I hope that you are comfortably reading this in your office or wherever you elect (Ha, get it? Elect? Go Obama!) to spend your days, and, more importantly, that it didn’t take you hours to get to that location via hobbled, gridlocked public transportation. After a week in my beloved Brooklyn, even I had exhausted the bountiful online television options and tired of fighting off the other housebound young’uns for a seat at a standing-room-only coffee shop. Novelty wears off all too soon, but it goes even faster when you are confined to a limited swath of one borough. I was (shockingly) looking forward to a return to normality, the daily grind even.
And in my mind, there is one food that is a near metaphor for work and office life, and that food, my friends, is the doughnut.
Like its friends cupcake, frozen yogurt, and pie, doughnuts have recently been subject to an extreme rebranding, going from those dry, powder-topped, red jelly-filled orbs to yeasted wonders pumped with homemade sour cherry preserves or cake-style rings in flavors like tres leches and oatmeal chocolate. They are delicious, a far cry from the mass-produced “donuts” that you buy in multiples of twelve and leave to get stale in an abandoned conference room, but recognizable enough to almost make you yearn for the office.
If you really want to pretend your ball of fried dough is a step above the rest, try the oft overlooked Bomboloni on the Upper West Side, which specializes in the Italian-style filled doughnuts known as, yes, bomboloni.
In case you haven’t already figured it out, Bomboloni is another of those mono-food projects, a place that extends its reach hardly farther than the name suggests (here, they have coffee, gelato, and some cannoli camped out in the periphery). And like the other mono-food joints in operation, they do a fairly decent job producing and vamping their one star product.
The bomboloni are perfectly round little spheres with fillings ranging from the classic (strawberry, raspberry) to the elegant (pistachio, Meyer lemon, blood orange, Valrhona chocolate) to the wacky (peanut butter cup, s’mores, After Eight). I tried one that I like to think straddles the line between wacky and elegant: tiramisu. (Okay, maybe it’s more wacky than elegant, but a girl can dream, right?)
This particular bombolono (singular?) was what a Dunkin’ Donut could be if it wasn’t fortified with chemicals and stabilizers. A standard yeast doughnut with slightly less espresso cream than I would have liked, topped with a cheerful chocolate espresso bean, this doughnut would be a perfect pick-me-up on a Monday morning with a cup of serviceable deli coffee. Less extravagant than the offerings at Doughnut Plant or Dough, but definitely a notch above a commercially produced pastry, the doughnuts at Bomboloni are a verifiable steal at $2 a pop.
Whether or not you put on the Sandy 15 after a week with nothing to do but eat and drink through your pantry and beer reserves, you made it through the storm and back into the trivialities of everyday life. Get a doughnut, and eat it in front of your work computer, appreciating the significance of the moment for the first time in a long time.