Saturday, September 15, 2012

Martha's Vineyard: Back Door Donuts

End of summer on Martha's Vineyard
God damn it. Summer's almost over! In fact, since it's post Labor Day, the grind has already kicked back up to overdrive and I'm kind of winded. But let's really revisit this summer. It's been beautiful. The weather in New England has been practically flawless, and considering some of the hardships that places elsewhere in the country have suffered, I am very thankful. During summers here, no matter who you are, what you make, and where you might live, I think you owe it to yourself to spend at least one weekend either down the Cape or on one of our awesome islands. Since we personally are not made of money, I'll share our stellar tip: Go after Labor Day. The week or weekend after is almost always just as nice weatherwise, and frankly, it's a fraction of the price. If you can get a reservation for the ferry, and find parking, when you get out to Block Island, Nantucket, or Martha's Vineyard, you can almost always stroll off the boat toward town and the nearest tourist information booth, and ask them if any of the inns have a cheap room available for a night or two. I've had success each and every time. Just a tip.
Outside of the Capricorn House
So, as I mentioned, you really owe it to yourself to soak in some cool breezes, warm sunshine and fun waves each summer. Otherwise, I don't know how I personally would get through months like January, February and March. This year, we spent a lovely long weekend on Martha's Vineyard, staying at a cute little inn called the Capricorn House in Oak Bluffs. We had time to bike like fiends down the winding roads and beachside straights, check out some serious surf produced by the remenants of dying tropical storms safely yawning off the coast, and drink a beer or three at any one of the formidable little restaurants.
Back Door Donuts!
But there is something you do need to do as an eater if you visit the Vineyard. And that something is Back Door Donuts. Literally the back door to Martha's Vineyard Gourmet Cafe & Bakery, around about 7:30 pm, just after early leisurely dinners are getting out, you'll start to see flip flop clad vacationers line up for warm, out of the fryer fluffy treats. It's worth waiting in the line without question as the payoff is a sweet, unpretentious delight of a tradition that one might not expect on an island that serves as a getaway for some of New England's wealthiest.
Apple Fritter
So what do you order? If you've never been here and are only going to get one thing, I think I have to steer you toward the apple fritter. This apple fritter is a goliath of fluffy, yeasty donut dough, honey coating, and succulent caramelized apple chunks. It's sticky fingers and sharing to be sure. It may be my favorite donut of all time, as you tear apart each chunk of dough, with just enough juicy, cooked down apple pieces, and all that honey glaze. I love it.
Honey Glazed
If you're not quite up for the huge apple fritter, go with the classic honey glazed donut. It will leave you satisfied with that same sticky honey coating flaking off as you enjoy the airy light dough of the donut. It's not quite the discintegrating decadence of an out of the fryer, still hot Krispy Kreme, but who cares. This is just different. It's a New England, slightly larger, still warm wonderful dessert for late at night.
The last recommendation I might give if you're in the mood for something more decadent, but not the apple fritter, is the Boston Cream (no photo, sorry). Ours arrived gently oozing that sweet, smooth custardy pudding filling, and lovingly dipped top of hot, chocolatey, rich ganache. You've also got that same fluffy actual donut to serve as a vehicle for all of the delicious filling and wonderful chocolate on top.
The menu
How much can you really wax poetic about a donut? I don't know. There's got to be a limit. It's a donut for heaven's sake. Once you go too far, as many fancy restaurants in my opinion have done, it ceases to be a charming, easy going treat. But the tradition of Back Door Donuts keeps it real by staying simple, delicious, and truly a stop that must be made each evening spent on Martha's Vineyard.

Martha's Vineyard Gourmet Cafe & Bakery's Back Door

5 Post Office Sq
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

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