Category Archives: Reviews

Northstar Brunch

If you like eating food at all, I imagine you’ve probably been to Northstar for brunch. And if you haven’t, you sure should get your butt over there regardless of your desire to eat donuts.

With a constantly-evolving seasonal menu and some kick-ass brunch cocktails, Northstar is pretty much a delight of a brunch spot. Their buttermilk doughnuts are always on the menu, with a sauce du-jour that’s spread over the top or resting below on the plate. Frequently with a fruit sauce or a chocolate sauce, we tried them on a day with a peanut-butter caramel sauce.

But of course, first we had to eat real food:

…which was obviously delicious. Northstar really gets portion sizes right. It’s worth noting.

OK. On to the donuts.

Northstar Donuts

On the plate, they look fantastic. These donuts have the obvious advantage of being fried to order, and they meet that expectation with a lusciously crisp and crunchy outer shell.

Northstar Brunch Donuts

Texture is an important part of donut-eating, and the outside really delivers here.

Northstar Brunch Donuts

Of course, flavor is important too, and their dough center is a little sweet and a lot flavorful, unlike many donuts we have tasted.

Unfortunately, the dough is just a touch dry. But it’s not enough to ruin the experience, and the tasty caramel sauce takes care of it pretty quickly.

Northstar Brunch Donuts

So, fairly full from brunch, we devour the plate. And we have to conclude that this is a great Ithaca donut. Northstar Brunch! We REALLY didn’t want to have to give you a bad review. This is great news.

The donuts get a 4.5/5 from both of us, and moves into the top spot for Ithaca. Woohoo!

Epilogue

It may or may not be worth mentioning that Laurel ended up returning to Northstar for dinner. So 100% of the food she consumed for the day (save a margarita) was prepared by the Northstar staff…… if you needed to be convinced or anything.

Serre’s — Again!

Remember that time we had two very disappointing experiences with donuts from Syracuse?

First, at Serre’s (here’s a quick refresh):

And then at Harrison’s (sorry, no photo montage available for that one)???

Well, something happened.

We got yeast donuts from Serre’s. Actually, we got ALL the donuts from Serre’s. (The cake ones were still terrible.) But the yeast ones… my, oh my.

They delivered.

So we have to add a second review. We’ll average our scores here with our scores last time, for its official ranking.

Serre’s Yeast Donuts

We start by trying the white-frosted donut. Instantly we are in awe — the texture is amazing.

Serre's Donuts - Yeast Donut

Soft and fluffy, but moist — perfection on the moist scale. Utter perfection. We are floored. Duc is actually speechless.

Laurel gets straight to business and notes that the flavor of the dough isn’t particularly good. It’s fine, but it doesn’t really taste like anything. And the flavor of the frosting is unknown — wouldn’t it be nice if it tasted like more than just sugar? But she loves everything else about it, and gives it a 4.5.

Duc gives it a 5.

Next, we taste the plain glazed — Duc’s favorite.

Serre's Donuts - Yeast Donut

It’s pretty much perfection to Duc. The light crustiness of the exterior matched with the perfectly fluffy and moist-but-light interior — Duc scarfs it down, immediately rating it a 5.

Laurel is equally impressed. She eats her share and (citing the still-existing lack of flavor in the dough) rates it a 4.5.

Finally, we have a chocolate-frosted donut that has a funky little centerpiece — the dough is actually filled in, where the hole perhaps once was. Does this kind of donut have a name? It must.

It’s pretty awesome, too. The chocolate frosting tastes chocolatey, and we are quite satisfied.

The only thing that’s pretty goddamn weird is the huge chunk of white frosting sitting on the strange filled-in piece of dough.

Laurel is just confused.

Serre's Donuts - Yeast Donut

We certainly leave the large majority of that part sitting on our plate. But the rest of the donut is superb, and we eat it with much pleasure.

Laurel rates it a 4, and Duc a 4.5.

…And that’s all she wrote.

Amazing yeast donuts from Serre’s. Average score ends up being a 4.5.

So we average this with the cake donut score (2.5), and Serre’s ends up at 3.5/5. It’s all very interesting.

Wegman’s

We had a few reasons to be happy when we set out to taste Wegman’s donuts:

First, we already knew that we like Wegman’s donuts. Although we hadn’t officially tasted them yet for the Ithaca Donut Review, they’ve been our go-to donut for bringing to work to share for quite some time.

Second, Laurel’s best friend from childhood was visiting Ithaca all the way from Seattle, so she was there to help. Of course, much like Laurel approximately two years ago, she doesn’t really like donuts.. so it was a little silly. She ate salad, watched us stuff our faces with deep-fried sweets, and looked cute in the flowers with her straw hat.

Wegman's Donuts

For our part, we set our prior thoughts of Wegman’s donuts aside, remained unbiased, and tasted a sample selection of the many donuts Wegman’s has to offer.

You want to actually hear about these donuts?

Sounds fair.

We start with the chocolate-glazed yeast donut (which we ate with much delight on National Doughnut Day). It is tender, succulent, smooth, and we just love it.

The chocolate glaze is melting down the sides as Duc breaks it apart, and our mouths are gleaking all over the place.

Wegman's Donuts - Chocolate Glazed

As we eat it, we both immediately use the adjectives “soft” and “fluffy” — and Duc goes so far as to rate it a 4.5/5. Laurel sticks to a 4, noting that the dough could use more flavor. Texture-wise, neither of us have any complaints.

Next, we move to the chocolate cake donut.

Wegman's Donuts - Chocolate Cake

It has decent moisture, and the texture is pretty nice, but it just doesn’t taste like chocolate. And the inside dough is awkwardly separating from the outside shell.

Wegman’s!!! We were gunning for you. Disappointed, Laurel chucks the rest of her donut into the inlet.

Wegman's Donuts

Laurel gives the donut a 2.5; Duc a 3.

Onward! To the sour cream donut!

Wegman's Donuts - Old Fashioned Donut

We are both pretty disappointed by this one. It’s much drier than the other donuts, and we suspect it might be a day old. There is a vague staleness to the flavor, as well. We aren’t impressed.

Wegman's Donuts - Old Fashioned Donut

At most donut shops, extra flavor and texture gained from the sour cream in the dough tend to make this donut an easy one to make tasty. Wegman’s version doesn’t live up to its donut brothers.

Dry and stale? We both give it a 2/5.

Next, plain glazed:

Wegman's Donuts - Plain Glazed Donut

Duc is pretty excited to get into this one.

As he breaks it apart, he can tell it’s going to be good. Much like the chocolate-glazed version, this donut is incredibly moist, and with a subtle crustiness to the outside layer.

Wegman's Donuts - Plain Glazed Donut

We both love it. Laurel is still hoping for a bit more flavor (More yeastiness in the dough? More vanilla in the glaze?) and rates the donut 4.5, while Duc admits that he could eat half a dozen of them and gives it a 5.

Finally, cinnamon sugar:

Wegman's Donuts - Cinnamon Sugar

We are somewhat divided on this one. Duc likes it a lot, noting the nice cinnamon-sugar flavor and similar tastiness of the cake dough. He rates it a 4.

Wegman's Donuts - Cinnamon Sugar

Laurel likes that she can taste nutmeg in the dough, which theoretically could really merge with the cinnamon-sugar flavor pleasantly, but ultimately doesn’t find the taste very enjoyable. She gives it a 3. An average donut.

We make Ashley try this one, and she begrudgingly gives it a taste.

Wegman's Donuts

“I mean, it tastes like a donut,” she says.

Laurel is just happy she’s in Ithaca.

So we feed the remaining donut scraps to the ducks…

Wegman's Donuts

The babies come out to get a taste….

Wegman's Donuts

And Laurel and Ashley decide that instead of poisoning the duck babies with fat and sugar, they should just focus on loving each other.

Wegman's Donuts

All told, Wegman’s scores average out to 3.5/5.

Another way to look at these scores, however, is that Wegman’s yeast donuts get a 4.5 and Wegman’s cake donuts get a 3.

So if you like yeast donuts, Wegman’s is doing pretty damn well for you. But if you like cake donuts… maybe buy a cookie instead.