Must-See Lower East Side
by Chris Wallace, 03/18/2014
Malted milk ball doughseed at Doughnut Plant. Photo: Alexander Thompson
In the title essay of his award-winning nonfiction collection Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, British writer Geoff Dyer concludes a quest for the greatest pastry known to man. Eating his way from London through Paris, New Orleans, Rome, New York City and Tokyo, he is converted, in a quasi-religious epiphany, from croissant enthusiast to doughnut lover—by Doughnut Plant doughnuts. "I've spent twenty years searching for just such a doughnut," he writes. "Now that I've found it I can go to my grave a happy man. I've achieved everything I wanted from life." His fervor is understandable. Since its founding in 1994 by a master baker inspired by his grandfather's doughnut recipe, Doughnut Plant has opened outposts in Japan and Korea and expanded its menu to include churros and "cake" doughnuts (which have a different texture than the standard versions), as well as homemade jelly. Varieties include crème brûlée, tres leches, passion fruit, and peanut butter and blackberry jam. All of these are capable of inspiring religious devotion (and, quite possibly, fulfilling one's life goal).
Those who prefer their sugar to come in hard or gummy varieties, however, should plan a trip to Economy Candy. The overstuffed emporium is a Willy Wonka fantasy come true—from the ol'-timey classic confections (Atomic FireBall! Pez!) to popular candy, kosher sweets, halvah, Turkish delight, by-the-pound goodies and even sugar-free options.