The Whole Donut

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Chris Costentino, the chef of Incanto, in a poll of local chefs and public figures, said his favorite way to eat bacon was the Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donut from Dynamo Donuts. High praise indeed, since Incanto has a philosophy of featuring the whole pig and every part of the pig.

That was enough for me.

Sunday morning, I usually get up early and go someplace beautiful in the city to sit and write in my journal. So this Sunday, I headed for 24th street and Dynamo Donuts. Word had it that they open early and you better get there early to bring home the bacon. By 8:15 I was on 24th Street and finally found the inconspicuous storefront at 8:30. Closed; Sunday hours 9am to whatever. I wrote for a while in my journal and at nine found a place to park on Hawthorne, a nearby side street.

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When I got to Dynamo, there was already a 12 to 15-person line. No matter… it was nice and sunny and how long could it take, so I settled at the end of the line. A few minutes later, I felt a hand gripping my left shoulder and heard, “Uncle Marc!”

It was nephew Matt with Andrea, his intended (in June). How weird is that? Matt lives in the lower Haight, I live on Russian Hill and here we are on the wrong end of 24th Street early on Sunday morning. Matt and Andrea had been to Dynamo a few times, but not as a regular thing. We chatted about their upcoming wedding and Carol’s and my upcoming 50th anniversary and it was my time at the window.

I knew what I wanted, but took the time to read the description:

Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donut
Studded with bacon and apples, sautéed bacon fat maple glaze and crispy bacon.

I ordered, paid my three bucks, bade goodbye and made my way home.

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Back home, we ate and savored the donuts. The donut itself is light but with substance… sort of a cross between a Krispy Kream and a cake donut. Yum. And of course the glaze has enough bacon and apple and fat and sugar to add a decadent wonderfulness. [Excuse the Sunday morning table littered with the Sunday paper and grocery list in progress.]

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I ate mine with a cored and peeled pear, a nice counterpoint to the rich glazed donut.

We’re not really donut people. Back in the days of our first living in SF, we discovered Bob’s Donuts on Polk Street down around Clay. For a while, it was a Sunday ritual for me to go to Bob’s early, pick out a selection of goodies – Glazed Old Fashioned, both regular and chocolate; Apple Fritters, Elephant Ears, Chocolate Eclairs, Cheese Danish and so on – to start off our Sunday. Starting the day with a sugar high was a good thing for a while, but then we found the Marin Farmers Market, a way better Sunday alternative. Later, a SF Farmers Market started in the middle of the Embarcadero in front of the Ferry Building on Saturdays and our weekend lives were changed… for better health.

Oh, I’ll go back to Dynamo for the Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donut or perhaps one of their other delights, just not very soon or very often.

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Rhubarb Cake

Rhubarb and LeafRhubarb is finally plentiful in the East (I’m sure it’s been in the West Coast farmers’ markets for a while now), and it’s a great mark of the seasons change from Spring to Summer. Real rhubarb (grown in a garden or field, not forced in hot houses as the year-round stuff is) is a sharp tangy taste of spring sunshine and cold rain. Classically it makes a great pie — more complex than sour cherries in my opinion — but can pair well with meats, especially pork. Next time you brine a pork loin before roasting, try adding a couple of stalks (chopped) of rhubarb to the brine; you will not be disappointed.

Rhubarb reaches sublime heights, in my opinion, in a brilliant yet easy to make cake that I first found in Susan Loomis’s Farmhouse Cookbook. It’s a moist and buttery sheetcake with just the right amount (not too much) sugar, punctuated by exclamation points of rhubarb chunks throughout. So simple but so good, and worth waiting for that spring sunshine to perk up the palate.
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Cookie Story

I work at the San Francisco Film Society on Tuesdays and Thursdays from nine to six. Those are long, eventful days.

In the same building as the film society offices at the Presidio, there is a restaurant called Dish. At about 10:30, it was my wont to get an oatmeal raisin cookie at Dish. I would eat half mid-morning and half mid-afternoon as a pick me up.

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The supply of my favorite cookie was only fairly reliable. Sometimes I’d have to settle for oatmeal chocolate chip; or in the worst case scenerio, a scone. I’m not a baker, but in thinking about my oatmeal raisin cookie, it occurred to me that I could make my own.

My recipe files did not include cookie recipes, so I looked in my cookbooks likely to have such a recipe. Perhaps it’s such a ubiquitous cookie that most cookbooks don’t include it, at least not my cookbooks. I found it only in the Silver Palate Cookbook. I went to my bookmarked food blogs that I respect and found no recipes for oatmeal raisin cookies, but I did find other kinds of oatmeal cookies; Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies at Orangette and the very interesting Pistachio Apricot Oatmeal Cookies from Gourmet via 101 Cookbooks, with the comment that they seemed too buttery. Continue reading

Cookie Monster

Cookie MonsterSAN ANDREAS COOKIES

I’m not a baker, but I have baked.

My mother baked a lot. I probably participated in baking at home, but my first memorable baking experience was with a lemon meringue pie. The occasion was a dinner, prepared with Wally (Carol’s roommate’s boyfriend at the time) in Carol and Sue’s apartment kitchen as a preface to my asking Carol to please marry me. I think I asked her before in Doug’s beat up ’53 Chevy, parked in front of my fraternity house (in the front seat!). But this occasion was with ring. The pie, crust made from scratch, was a success, as was the proposal.
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