Something new is happening in Oakland. It’s a food thing – a doughnut shop. I had to check it out. So, on Saturday morning I tested the waters. I didn’t say, “Boys, do you want to go on one of my crazy food adventures?” No, I’m smarter than that. I said, “Guys, do you want to go get a doughnut?”
That was easy. My husband and son and I hopped in the car and headed to Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. I knew it was on 49th and Telegraph, in an alley. We spotted the Doughnut Dolly sign first. I didn’t tell my boys that these doughnuts were all about the filling. They’re not really into filling when it comes to doughnuts and I thought that might have killed the deal. We walked in and there were about ten doughnuts in a basket, on the counter – all the same. They were round, about the size of tennis balls. My people looked at me – puzzled. I was starting to lose them. They began looking around for something else. The cute owner jumped in and explained that you pick your filling and she puts it inside your doughnut. We picked our flavors, two Naughty Cream and one Chocolate Hazelnut. She stabbed our doughnuts, one by one, onto a fancy pastry machine which forced an ooze of filling into the center. I asked her if she was a pastry chef, like Bakesale Betty and many others who got their training at Chez Panisse and then struck out on their own. She said, “No, I was born there.” This is good. What? Apparently, her Mom was a chef at Chez Panisse and right there in Doughnut Dolly is a picture of her — a baby — on the counter in the restaurant’s kitchen. I took a bite of the doughnut. The Naughty Cream was just that. Painfully good. And so, Chez Panisse just keeps on giving.
We walked out. I looked at my son. He seemed happy. I looked at my husband. He seemed amused. I knew he was cooking something up. We got in the car. He said, “Well, that will never fly.” What?! He let it out. “First of all, who is going to pay three dollars for a doughnut? And there is no parking, and why are the hours so short. How can you make money if you are only open four days from 8:00 to 3:00?” Meet Negatron – my husband. I said, “For your information, Negatron, I’ve friended her on Facebook and she sells out every day.” He said, “That’s another thing! There were only ten donuts in there, no wonder she sells out.” This was going no where.
I pictured myself, when I returned, – alone, or with my kids, just like the arrangement we have with Bakesale Betty. He refuses to wait in line so he gets a sandwich at the Italian Deli across the street and meets us back there. Or he doesn’t go at all. I thought I had lost him.
Until… the very next day, one of his best friends came to visit with his girlfriend. They stopped in for coffee on their way out of town. The next thing I know we are all in the car. HE’S driving us to Doughnut Dolly. Negatron. The very same one from the day before. HE’S explaining it all to them – the filling – everything. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. They got their doughnuts. They were impressed. And Chez Panisse just keeps on giving.