2014 Best Bite #4: Banana biscoff pocket and coffee, Stan’s Donuts

For the third year in a row, I’m using each day in December to celebrate the rest of the best bites (and sips) that I didn’t get to blog about in 2014, posted in chronological order. Browse all of this year’s Best Bites, or look back at year-end Best Bites from 2012 and 2013.

Banana biscoff pocket and Intelligentsia coffee, Stan's Donuts
Banana biscoff pocket and Intelligentsia coffee

Why it’s another 2014 Best Bite: I thought Chicago had already hit its donut peak, but the idea of stuffing one with biscoff spread (also known as cookie butter or speculoos) proved that Stan’s had reached a new level of genius. Adding in hefty banana slices, two kinds of glaze, and a cup of Intelligentsia coffee on the side made it fried pastry perfection.

The details: Stan’s Donuts, 1560 N. Damen Ave., Chicago.

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Travel Eats: Portland coffee, donuts, and other indulgences

This is part of a series of posts about my vacation to Portland, Oregon, in late February 2013.

Latte at Sterling Coffee Roasters
Latte at Sterling Coffee Roasters

As is probably evident, my roommate/travel partner and I did a lot of research on the Portland food and drinks scene in preparation for our trip. Among the themes that quickly emerged: coffee and donuts, plus other artisanal sweets and breakfast items. With a little planning, we managed to hit most of the major places on our list. I knew we’d cover the classics – I’d heard about Voodoo Doughnut for years, and Stumptown is a well-known roaster whose brews I love when I can get them here in Chicago. But I didn’t expect another donut shop (Blue Star) to win me over with its brioche-like dough and bold-flavored glazes, or to taste such an outstanding bagel-and-cream-cheese combination at Bowery Bagels that I thought it could only exist in Sriracha-spiked dreams, or to have the best French macarons either of us had ever tasted at Ken’s. And as someone who loves spending time in coffee shops, I was thrilled by Stumptown’s wall of magazines to go with its impeccable cups (I paged through Barista and Imbibe) and the vastly different but equally enjoyable atmospheres at Extracto and Sterling. I could go on, but just see for yourself in the photos below.

Oreo-peanut butter doughnut and apple fritter, Voodoo Doughnut
Oreo-peanut butter “ODB” doughnut and apple fritter, Voodoo Doughnut
Blueberry-bourbon-basil donut (and dulce de leche-hazelnut donut, not pictured), Blue Star Donuts
Blueberry-bourbon-basil donut (and dulce de leche-hazelnut donut, not pictured), Blue Star Donuts
Thai chili peanut bagel with lemongrass cream cheese, Bowery Bagels
Thai chili peanut bagel with lemongrass cream cheese, Bowery Bagels
Biscuit with pimento cheese, Pine State Biscuts
Biscuit with pimento cheese, Pine State Biscuts
Almond brittle with salted ganache and Happy Birthday Elvis with malted banana, peanut butter, and marionberry jam, Salt & Straw
Almond brittle with salted ganache and Happy Birthday Elvis with malted banana, peanut butter, and marionberry jam, Salt & Straw
Macarons in chocolate-mint, orange-ginger-chevre, and salted caramel-coffee, Ken's Artisan Bakery
Macarons in chocolate-mint, orange-ginger-chevre, and salted caramel-coffee, Ken’s Artisan Bakery
Chai latte, Extracto Coffeehouse & Roastery
Chai latte, Extracto Coffeehouse & Roastery
Cappuccino, Stumptown Coffee
Cappuccino, Stumptown Coffee

The details: Voodoo Doughnut, 22 SW 3rd Ave.; Blue Star Donuts, 1237 SW Washington St.; Bowery Bagels, 310 NW Broadway; Pine State Biscuits, 2204 NE Alberta St.; Salt & Straw, 2035 NE Alberta St.; Ken’s Artisan Bakery, 338 NW 21st Ave.; Stumptown Coffee, 128 SW 3rd Ave. and 1026 SW Stark St.; Extracto Coffeehouse & Roastery, 2921 NE Killingsworth St.; Sterling Coffee Roasters, 417 NW 21st Ave.

Travel Eats: Portland by the numbers & photo recap

This is part of a series of posts about my vacation to Portland, Oregon, in late February 2013. Jump to all posts.

Beer flights and bread pudding at Deschutes Brewery
Beer sample flights and caramel mocha bread pudding at Deschutes Brewery

I’m back from Portland, and let’s just say it far surpassed my gastronomic expectations. I was impressed by the quality and originality of everything I ate and drank, and generally had a blast. We got to explore the majority of the city – mostly on foot, to burn off at least a few calories! – and also ventured to nearby scenic areas during the last two days.

And now, a quick numerical breakdown:

Full days spent in Portland: 4
Types of cuisine tried: 9
Local beers sampled: 29
Local wines sampled: 7
Donut varieties tasted: 4
Food carts visited: 4
Coffee beverages consumed: 8+
Sit-down meals enjoyed: 7
Sales tax paid: $0!!
Waterfalls seen: 3

Wahkeena Falls
Wahkeena Falls

Needless to say, I have a lot to talk about here on the blog.

All posts:

Look for these posts throughout the next week. In the meantime, check out the slideshow below to see my Instagram photos from the trip.