Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Heaven, with donuts.




     You know where I never, ever eat? Dunkin' Donuts. And do you know why? That's right, because their donuts suck. Puffy oversweet yeasty things, or mushy, oversweet cake. Or so I recall. It's been years years since I've put one in my mouth. My wife says their coffee is still good, but we'll have to trust her there, because I'd never event get coffee at a Dunkin' Donuts because I might accidentally order a donut while I was there. And that would be bad.
     You know where I go every time I'm in the vicinity, as if drawn in by a tracto beam, because their donuts are just the best? That's right, one of the three Huck Finn Restaurants on the Southwest Side.
     Sunday morning, we drove a young Southern cousin to Midway, so she could fly to New Orleans and deliver a chemical engineering paper. (Betcha didn't know I had a Southern cousin, eh? Well I do. A senior at Alabama. Roll Tide!)
     We had to leave at 6:15 a.m. to get there, and my wife happily volunteered to go with me. Again why? Because she is a wonderful person? A sweet and supportive wife? Certainly true.
    But that's not the reason she went. 
    Again Huck Finn's. Because while I certainly could bring donuts back, and have, she wanted to try out the full breakfast. Frankly, I'd be happy with a couple donuts, but I am flexible, particularly when it comes to ordering more food. Sure honey!
     So we went, dropped the cousin off, slid over to the Huck's at 67th and Pulaski, the place just starting to fill up, with older couples and kids still in their St. Patrick's Day gear, a lady cop at the counter and various salt-of-the-earth Chicago types in watch caps and Teamsters jackets, all reading the Sun-Times. 
    My wife and I shared an excellent spinach and mozzarella omelet and has browns and big fluffy pancakes and bacon and cup after cup of good hot coffee that kept coming because it's the kind of place that keeps the coffee coming. You never have to ask; it's just there. 
     After, we ordered a dozen donuts to go, mostly the old-fashioned, crispy on the outside, glorious on the inside, the variety that first drew us to Huck Finn's. A dozen's too many for two people, but they freeze well, and Edie bestowed a pair on her sister and brother-in-law, just to let them share in the wonder. (We do that kind of thing. Last week her brother delivered a pair of Victor Lezza cannoli and a pound of cookies from Elmhurst, because you really can't go to Elmhurst and not swing by Victor Lezza. It would be wrong. And then once you have some, it's selfish not to share. 
    Rarity is a blessing. I'm glad Huck Finn's is way the heck on the Southwest Side. It would be dangerous in Northbrook, and eventually might even lose its charm. The way Krispy Kreme was once exotic and special and hard-to-find, a purely Southern thing. Then one opened in New York City and in a flash they were everywhere and there was never any point to eat one because they were available in every supermarket and the mystery was gone. Scarcity is discipline for those of us who don't have it.


15 comments:

  1. how do you resist the dozen some coworker plants at the coffee machine at work?

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    1. Easily. "Resist" isn't even the word. It's as if they're notepads, which tells you the extent of my disdain for Dunkin' Donuts. I won't eat them when they're free, laid out at midday and I'm hungry. Just. Not. Worth. Eating.

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    2. The microwaved egg sandwiches are far worse than the donuts. That I would eat a McDs biscuit before any DD item speaks volumes. Plus the coffee's as good and cheaper. But, since I am in Ft. Myers I can go to the beach and Heavenly Biscuit. Great egg biscuits and incredible cinnamon rolls, not a healthy place to live nearby.

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    3. Reuters Bakery on Grand in Elmwood Park is better than Chicago Sweet Connection, which is pretty good overall. I'm a bakery connoisseur.

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  2. Dunkin Donuts used to be better, but now they are premade and sent to the shops. Always stale and disappointing.

    My in laws live on the Southside. They brought my son a donut bigger than his head for his birthday breakfast one year!

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  3. Dunkin’s donuts went downhill when they stopped making them fresh in every store. Now they’re trucked in and taste just like any other mass-produced, day-old donut. Their coffee is still drinkable, but likewise went downhill when Dunkin stopped brewing it by the 12-cup pot and throwing it away when it was ten minutes old or so. Now they brew those gigantic urns with factory-measured packets, it sits for hours, and it’s never quite strong enough.

    Huck Finn’s has been one of my favorite breakfast spots for decades. I highly recommend you have some Corned Beef Hash, an old favorite.

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  4. I was surprised that Biss got more votes than Kennedy. It's almost like Ke. didn't really want it. As for this column, you are wrecking my diet. ;)

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  5. Yesterday was one of disorientation, way too many political ads. Unfortunately we did not wake up today in a State of Biss. Huck Finn's is not bad for a chain, I've visited them since before they moved from Archer and Kedzie to Damen, they can place one in a state of bliss. On occasion, walking in the Loop over the years a tourist may ask for the location of a good bakery. That one is a stumper, all the good place avoid the high rents.

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    1. I don't know of any bakeries in the Loop but Chicago Sweet Connection in Norwood Park is excellent. It's on Northwest Highway near Bryn Mawr.

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  6. Huck Finn's old fashioned donuts are a treat hard to find elsewhere and its double chocolate donuts a step or two better than rivals'. However, the bagels are better at Dunkin Donuts and if you're a real chocolate lover as well as a champion cheapskate, the triple chocolate donut along with a 12 oz cup of 100% Colombian coffee for $2.10 at 711 on 63rd and Kilbourn can't be beat.

    john

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  7. Gotta agree about the DD. Time would pass, I'd forget how bad they are and foolishly purchase them on very rare (now eliminated) occasions and "not worth eating" pretty much sums them up. To their credit, they took out the trans-fats a decade ago -- don't know if that contributed to the problem, or if it's mainly the off-site baking that others have mentioned.

    I visited Huck Finn a few times in a different lifetime, after evenings of south-side beer drinking. I don't remember it being "heaven," but I suppose it was close enough in a pinch. My favorite things about it were the name and the sign, though.

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  8. I'm delighted to note that this EGD post has been "liked" on Twitter and retweeted by the esteemed Huck Finn, himself! ; )

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  9. The question of the hour is not about Trump’s involvement with Putin, but rather: If I paid you in advance, would you mail me a doughnut?

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  10. Calumet bakery. East 106th st near Torrence

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  11. I've lived in Elmhurst for almost 15 years and am embarrassed to say I had never heard of Victor Lezza before this. Thanks for opening my eyes! My family is looking forward to becoming regular customers.

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