Day 302

When I began the project last December, something rather interesting happened—I rediscovered donuts (or doughnuts, if you want to get fancy). Why is that interesting? Well, you see, before that I hadn’t eaten a donut in close to four years. When you’re living in NYC, I guess it just makes sense to always opt for the bagel joint. Yet, here I am, absolutely delighted that I stumbled upon this renaissance of sugary goodness.

Sure, I’ve always known I’d be hitting up Voodoo Donuts in Portland. But never once did I consider there would be equally creative and delicious confections in every other stop along the way too. It’s been 10 months and I’m convinced that this is no longer a string of random discoveries. Rather, this is a full-on donut revolution. Just take a look at some of the places I’ve already been:

Still on the to-do list: Top Pot in Seattle, Voodoo in Portland, Dynamo in San Francisco and finally, Randy's in LA.

What makes these shops so exciting is the love they have for their craft. Some focus on all-natural ingredients and season flavors, while others turn the whole concept on its head. But, they all push the boundaries of what a donut is in one way or another. I’ve enjoyed a Banh Mi donut at Strange, a Fried Chicken donut at Gourdough’s and a Peanut Butter & Sriracha donut at Glam Doll. Needless to say, they aren’t flavors or combinations you’d expect. Yet they’ve all been absolutely satisfying and delicious.

So… why donuts? I’m not 100% sure, but I think it has something to do with the small memories of home I enjoy with each bite. They remind me of Sunday mornings when my father would run down to the donut shop for a dozen cream sticks. They bring to mind a crisp fall morning, sitting outside a bakery in Cleveland. To me, they personify one of those rare calm moments when I can shut off my brain and just enjoy the things around me.

I think this unplanned—and ongoing—discovery just goes to show that there are young creatives all over this country pushing the boundaries in any number of fields. You just never know when you’ll stumble upon a new calling in life. That’s why you should always been on the look out. But most importantly, if you’re passionate about something, whether it be donuts, art, music or web design, always remember to give it your all. You might just start a revolution.

Now, bring on the donuts!

-Steve-

Day 267

If I were to describe my ideal Minneapolis weekend, chances are it would look something like the one I just experienced. It was all about what this area has to offer and as expected, the Twin Cities did not disappoint.

It all started Saturday, when I ventured over to Chipotle's Cultivate Festival. Held in beautiful Loring Park, the event featured music, food, and a variety of vendors and exhibits. In particular, I was ecstatic to watch a demonstration from Chef Andrew Zimmern, who is probably best known from his travel show, Bizarre Foods. I swear I could listen to that man talk about his adventures for hours on end. Along with Anthony Bourdain, they’re two people who really helped inspire this little project we’re on. Another highlight of the festival was the day’s headlining musical act, Portugal. The Man. I’ve been such a fan of their music for a long, long time and it was great to finally see them live. 

There was so much going on at all times, but even amongst the chaos you could tell everyone was having a good time. The entire event was based around a very poignant message of healthful foods, constructive conservations and ethical eats—all things I actively participated in and certainly support to the best of my ability. And unlike some other festivals I’ve attended, I’d say the overall atmosphere remained pretty relaxed for the most part. All in all, it was a great day and the weather was absolutely perfect for the entirety of the event (Of course, the free samples didn't hurt either). 

I didn’t think the day could get any better, but as soon as Portugal. The Man wrapped their set, I dashed a few blocks north to First Avenue—a venue I’ve been dying to step foot in for years and years. There, I got to see two of my favorite artists, Astronautalis and SIMS (check out my interview with him here), perform under the collective banner of AstroSims. I also got a chance to sit down and interview Astronautalis before the show, but I’ll save that for Thursday.

The entire show was pure energy from start to finish and the crowd was electric all night long. I’ve been to quite a few concerts in my life and I’d have to say that this was one of the most entertaining I’ve ever been to. When I exited the venue and realized I was drenched with sweat, I took it as a true sign of the good time I just had.

The next morning, I decided to take it easy, as I was still pretty spent from the night before. So, I walked down to the Uptown area and grab a few scrumptious morsels at Bogarts Donuts. After my visit to Glam Doll a few weekends ago, I was told to give them a try and I’m really glad I listened. They don’t have any crazy flavors or anything, but—whoa doggy—do they have some amazing donuts.

The weekend wasn't all puppy dogs and rainbows though. On Friday, I fell victim to fraud—twice. The first one happened on my credit card and they took care of it rather easily, so I thought that'd be the end of it. Well, when I arrived home that night, I noticed the same company tried to put the same charge on my debit card, which is through a completely different bank. They made it much more difficult on me, canceling my card and issuing a replacement that I may not see until next month in Austin. Needless to say, it's not the most ideal situation for someone on the road. But, I'm not going to let it slow me down. That's for sure. 

-Steve-