Forty Ninth Parallel Cafe & Lucky’s Doughnuts (Kits)

Mmm…Donuts *drools*

dav

49th Parallel Cafe & Lucky’s Donughnuts is a popular shop with several locations in Vancouver. I’ve visited their Main St. location previously and have found their donuts fairly good (certainly better than Cartems imo). They’ve got another location in Kits that I’ve recently decided to visit. They had about a dozen varieties available when I arrived (I didn’t realise this but they had more in the back); I ended up getting a Maple Pecan Bismark and Salted Caramel Old Fashioned. Sadly, the donuts were put into paper bags, and the icing on the bismark got smooshed along the way home. Oh well.

Maple Pecan Bismark ($3.50):


4/5
Unfortunately, the icing on the donut got a little smooshed during the trip back home (paper bag not the best medium for carrying glazed donuts). The yeast donut was filled with maple cream and glazed with maple. I really liked the dough of the donut, which had a great fluffy and chewy texture. The icing had a great fragrance of maple; the filling wasn’t overly sweet. I didn’t get that much pecan flavour, however. The small pearls on top provided a really nice crispy texture.

Salted Caramel Old Fashioned ($3.25):


3/5
This was a sour cream old fashioned donut that’s glazed in salted caramel. The donut had a tender, moist texture, and a slightly tangy taste. Unfortunately, even though I could definitely see and smell the caramel, I really couldn’t taste it at all.

I quite enjoyed the yeast donuts at Lucky’s, although I was a bit disappointed in their old fashioned. The prices are on the high side at over $3, which is roughly twice the price of a spot like Duffin’s (whose donuts are equally as good imo). All in all, while I did enjoy my recent visit, I do personally find Lucky’s to be a bit overrated.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Maple Pecan Bismark
Forty Ninth Parallel Cafe & Lucky's Doughnuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cartem’s Donuts – The day I sold my soul for donuts

There’s an episode of The Simpsons where Homer decided to sell his soul to the Devil (who ironically turned out to be Flanders) for a donut. As idiotic as that decision was, I ended up pratically doing the same thing today when I visited Cartems Donuts. Not literally of course, since I have no idea of whether souls or the Devil exists, and even if they did, I certainly wouldn’t trade my soul for a donut (as much as I do enjoy them). Metaphorically. Let me explain. *Rant Alert (just skip to the pictures if you’re uninterested)*. Easily the number one current health/food fad that I cannot stnad is the gluten-free fad. Okay, I do recognize that there are people with actual problems with gluten; hell, I have a friend whose mother has recently been diagnosed with Celiac’s. However, at the rate that the gluten free market is expanding right now you’d think that half of the population have gluten allergies as opposed to the actual 1-3%. In other words, the vast majority of gluten free customers do not actually suffer from gluten issues, but are rather buying the products under the completely false believe that they’re somehow “healthier”. They’re not. Look, I don’t mind being proven wrong, and if there’s new evidence showing that avoiding gluten do in fact benefit “normal” people, I’ll gladly go back on my opinion. As of right now however, no such evidence exists, and the only thing that I see are false marketing and widespread misinformation. *End Rant*.

So what does this have to do with Cartem’s Donuts? Well, when I visited their Main St. location today, I found much to my disappointment that their shelves were partically empty. They only had only a few varieties of their regular donuts available, most of which did not look very interesting. However, they did have some of their more exciting flavours available in vegan/gluten free versions (which at $3.5 cost $0.25 more than their regular donuts). Faced with the choice of either going empty-handed or going against my morals and lending support to a stupid fad that I cannot stand, I ended up chosing the latter (yes I’m weak). I got their Smoked Maple Walnut (vegan), their Salted Caramel Donut (vegan and gluten free) and their Earl Grey Donut (conventional).

Seriously, that’s all the donuts you got?

Smoked Maple Walnut (vegan version, $3.5):

dav
3.5/5
The dough was cakey, tender and moist, but had a slightly weird “eggy” scent (which is ironic considering that it’s vegan). It was sweet, which was fine by me as I love sugar. The walnuts lent a really nice crunch, and definitely had a strong smokey flavour. Personally, I’m not sure whether the smokiness worked for the donut, but it was definitely unique.

Salted Caramel (vegan & gluten free version, $3.5):

dav
3.5/5
I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that it’s gluten free, but the donut was very soft as in I could hardly pick it up without it falling apart in my hands. Fortunately, it tasted a lot better than I had anticipated. The dough was soft, moist and cakey, and had a nice rich chocolate flavour. Although I couldn’t really detect much caramel flavour in the glaze (it just tasted like a plain glaze to me), it definitely had a good hit of a salt that paired well with the overall sweetness of the donut.

Earl Grey (conventional, $3.25):

dav
4/5
The only conventional (i.e. non-vegan/gluten-free) donut that I got. The dough was much firmer than that of the salted caramel (so I could actually pick it up without fear of it falling apart on me), but was still cakey and soft. I’m quite impressed to find that the glaze did indeed have a pretty strong Earl Grey scent. I did find the doughnut to be a bit bland however: without the glaze on top the dough itself was largely flavourless.

As much as I would love to rip apart some of the donuts, I do still need to maintain some credibility, and the truth is that I did actually enjoy everything, gluten-free or not. Of course, fairly or not, I cannot resist comparing Cartem’s to Lucky’s, which were just a few blocks away. I will say that the donuts at Cartem’s had much bolder flavours than Lucky’s, which I found to be too subtle, even borderline bland. However, I do prefer the dough from Lucky’s, and they certainly do a MUCH better job at keeping their shelves stocked. While I do find both places to be over-hyped, I still enjoyed my visits enough to want to return in the future.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Value/Service: 2/5
Overall: 2.75/5
Recommendations: Earl Grey Donut
Cartems Donuterie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lucky’s Doughnuts – Overrated, but still good

Lucky’s Doughnuts is a popular doughnut shop with (now 3?) locations in Vancouver. They offer a good variety of unique flavours, and appear to have been much praise on social media. Of course, I had to check them out, so I headed over to their closest location, which again is on Main Street (why do they get all the good bakeries?). For my visit, I got their Apple Bacon Fritter, which was just calling my name, and theirĀ Creme Brulee.

Mmm doughnuts…*drool*

Apple Bacon Fritter ($3.5):

3/5
The first thing that jumped out at me as I bit into the doughnut was how great the dough was. It was soft and fluffy with a slighty chewy texture. The doughnut was actually more savoury than sweet with the dough having a slightly salty taste that’s further fortified by the bits of bacon inside and on top. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of flavour: apart from the glaze on top there wasn’t really much going on inside the doughnut other than a few smal bits of bacon. Furthermore, although it’s supposed to be an “apple bacon” doughnut, and I could not detect any apple flavour at all.

Creme Brulee ($3.25):


4/5
Again, the dough was fantastic. The doughnut was sweeter than the fritter, and was topped by a really nice, crisp glaze perfectly representative of the dessert it’s modelled after. It also had a good amount of mildly-sweet caramel pudding. While the flavour of this doughnut is definitely an improvement over the fritter, I still found it to be a bit too demure.

Based off of my sampling, I do feel that the doughnuts are a bit overrated. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy their offerings overall and I will certainly be back in the future to try some of the other flavours. As much as I loved their dough however, I do wish that they could have been a bit bolder with their flavours. Those who like less sweet desserts will certainly appreciate these doughnuts more.

Forty Ninth Parallel Cafe & Lucky's Doughnuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato