Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Smash Truck

The Smash Truck, which has a really awesome logo and boasts fresh, local food creations, was parked at the Argos last Thursday, and tweeted us to let us know they’d be serving some donuts we should try.

Their “website” doesn’t quite make it clear if they have a regular schedule of locations, but the Ithaca-based food truck is quite new and we assume they are just starting to figure these things out.

The Tasting

The donuts look pretty nice. We can see what looks like a very crisp and thick crust, which is desirable, and the cinnamon-sugar scent is warmly wafting and asking us to stop taking pictures and start eating, goddammit.

Smash Truck donuts

As we go in to taste, we notice that the donut breaks apart very easily. The outer crust (which is, as we anticipated, quite crisp and crunchy), separates readily from the insides, which is a new and interesting behavior for a donut.

Smash Truck donut

Eating the inside in isolation, we’re a little disappointed it doesn’t have more flavor, but it does taste good and it’s very moist. And although it doesn’t have tons of flavor, what’s there is clean and fresh. There’s nothing mucking anything up, and we can no longer take that for granted.

Texture

Duc: It’s moist, and good. I don’t like how the shell and insides completely separate because I want to enjoy the juxtaposition of soft and crunchy pieces together and that’s hampered when they’re not attached to each other. Overall it has an ok texture. I’m really glad it’s moist.
Score: 3/5

Laurel: I really enjoy the thick crustiness. It’s rare to achieve such a true texture contrast, and it balances nicely with the moistness of the inside, which could have been a bit lighter and fluffier, but the moistness made it ok.
Score: 4/5

Flavor

Duc: I think the inside is pretty average tasting, although it’s sweeter which is good. The outside is fried and sugary, so it’s obviously fine.
Score: 3/5

Laurel: I liked the flavor of the inside more than Duc did. It sort of reminded me of coffeecake. I also appreciated that it had flavor, period. We’ve experienced a lot of donuts that just don’t really taste like anything in the inside. These insides had potential, but they weren’t quiiite there. But they were still good.
Score: 4/5

Smash Truck donut

Final Score

Adding our scores together, the Smash Truck gets 7/10.

Since the good folks at the Smash Truck invited us to heavily judge their donuts, we had pretty high expectations. While the donuts could have wowed us more, they were certainly better than most of the donuts we’ve had in this non-donut town we live in, so their overall score seems pretty good.

Serres Donut Shop (Syracuse)

So, the disclaimer here is that Serres does supposedly make both yeast and cake donuts, but they hadn’t yet made any yeast donuts at 8am on a Thursday when Duc popped in to get our donuts, so we could only review their cake donuts.

Not sure why you wouldn’t have the most basic and most-easily-dunkable donut available at donut rush hour, but what are you going to do. Can’t exactly pop back up to Syracuse to grab another donut later in the day. So if you’ve had an incredible yeast donut from Serres and think we need to go back and try it, please let us know.

The Tasting

The appearance of these donuts is pretty spectacular, really. They are large, and their toppings are generous and quite photogenic.

Powdered Sugar

The powdered sugar donut is particularly beautiful, and has more powdered sugar than there is natural snow on Greek Peak in the winter (hardy har har). Breaking into it, we are afraid of how heavy and dry it feels.

It’s super crusty, which we both like, and the cake is absorbing the flavor of the powdered sugar nicely. We can’t really grab the inside to taste it on its own, which is a huge indicator of dryness.

Peanut

The peanut-covered donut has a very pleasantly textured icing or glaze that adds crustiness and holds the peanuts on, but the inside is even drier than the powdered-sugar donut.

The icing has the potential to bring a nice sweetness to the overall flavor, but instead it’s overpowering the peanuts, which lack flavor. Salt? Freshness? Honey-roasting goodness? The peanuts need something. And the icing is sweet, sweet, sweet.

Plain Cake

Plain cake donut? Laurel bites in with an open mind and exclaims, “What’s the point?!”

It is dry, crumbly, and really, straight up not good. “That’s gross,” she adds. Maybe a bit dramatic. But there’s really nothing else to say.

Coconut

The coconut donut has the same dry inside as the rest, and plays out like the peanut donut. The icing that is holding the coconut on is very sweet, the coconut is also very sweet, and it’s just too much sweetness.

We are disappointed. “Shit, man,” Laurel says.

Texture

Duc: These donuts were all way too dry for me, and really crumbly. The peanut topping wasn’t crunchy enough. The nice and crunchy thick crust of the powdered sugar donut was desirable, but that was the only positive texture note.
Score: 2.5/5

Laurel: They look so great from the outside, it’s really a shame how dry the insides are. The texture of the powdered sugar was the best because it had the nice crispy crust, which contrasted with the dryness of the sugar, which I frequently have a hard time with. If the inside had been lighter and more moist, that powdered sugar donut could have been a winner for me.
Score: 2/5

Serres00024

Flavor

Duc: Sugar on fried dough is always good, but this was completely unremarkable, and there really isn’t much else to say.
Score: 2.5/5

Laurel: They had potential, but they were all one-note, and that note was sugar. I did like the flavor of the powdered sugar donut, but the rest were somehow bland, despite being way too sweet.
Score: 2.5/5

Overall Thoughts

So Serres gets a 5/10, after rounding.

We ended up wondering if all of these were a day old, except for the powdered sugar donut, which was slightly moister and had the nice crust that we clearly fawned over (and frankly saved Serres from a much lower score). Unfortunately, even if oldness is why these had such a bad texture, if that’s what you’re going to get when you buy donuts at Serres, that’s what we have to review. We’re sorry. We really wanted to like these.

Indian Creek Farm

Just a few miles north of downtown Ithaca, Indian Creek Farm is a great place to pick 60 varieties of apples, load up on other produce, or visit a food truck. But of course, we have a singular focus here, and on a recent visit we were lucky to find fresh apple cider donuts.

Indian Creek Farm

Another in the line of simple-is-always-best, it doesn’t take much to keep this operation going. A blender filled with recently-mixed batter sits behind the worker, ready to refill the dispenser that periodically plops little blobs of dough into a river of hot oil. The donuts are automatically flipped at just the right time to achieve a uniform golden brown.

Once plucked out of the fryer, the donuts are presented to you in a paper bag, and you get to apply cinnamon sugar into the bag yourself, shaking it around to achieve your preferred donut sweetness.

Indian Creek Farm 1

The Tasting

Watching the donut machine is mesmerizing, but its creations are even more interesting. They look phenomenal fresh out of the fryer — crispy on the outside and hot steam indicating their moist insides.

It’s all about the dough here — in a simple, machine-driven operation where not much varies batch-to-batch, that dough can make or break the donuts, and luckily for us, it’s damn good.

Indian Creek Farm 2

Texture

Duc: There’s just the right amount of crunch as you break through the crust of the donut and then you’re met with warm, moist cake. This is the best way to enjoy a doughnut, but you so rarely get them this fresh. Because it’s a little unfair, we also tried them well after they had cooled. The crunch is gone, unsurprisingly, but interior stays remarkably moist and cakey.
Score: 5/5

Laurel: The texture here was pretty spectacular. Even 3 days later, they were still moist and fluffy. My only complaint is that some of the donuts were too small, so the texture of the dough was compromised a bit by the oil seeping in from the outside.
Score: 4/5

Flavor

Duc: They’re unmistakably apple cidery and I love that. The cinnamon sugar definitely adds a lot, as well — it’s an essential pairing that’s particularly great here because you can decide how much to use.
Score: 5/5

Laurel: The flavor was pretty damn good. You could taste the tart sweetness of apples, and it was paired with a subtley sweet, somehow lightly acidic, fresh dough that inspired me to try making some apple cider donuts of my own. None of the overly-apple-pie-spiced bullshit that you commonly find in an apple cider donut. This was straight apple, thank you.
Score: 5/5

Final Score

So, Indian Creek gets 9.5/10, and we’re pretty happy with that. We want more. Someone bring us some? We’re at work.