What We Want: Peanut stick donuts

Illustration by Jean-Pierre Thimot

You write doughnut; I write donut. Despite a murky history that attributes the invention of the donut to a. America’s early Dutch settlers, or b. Hanson Gregory, a ship’s cook offended by the uncooked center of the more-standard twist, a great donut is a thing of beauty. A mediocre donut is a waste of calories, and a bad donut is nothing but a shame. Fortunately for Western New Yorkers, great donuts are readily available here—though sadly, they are  not as common as shamefully bad donuts. Too often, when we talk about donuts, we sometimes think of the recently-defrosted-and-now-being-shoved-through-a-drive-thru-window variety. It’s time to reframe that conversation.

There’s no better place to start than with the store that sets the bar for many Buffalonians: Paula’s Donuts. While some may say that the bellwether of a fine donut shop is its fry cake, I contend that the peanut stick is a far better indicator. And Paula’s really does make an amazing peanut stick. It’s got a crunchy exterior, fried so expertly that the outside almost feels like a crust. Crushed peanuts cover the exterior but they don’t overwhelm it. And the inside of the donut is swoon-worthy—the stuff food obsessions are made of, really. The dough is light and fluffy, but paradoxically feels a bit dense when you take a bite. It’s got enough of a yeasty taste but it doesn’t overpower the dough. A single bite makes you realize that you’re eating the real deal, and not a simulacrum of a donut.

If you’re too far from Paula’s two locations (in North Buffalo’s University Heights district and on Main Street in Clarence; the North Buffalo location will move to Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda this summer), never fear. Eileen’s Centerview Bakery in West Seneca will give you that old-time bakery experience while simultaneously serving up an excellent peanut stick. In business (and family owned and operated) since 1964, Eileen’s is so confident in their products that they offer a hundred-percent-money-back guarantee. I doubt you’ll be dissatisfied with anything you buy at Eileen’s, including the rye bread and placek. Just as at Paula’s, Elaine’s peanut stick is a symbol of their overall excellence.               

Rachel Fix Dominguez is a proud Buffalo native who loves exploring WNY’s culinary options

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