Thanks to Portland Food Fights, I spent the month of February eating my way around Maine to sample as many donuts as my tummy had room for! In total, there were 13 spots on my predetermined list to try: Hifi Donuts, Holy Donut, Tony's Donut, Gross Bakery, Handy's, The Donut Shop, Lovebirds, Wicked Mini Donuts, Lil's Cafe, Village Donut Shop, Reiley's Bakery, The New England Bakery, and Congdon's Doughnuts. Unfortunately, time and distance being what they are, I only made it to about 10 of the preordained 13 donut shops. Voting has concluded, and while we eagerly await the results, I wanted to share with you all my personal favorites and hopefully inspire you to go on a donut road trip of your own around Maine!
Shown: The Strawberry Shortcake and Black Forest donuts
I don't normally pick favorites. As you may have heard me say, my tummy is an equal opportunity dump truck and I love just about all food. But Lovebirds was the standout in my donutscapades this month! I'd been before, but my visit in February really cemented my opinion of this Kittery-based bakery. With a completely vegan menu featuring three tiers of decadent donuts (Classics, Signature and Swanky), a window for patrons to watch the donut creation process through and an overall chic vibe straight out of NYC, there's very little I don't love about Lovebirds. If you're ever in the Kittery area, on a summer day-trip or otherwise, don't drive by this gem on your way down Route 1 without picking up a Swanky donut!
Shown: The San Valentino and Simpson donuts
I hope this wasn't a secret to anyone. I am a huge fan of Hifi and have been since they opened a few years ago. I mean, have you seen my photo on my About page? I have a fondness for these sugary yeast donuts. For me, it's the perfect blend of soft and pillowy donuts, thick frosting and creative ideas that make these some of the best donuts around. Every time there's a special or new donut, I'm there first thing in the morning to pick one up. I mean there was a donut special for Elvis' birthday that had banana, PB and bacon in it. It's pretty much impossible for Hifi to not be one of my top dogs.
Shown: Sprinkle donut, apple fritter, and sugar donuts
I have to be honest with you. Before this past month, I'd never been to Congdon's. I know, dishonor on me, dishonor on my cow...I'd tried one when coworkers brought a box into the office, but I hadn't been to the location proper to pick out my own personal faves. So when I couldn't choose between the sprinkly donut and apple fritter, why not get both? Definitely wasn't disappointed when I first bit into that thick, sugary, applely goodnes that was the fritter and the satisfying mouthful of sprinkles that I got when biting into the sprinkle donut. Typically I like a nice glazed yeast donut over cake donuts, these were surprisingly easy to eat and equally as delicious. Needless to say, the hype was real. Can't wait to hopefully make it down to Congdon's After Dark this summer! (Also haven't been to this, don't crucify me)
Shown: The crueler
Normally, I'm not a crueler fan. I like a little more...panache with my donuts. A little more flair and excitement. So the idea of a plain, simple donut like a crueler didn't excite me. But stepping into Lil's in Kittery and experiencing the warm, cozy atmosphere and smelling the delectable scent of baked goods on the air piqued my interest right away. The first bite of my crueler immediately dispelled any misgivings I had about cruelers as a baked good; soft, fluffy and sweet, it was everything I want a donut to be. The donut itself impressed me enough to make it into my faves, but I have to include Lil's just for their atmosphere and space alone. I will definitely be back on my next trip to Southern Southern Maine.
Were any of your faves on this list? February's Portland Food Fight may be over, but don't let that stop you from embarking on a donut trip of your own! Keep your eyes peeled on Portland Food Fight's Instagram account for the results, and no matter who wins, we all win by getting to consume these gluteny, sugary treats!