I'M having some trouble writing this column.
The problem is not writer's block, exactly . . . call it doughnut lover's block.
Every time I sit down at my computer to put words to computer monitor, I begin to think about the plump, sugary confections at Lucky's Doughnuts, my mind wanders, my mouth waters, and I'm stuck once again.
In June, high-end coffee roaster 49th Parallel officially opened the doors to its second café and retail location in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.
The coffee is excellent. Beans are house-roasted, including single-origin coffees and the company's Epic Espresso. Soon, the café will offer "flights" of coffee to allow customers the opportunity to compare beans sourced from different growing regions and producers; and there are plans for educational seminars and courses, helping to share the company's passion for coffee.
Still, I wouldn't normally advocate that you make the trip from the North Shore unless you're serious about beans - we do have many excellent roasters, cafés and coffee shops closer to home.
If you love doughnuts, though, get over there. (The earlier in the day, the better; they do sometimes run out in the evening.) Company management noticed when travelling that top-notch coffee and doughnuts were an oftseen combination, and with the opening of their new café, decided to bring the pairing to Vancouver.
They joined forces with local pastry chef Dawne Gourley to create Lucky's Doughnuts' own recipes.
A selection of the brand's 13 different doughnuts are made fresh throughout the day, as well as some seasonal varieties.
The starting lineup includes a bacon-apple fritter, a coconut bismarck, a salted caramel old-fashioned, orange-pistachio with honey, and a peanut butter and jam square. These fried pastries are a few notches above the average frozen and reheated doughnut you find around the Lower Mainland, and the price reflects that. Most are in the $3 range.
I sampled many of them at a media tasting last week, and I'm hooked.
The French crullers are worthy of my obsession - light and airy, with just the right amount of crunchy resistance outside and creamy smoothness within. (Darn it.
There I go again, wondering if I have time to make a quick trip over there for a cruller.) The caramel on the salted caramel is sticky, chewy and not too sweet. The lemon bismarck is perfectly tart, and that applebacon fritter is a great pick for savoury lovers.
Now, don't get me wrong. We have delicious doughnuts on this side of the inlet - I used Harmony Donuts instead of a wedding cake, Honey Doughnuts are a must if you're in Deep Cove, and I often swing over to Nickel's Bakery on Lonsdale for European treats. With all components made from scratch, though, and many ingredients sourced locally, Lucky's brings something new to the pastry case. They're worth the trip overtown.
The new 49th Parallel Café is at 2902 Main St., Vancouver; www.49thparallelroasters.com.