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January 31, 2014

review: Federal Donuts (in Philadelphia).

Remember when I mentioned I had gone on a road trip earlier in the year - late December into January? Well, one of the places we went to was Philly. Once there, we decided we needed to visit Federal Donuts.

Bring up just the word "donuts" in Philly, and people will direct you here. It's pretty famous, in general. They have a few locations. The one we visited was very small (as most of the best places are). They are known for offering fried chicken, donuts, and coffee. Odd combination, but I guess 2/3 are fried, so same equipment.

Which would you have gotten?

The donuts they offer encompass some untraditional, as well as seasonal, flavors. I know their spicy pbj donuts are highly acclaimed.

We were so hungry and tired by the time we got to this place that I didn't even stop to take a picture of the "Federal Donuts" sign, with its customary red chicken silhouette. We literally ran in and let the delicious scent of sugar and frying inundate our olfactory cells. I became appeased enough after we got our donuts to have the patience to take pictures of the little fried beauties themselves.

I got the vanilla lavender and the sticky bun donuts.

The specialty "fancy donuts" are only served fresh earlier in the morning, whereas the "hot donuts" are fried as ordered.

Let me interject with a somewhat lengthy comment on freshly fried donuts. They are literally one of the most amazing things to eat ever (in the realm of attainable, normal food at least). Fresh donuts are NOTHING like the ones you can get at Dunkin Donuts, or even the specialty donuts we had. Once they cool, it's basically completely different. When fresh, they are warm, soft, the sugar has not yet melted and encrusted into a shell, but instead bends and crumbles with the donut as you use your hands to gently pick it up. A tentative bite yields to incredibly plush dough, sugar adorned lips, and the irreversible switch to only being able to eat fresh donuts for the rest of your life.

The vanilla lavender one actually did not taste anything like either of those flavors. It was just a sugar coated fresh donut to me, which I thoroughly enjoyed (although some lavender hints would have been really nice). The sticky bun donut was super sweet - as sticky buns are, so true to name - and I loved it. One of my friends thought it was too sweet, but my sweet tooth knows no bounds. If you really want a unique donut experience, I recommend looking up what flavors each location is offering that day, and reading some reviews on what the most memorable flavors are.

I've had fresh apple cider donuts when I went apple picking in September, and again at Federal Donuts. Both times I have been so surprised by their deliciousness. I wonder what a fresh cronut tastes like. I'll have to trek over to see what Dominique Ansel is up to, soon.

Regardless of whether you think you like donuts or not (I didn't think I did), this is a must-visit in Philadelphia, PA.

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