Friday, May 20, 2011

Ice cream, doughnuts, and éclairs (Frangelli's Bakery)

Ice cream doughnut

I figure I should probably write another post for old times' sake since the rapture is tomorrow, and I am 99% sure I won't be invited to party with Jesus wearing a tuxedo shirt. It's all going to be a moot point soon, but lately I've been paying a lot of attention to my weight. Why? Maybe it's because I'm a bit chunkier than I was just a year ago... and one of my greatest fears in life is getting super fat again. This is problematic since I want to eat pretty much everything (I think it's clear from most of my posts that I am not the picture-of-health when it comes to my dietary habits). Anyway, lately I've been rationalizing everything I eat as to whether or not I feel like the calories are worth the equivalent effort in burning them off, because... well, losing weight is hard. Sometimes that decision is really easy, for example I stopped eating at McDonald's and I no longer go to Dunkin Donuts for mediocre doughnuts. Sometimes that decision is super hard, for instance... an ice cream doughnut sandwich. I think I just blew an artery typing that. Is it worth it?

Absolutely. Imagine this - a freshly made powdered doughnut with a center formed by a network of miniature pockets of fluffy dough. Cut that shit in half while still warm and pillowy. Now shove in a block of ice cream over an inch in thickness (your choice of Neapolitan OR chocolate). Smoosh it back down. Tell me that isn't mind-blowing. It makes regular ice cream sandwiches look like embarrassing failures that shouldn't even be classified as "desserts" (not the It's-Its though). Take one bite and you'll experience the blissful union of fried dough, sugar, and cream. You'll also look like a crack addict, but who the hell cares. Your taste buds... they will be aroused. It is sensual. I promise.

Frangelli's sign

Where might you get such a magical thing you might ask? In the deep South. Of Philadelphia I mean. Way way way past the Italian market at the intersection of 9th and West Ritner (why the hell would anyone go there?) is Frangelli's Bakery. They've been around since 1947. That's old as shit. Older than my parents. Ancient. They're your standard mom and pop bakery that does old-fashioned cakes, cookies, and pretty much anything that is a mixture of sugar and flour. They don't fuck around and try to put chocolate inside more chocolate topped with more chocolate... and that's fine, because they do what they do well. No-frills baked goods. Except sometimes they put ice cream inside, and that's fine by me too.

Raspberry jelly doughnut

They'd be a pretty shitty bakery if they only did one thing well (but I'd still go). GOOD THING IT'S NOT! Their other doughnuts are pretty bangin' too. Bam, raspberry filled jelly doughnut. Their stuff's all made on premises, so that raspberry jam you see spilling out? Yep... pumped in on the spot. The doughnut itself is pretty much the same as the one they use for the ice cream sandwich, so there's nothing bad about that part of the construction. The only downside with this one is that, once again, you'll look like a drug addict after eating it. Powdered sugar goes everywhere. Who cares? Judge away. It's delicious.

Plain glazed

And some plain glazed action yo. The standard by which all doughnuts should be judged. Theirs was... okay? It might've been because I had already eaten a buttload of fried dough by the time I popped this in my mouth, but it was borderline too sweet. There's absolutely nothing disappointing about the way they fry their dough, this one possesses the exact same chewy and airy framework as its powdered cousins, but the glaze was just a tad heavy for my tastes. Maybe another day and paired with a cup of coffee it'd be fine, so I'll reserve judgment for later. It was passable.

Vanilla and chocolate eclairs

I also ate éclairs. In case you haven't figured out my stance on food restricted dieting (it's stupid), this should cement it. Frangelli's éclairs are... quaint. I don't really eat éclairs that often, unless you count the crappy Entenmann's kind, so I don't really have any metric for comparison, but I was down with theirs. The choice in glaze really makes no difference, you really can't taste the chocolate or vanilla on top, so the overall flavor profile is pretty neutral. It just kind of tastes like sweet bread to be honest. The cream though, that part's pretty fun. Instead of a fluid mass of whipped heavy cream, theirs has the consistency of a viscous marshmallow. You can squeeze it out like toothpaste (sounds appetizing right?), but it has a certain chewy resilience that I don't normally associate with the word "cream." Texturally, it's awesome. As for the taste... I'm kind of indifferent.

As for the rapture tomorrow... am I bummed I can't party hard with Jesus and his bros? Not really. While the idea a bro icing the son of god is pretty funny to me, I think I'll just make a trip to Frangelli's to get a doughnut. That's a decent consolation prize for not having my soul saved.

Late game edit: Someone just told me how the rapture works and apparently Jesus stays and parties with the heathens. This evidently makes my post not make sense. I don't care, I'm not really religious.


Ben said...

So if we all have a party with Jesus since we're all sinners and are going have to stay on Earth, if you bring some of those delicious looking ice cream donutwiches, I'll bring carne asada fries from San Diego. Deal?

Paul said...

Dude, I just gotta ask because your last couple posts have got me wondering. How heavy were you? I read a lot of food articles and blogs and often feel that if I ate as much as these folks do (I'm only limited by money and my own fear of getting fat again) I would be monsterous in size. How do you balance it all? Are your normal everyday eating habits similar to what you post or do we just get that impression because all we see is the bad stuff you eat?

Nicholas said...

Ben - if you're down with flying out carne asada fries, who am I to say no? It's on bro.

Paul - I was ~210ish? That doesn't sound so bad, but I'm also 5'7" so... yeah it's not pretty.

So here's how it plays out. What you see on my blog is basically what my normal diet is. I eat ice cream pretty much on a nightly basis, I will never turn down cake, and I have fast food all the time. When you throw in the stuff I write about, everything points to me being the second coming of Jabba the Hut. The thing is, I'm also limited by money. I'm a grad student so it's not like I can eat at Michelin starred restaurants whenever I please (I guess that's a blessing in disguise?). That also means there's a lot of shit I want to eat that I ultimately decide is a gargantuan waste of money, so that helps.

As for the other side of the equation - the not being fat part - I used to row competitively, and after that I started running to train to do marathons, and now I ride semi-competitively. I work out enough where what I eat really doesn't matter. My weight hasn't changed too much in the past few months.

Shirley said...

Nic, didn't they offer plain vanilla? There's photos elsewhere with a block of vanilla ice cream alone. I've been meaning to go to this one (possibly not any longer, since the vanilla doesn't seem to be an option!), but I hear the neighborhood looks a bit sketchy... I mean, figure a block of ice cream between a sliced doughnut can't possibly be placed in a ghetto... or would it???

Hungry said...

My thighs hate you for posting about this doughnut ice cream sandwich.

Danny said...


haha, but seriously that ice cream sandwich looks like the bomb. and that rapture shit is really whack. we're still here! maybe they did their math wrong or it's just a religious y2k.

Nicholas said...

Shirley - maybe they do, they didn't give me the option when I was there, but it's probably just what's on hand at the time since they're not super serious about selling ice cream. The neighborhood isn't that sketchy during the day, although it is in the middle of nowhere which kinda sucks...

Hungry - so does my heart. I think an awesome combo would be a nice old fashioned powdered doughnut from say... Peter Pan with a local ice creamery (not Van Leeuwen for the love of god). New York needs this shit toooooo.

Danny - hahahaha, yeah man - I haven't gone for like a month. Some sort of new record maybe? It's actually not very cost effective vs. the food trucks here. I'm super cheap, so I'll always get my Chinese truck on for $4 over $10 of nuggets. Unless there's 50 of 'em, but that deal's gone now :(

Pascal's wager says I should start believing in God RIGHT NOW. It also tells me I should blow my relocation money on stupid things since I'll only be working at Google for two months. Hrm, to believe or not?

Anonymous said...


Nicholas said...

Anonymous - yeah but that's in NYC, and it looks like someone smooshed a ball of dog crap inside of a doughnut ;) haha, all kidding aside, I'm sure that tastes awesome too. It's hard to screw up ice cream inside of sugary fried dough.

But check it, I don't claim that this idea is new by any means... but the combination of a good homemade bakery doughnut with really good ice cream deserves mention - anywhere. Just my opinion.

Ms Fatty said...

So diggin' this post because (yes I like to list things)

1. I know exactly how hard it is to want to lost weight, keep it off but still not want to sacrifce your favorite food pleasures

2. I find myself doing the.."if i eat this, that's gonna be 20mins on the elliptical..hmm" game when I'm faced with amazing stuff I really wanna shove in my mouth and will not exactly regret it later, but know I'll have to sweat it out.

3. I want an ice cream donut.. BAD! I think I shall make one of my own since I'm no where near Philly.

freelance writing jobs said...

Looks amazing, I guess it tastes even better!

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