Driving That Train, High on Beignet


People often focus on the downside of drinking, like how it makes some people crash their cars into buildings, or how you feel a kinship with death during the morning hangover. However, inebriation also has its delights. There’s the giddiness and belief in all possibility that grips your brain somewhere after the third libation. Drink is also responsible for the glory of the early morning fourth meal, which, as long as there is any decent measure of grease, sugar, and salt involved, tastes like the greatest thing you have ever eaten. There are whole institutions, the $2 slice joint, dirty water hot dogs, and here in Chicago, Flash Taco, that would not exist without liquor-induced palate goggles.

Just the Spot


For a sheltered white suburbanite, freshman year at college is supposed to be an exposure to the real world, a year of intercultural exploration. I suppose there were plenty of meaningful discoveries, but my first learning in those days was this: The Jews have bagels. The gentiles have doughnuts. A New Yorker actually slung a slur at me that first week at the University of Michigan when he found out my childhood Sunday mornings were filled with custard-filled eclairs and not poppyseed or granulated garlic-encrusted circles of bread. I’d filled him in on how doughnuts were not Midwestern low-country foods, but in fact the closest thing to godliness. I’d told him of how I coveted the moments before Sunday school, not because I would soon be regaled with the divine and outsized adventures of Jesus, but that the nuns who ran the weekly church fund-raising bake sale made a killer long john. He didn’t really understand, so we headed out to the nearest Dunkin’, broke bread over a Boston creme affair, and a common understanding was reached. Of course, doughnut worship is not just a religious thing. It’s also a regional passion. Just as Michiganians show you where they live…

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Don’t Fritter Away this Opportunity


Life might be a journey, but sublime food is a destination, and there’s no better destination than the apple fritter at Old Fashioned Donut. People always ask “what’s the best?”, and the answer is usually a subjective handful of choices. Consider it a lock, like the Daley administrations over the last half century, the Old Fashioned apple fritter is the best. These deep fried and super icing slathered concoctions make Krispy Kreme look like the health food section at Whole Foods. Most apple fritters should be called cinnamon spiced donuts, because if you’re lucky they might have one chunk of apple. The fritters at old fashioned are dotted with toothsume hunks and an orchard’s worth of apple perfume.