Ask a person where they go for donuts and more than likely you’ll get the following answer: “Dunkin’ Donuts.” Maybe, “Krispy Kreme” (are they still around?). Ask a person where they go for bagels and more than likely you’ll get the following answer: “Oh, we have the best bagel place in out town.” And that place is invariably a local mom & pop shop that may, or may not, have great bagels, but you aren’t going to hear too many people name a chain like Einstein Bros. or Manhattan Bagels.
Why is that? Donuts and bagels seem pretty similar to me. Morning focus, good with coffee, similar ingredients and costs of production I wouls assume. I’m not as concerned about the lack of a national bagel chain, but why don’t you see more ‘artisinal’ donut shops? Yes, there are independent donut shops, but those are usually run down, highway truck stops that haven’t put an ounce of consideration into their product in 25 years. Oh, I’m sure there are exceptions out there but I think they would only serve to prove this rule. I’ve lived in a couple of different towns in various parts of the country, and while I can always find a decent independent bagel store, I rarely if ever see a quality donut shop.
When I presented this little morning food quirk to a colleague she noted that perhaps the cupcake had filled this ‘artisinal’ treat void. Ah, very insightful I thought. Yes, especially here in New York this seems to be the case. Places like Magnolia Bakery have indeed reached a level of notoriety, even to the point where there is a social networking group called Cupcakes Take the Cake.