When we visited Portland last year we went to Blue Star Donuts 3 times… in 2 days. On the way to the airport to fly home I begged Daniel to stop at Blue Star one last time. I bought half a dozen donuts and finished stuffing my face with them just as we made it to airport security (okay, Daniel might have eaten a couple too). I had never had donuts so good, and I was heartbroken to leave them on the west coast. So, I made the decision to do some serious donut testing to find the best donuts in the Raleigh area. Here are my results, listed from my most favorite to least favorite.
Winner of the donut quest! Monuts had so many creative flavors, and the menu changes daily. They tasted as great as they looked. These donuts might even be better than Blue Star. The downside is that Monuts is more than an hour roundtrip drive from my house, so I’m not likely haul my donut craving butt all the way over there very often. Maybe that’s for the best though.
Duck Donuts is dangerous. It’s less than 10 minutes from my house and right next to the Post Office I frequent. Their donuts are really great, although you won’t find any super inventive flavor combinations (these aren’t hipster donuts). The novelty of Duck Donuts is that you choose your glaze and topping, and they make your donut fresh to order so it’s still warm when you take that first bite. Uhhh… yum! The donuts are a teeny tiny bit doughy/undercooked in the middle, but in a purposeful way that makes them unique.
No photo for Krispy Kreme—I didn’t revisit for my quest, since I’ve eaten tons of their donuts over the years. Krispy Kremes are not novelty donuts. You can buy them at every grocery store in the south, although they did originate here in North Carolina. However, if you drive past a Krispy Kreme location and the “hot donuts” sign is lit up, you have to go in for a couple plain glazed donuts hot off the conveyor belt. They’re addicting still warm from the frier and freshly glazed. Trust me. You’ll be surprised how many you can eat.
Pitiful presentation, sloppy frosting, and there were random blobs of icing from other donuts on my donuts. Rise’s donuts were stale and dense in a bad way. Not to mention they messed up my order and gave me two of the deformed boob-looking donuts. I did not order two of those. Humph. A lot of people rave about Rise’s donuts, but I wasn’t impressed. Sad, because the descriptions of their imaginative donut flavors sound delicious. Maybe they were having an off day. I’m willing to give them a chance to redeem themselves at some point, especially since they’re opening a location closer to me soon.
Donut quest complete! These are just the highlights. I tried some other places with run-of-the-mill donuts that weren’t really worth mentioning.
If you don’t have a favorite donut spot you have to do a donut quest in your area. It makes you feel productive while you’re eating donuts! This is how you try a bunch of donuts without feeling like a pig: Go to the next donut shop on your hit list, get a bunch of donuts, take a bite out of each one, finish your favorites, and give the rest away to your friends/family. They probably won’t mind the missing bite (Daniel didn’t). After all, you shouldn’t look a gift donut in the mouth.