s probably been around forever. The staff was not as lively as at Mike’s, but got the job done. Here the people that stood out were those that were clearly locals, who stopped to chat with us when noticing that Dane was wearing his Penn State t-shirt. This place was not the easiest to find or access if you don’t have a car and know the area well, however. Again, there are some tables and chairs should you choose to sit and enjoy your snack.

Doughboy Donuts & Deli on Urbanspoon

Verna’s Coffee and Donut Shop
Last, but definitely not least, on our one day donut journey was Verna’s in North Cambridge. After having a hard time finding specialty donut shops only in Boston, I expanded my search to include Cambridge and am so happy I did. Verna’s was our resounding favorite of the day.

When we walked in to the shop it was clear that we were walking into a real bakery with fresh baked everything. The smell was delectable. At this point we were in the late afternoon, so there was no crowd to contend with, but they still managed to have a great selection of donuts. After looking at our options, I decided to go with another jelly donut while Dane chose a glazed lemon filled donut.

The staff consisted of one woman at the counter, who seemed to mean business. I wasn’t sure that she liked the fact we took a minute to decide what we wanted, even though we were the only ones in the shop. However, I quickly realized that feeling was wrong after we ordered. She threw in a free donut for each of us with our order. The perks of visiting a bakery towards the end of the day!

Both donuts were light enough to contend with the rich fillings and glazed perfectly. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. We grabbed a table to enjoy our donuts and both decided Verna’s had been our favorite of the three shops we visited that day.

We had so much fun visiting all these different places, but are always looking for new suggestions. Is there any really great places that we missed and should try? We’re always up for a new challenge!

Found! My Dream Cheese Board

I’ve been looking for the perfect cheese board for months. I looked at stores everywhere I went, shopped online, and even wrote a post with my most promising finds. But I found it when I wasn’t even looking. That’s always how it works out, isn’t it?

This past weekend we visited a store in Salem while some friends were visiting. The town was quiet and it was cold. Salem is actually a great little place to go visit, even in the “off-season”, which for them is just about any time except for the month of October. While walking around, we found a little boutique with kitchen items, specialty foods, dishware, wine, and craft beer. I had to stop in, and while I was milling around aimlessly falling in love with every item I saw, Dane took the initiative to find a store employee, locate some cheese boards, then found me and told me to pick out whatever one I wanted. I saw it right away.

The size I wanted, the shape I wanted, the color wood I wanted. AND? Matching cheese accessories (!). We picked up the accessories, and headed to checkout. They wrapped it up in a cute little bag for me and I toted it around town the rest of the day.

We went grocery shopping on our day off on Monday and picked up two different cheeses and some crackers, just to have in the house. You never know when company might be coming over, you have to be prepared with the right cheeses. Am I the only one who does this? Probably.

But, the best part of all this came yesterday evening. I was at a national conference all day and had a presentation at 8:50 in the morning. It was a great conference, but I was exhausted when I got home. What did I walk into?

Yup. That’s a cheese plate made by Dane that was ready for me and waiting when I got home. Cheddar, Brie, crackers, and prosciutto. All the makings of a very happy Kristen.

(Yes, I do realize that no one should be this obsessed with a cheese board. We all have our weird things, just bear with me on this. If you ever come over, you’ll be happy we have it!)

Welcome to your new home, perfect cheese board!


Cheesy Cheesy Goodness

I have definitely documented my love of cheese on this blog. At this point, it goes without saying that I might be what some would call “obsessed” with different types of cheese. Whatever. I consider it a point of pride.

I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect cheese board and I think I’ve finally settled on the one I want. Surprisingly, Dane doesn’t seem to have very strong opinions on cheese boards, so this decision is up to me. I haven’t gotten it yet though, and when I hosted a wine tasting for this little blog (at beccajane’s apartment), there had to be a cheese plate to go with the wine. We made due with a wooden cutting board, which worked out quite lovely.

So to prepare for this event, I spent some quality time at the cheese section of the grocery store. I ended up with most of my own personal favorites, and tried to get a mix that everyone would like. Is there a correct way to do a cheese plate? I don’t know, but I was happy.

The four cheese I chose were gouda, brie, muenster, and cheddar. All pretty basic and delicious. Gouda is made from cow’s milk and always comes with a rind around it that helps to keep the cheese from drying out. Brie, also from cow’s milk, is a soft cheese named after the area in France where it originated. Muenster is a mild tasting cheese made with cow’s milk, that has a signature orangey rind. Lastly, cheddar, a familiar cheese with a sharper flavor. Served with some crackers and Sfilatino from Fornax Bread Company, each was delicious in its own way.

Next cheese plate will probably include some goat cheese and a harder cheese like pecorino or parmigiana. Can’t wait to host again, when I get my very own cheese board.

What’s your favorite cheese?

Searching for the Perfect: Cheese Board

I’m I have a passionate love of cheese. At some point in the past few months, probably because of getting married and perusing websites and stores filled with kitchen wares, I decided that a perfect compliment to my cheesy love would be a cheese board. What better way to showcase all the delicious goodness of cheese than on a board made especially for it. This started the search.

We were registered at Target and Macy’s, so I began looking there.

I like the shape of this one, and it comes with cheese tools, so that’s always fun.

And this one has a little built in slicer! AND cheese tools.

Target also has a line of cheeseboards with college logos on them, if you’re into that. Not sure I need my college logo on a cheeseboard, but to each their own. Also realized I’m not into the boards that have a little groove for crackers. Not sure why, just not my tastes.

Now, over to Macy’s. I only saw one I liked there, and honestly it’s a little out of my price range. If something’s only function is to hold cheese, I don’t feel a need to pay a huge amount. I do like that it’s a nice modern design.

We also have a ton of gift cards from the wedding. So of course I had to look around a bit.

First up, Crate and Barrel. Found this nice marble cheese board, but I’m feeling that I’m more of a tradition wooden cheeseboard kind of a girl.

Crate and Barrel also has a cheese dome, which is intriguing. However, I don’t want anything to stand between me and cheese, so that probably wouldn’t work out.

On to Williams-Sonoma. I browsed both online and in the store. I absolutely love that store, it makes me want to cook all day, every day. First up: a slate cheeseboard.

I like the look, but again, I think I’m looking for wood. Also, I wonder if the slate would get scratched? But it does come with some chalk so you can label the cheeses, which I love.

I love this one! It has a the option to get a monogram of up to three initials ($59.00 without the monogram). An cheeseboard with MY initials? It’s like marking my territory, although I promise to share with others. Hmm, this is a definite contender.

Looking like it’s between the first one from Target and the last one from Williams-Sonoma. I have a big decision to make.


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