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Happy National Doughnut Day (2013)

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It’s my favorite holiday, y’all! Happy National Doughnut Day. And, as brunch is our area of expertise—and carbs are mine—we’re here to give you the lowdown on those circular balls of dough.

For starters, doughnuts are the new cupcake—with no less than four doughnut-specific establishments having opened in the District this year: District Doughnut, Zekes DC Doughnuts, Astro Doughnuts, and GBD (Golden Brown Delicious), by the folks behind Churchkey/Birch and Barley.

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That brings me to my next point. Allow me to tell you about the Luther. The sandwich, named for Luther Vandross, a singer who used to eat a bacon cheeseburger between two Krispie Kreme doughnuts. He had diabetes and died early of a heart attack, go figure.  For the last couple of years, an upgrade to the sandwich — house-made brioche donut glazed with maple-chicken jus and topped with pecans– was secretly available at Churchkey/Birch and Barley. It wasn’t on the menu, so you had to show up early enough to order one of the 100 made every Sunday before they ran out. So elusive, this heart-attack-inducing Luther sandwich.

As this is a democracy, the Churchkey folks decided to make the Luther available to the masses, as it is now always on the menu at GBD. Making the Luther even more plebeian, Dunkin Donuts released a version of the Luther with its glazed doughnut breakfast sandwich today. {Some poor food writers over at the Washington Post ate them all for you.}

Now that you’ve received some background, allow me to continue your education of DC’s doughnuts. We’ll call this the Spark Notes version.

The most traditional doughnut: The house-made All-American doughnuts at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace are a pleasant surprise and a welcome addition on a menu that’s heavy on seafood. With flavors like vanilla sprinkles, raspberry filled, and cinnamon sugar, it’s like you’re at Dunkin Donuts, only so much better.

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Best doughnut sampler: Birch & Barley. Everyone’s favorite beer bar and restaurants offers a Boozy Brunch, which includes doughnut holes, two brunch cocktails, a brunch entrée, and bottomless coffee and iced tea for $30. The doughnuts come in three flavors: toffee bacon, lemon-poppy glazed and bittersweet chocolate; and are all amazing.

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We hate that we love ‘em doughnuts: Tabard Inn. Tabard Inn is over-hyped: the service is arrogant and the restaurant has gone down hill. One thing hasn’t changed: the doughnuts are still so damn good. Served warm, covered in sugar, and alongside house-made whipped cream, they really can’t be beat.

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The most unique doughnut: The wild boar doughnut sandwiches at The Curious Grape. We love the charming wine and cheese shop and restaurant, which serves amazing food all day long. The sparkling brunch—with pairings of bubbly—can’t be beat. And, then there are the wild boar doughnuts. Because, why not.

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The best glazed doughnuts: Bourbon. Starting off brunch with free, hot glazed doughnuts at Bourbon (with locations in Adam’s Morgan and Glover Park) is always a great idea.

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Best doughnut holes: DGS Delicatessen. Everything about the DGS, the new high-end deli on Connecticut Ave. in Dupont is delicious. While I prefer the bagel and lox or chocolate bread pudding, the beautiful doughnut holes, served warm in a skilled and sprinkled with powdered sugar, honey, and walnuts look and taste beautiful.

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Happy National Doughnut Day, you beautiful brunching Bitches. Now, get out there and celebrate.

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