How many times have you had this problem: you’re dying for some delicious doughnuts and some delectable fried chicken, but you can only stop at one restaurant?
My guess is the answer is never. You’ve never been faced with this made-up predicament, but maybe it will comfort you nonetheless to know there’s a place in North Vancouver that offers both of these options under one cute little roof.
If you venture down the alley just off Lonsdale Avenue, between Esplanade and First Street, you might notice an inconspicuous little sign that looks a bit like a pink Wu-Tang Clan logo. Pop through the door below the sign and you’ll find yourself inside Cream Pony, a little storefront that is here to sell you two things: handmade brioche doughnuts, and southern fried chicken. Friends, get your stretchy pants on – it’s time for some double trouble.
My family ordered takeout from Cream Pony last week, my two boys practically spinning into orbit at the thought of combining two treats into one feast.
First, the savoury. We ordered one four-pack of fried chicken, OG style (it also comes in Cajun), and added a side of tater tots. Our four-pack of chicken came with a drumstick, wing and a couple of breasts, a nice assortment of light and dark meat.
The pieces were juicy and meaty – not all breading and bone – with a nice crunch on the outside. Pretty good! We’ve also, on a previous occasion, tried the Cajun-style fried chicken, and that would get my vote thanks to the nice little spicy kick it adds.
We quickly found a surprise star of the show, though. The tots were wonderfully crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a really nice, salty seasoning.
“This is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten,” one of the boys exclaimed. I don’t know if I’d go that far myself, but I could most definitely see myself accidentally eating about 45 of those little tots in one sitting.
Cream Pony also offers a crispy chicken sandwich, which looks pretty fantastic. Next time....
Now on to the sweet stuff. Cream Pony has a unique assortment of doughnuts on offer, including a variety of glazed doughnuts topped with various icings and sprinkles, one of which features a gummy candy shaped like a chicken foot. Let’s call that one a crossover product.
We tried a package of doughnut holes – think more polished Timbits – that were nice, although they felt like they would have been much improved served piping hot like mini doughnuts at the fair.
There was also an apple fritter, which was doughy soft with a crunch on the outside, as well as a plump jam-filled doughnut covered in sugar. Those were both standouts, although I’m not sure if I’d elevate them into the pantheon of the North Shore’s greatest doughnuts, which is admittedly a very high bar given some of the famous offerings available elsewhere.
But we haven’t gotten to the star of the show yet – a classic Boston Cream, a custard-filled behemoth topped with chocolate. Oh my, it was good. It’s borderline extravagant, of course – there’s no fooling yourself about how decadent a treat it is – yet the flavours are wonderfully balanced.
“This is better than the tot,” said the kid who had, moments before, declared the tot one of the best things he’d ever eaten.
All in all, it was a fun family meal that would get most kids visibly excited, and most adults secretly excited. You just need to go into it knowing that you’re not checking very many boxes on the Canada Food Guide recommended list. There was nary a vegetable in sight.
But you don’t go to Cream Pony for vegetables. You go for fried chicken and doughnuts, and all the naughty goodness that that combination entails.
Our meal of four pieces of chicken, tater tots, a half-dozen doughnuts plus an extra order of doughnut holes came to $45, including tax and tip. Cream Pony’s street address is 111 East First St. in North Vancouver, although the entrance is found in the LoLo Lane alley.
This food review was conducted anonymously, with the order paid for by the North Shore News.