For years now I have searched the streets of Toronto for a good donut. While my absence cannot be explained solely due to my lack of donuts, I can at least claim that I do not function properly with such a low donut tank.
I am American. I grew up eating Top Ramen with extra bouillon cubes and Velveeta in my grilled cheese sandwiches. I have made my way around the donut maze found in every corner store in my home town. I’ve eaten little powdered donuts in boxes. I’ve tasted the sweet goo of grocery bakery donuts. I’ve licked the maple frosting off of my brother’s maple bar.
Luckily, when I transitioned to veganism, donuts were easy. I lived near Portland, Oregon, proud home of Voodoo Doughnut. It was as if vegan donuts were not a thing. Voodoo created the perfect donut, complete with Boston cream filling and cereal topping. I could not taste the difference. I took this God of donuts for granted.
After moving to Toronto, I tried my first vegan donut at a place in Kensington Market that I honestly can’t remember the name of or find on Google. It tasted like a piece of bread with peanut butter on it, and I paid $4 for it. It was the same bakery that I believe supplies Sadie’s Diner, but don’t quote me on that.
I tried a second donut at Through Being Cool, which, again did not satisfy my fluffy, squishy, sugary donut craving. The donuts were too bready and not fluffy enough. The frosting was mediocre; it just didn’t have the sugary addiction and decadence that I miss. Again, $4 per donut, although they’re quite large.
My attempts at donut-finding have been mostly unfruitful. Most vegan bakeries don’t make them, despite them being the single greatest pastry ever invented.
Canadians don’t know what donuts are supposed to be. They are not Tim Horton’s day-old monstrosities of flavourless sugar to be paired with tasteless coffee, nor are they the sugar-coated madness that constitutes Krispy Kreme donuts. They are silky, creamy, moist, yeasty circles and bars of a bread so unhealthy, they put Wonderbread to shame. They are topped with thin, moist glaze that melts on your tongue and smooths out black coffee. They are diamonds amongst the mud that is American cuisine.
In the end, I simply took a pink box of Voodoo Doughnuts back as a carry on item from Portland the last time I flew in to see family. People looking at you like a crazy person is better than going donut-free.
Some people who are from Portland will claim that Voodoo is merely a tourist hotspot. This is true between certain hours and days of the week, but this lively shop is open 24 hours a day, making vegan donut runs at 4 in the morning a thing that I have done.
I should mention there is no better price at around $14 (cash only and no tax because Oregon) for a Voodoo Dozen, which consists of half cake doughnuts and half yeast donuts of the server’s choosing (but they always put in some extra awesome ones).