Thursday, January 12, 2006

Looking for some frosted friends

As you may have gleaned from our previous dispatch, the 19 Minutes home office is currently planning a move to the sunny Southeast. Or at least southeastern Wisconsin. We have a lot of hopes, desires, and aspirations about this major life change. For me, the list begins with donuts.

Arizona is a Bad Donut State. (I think that's actually the slogan they're going to put on the official state quarter in 2008.) Flagstaff, current site of the 19 Minutes World Media Headquarters, has no donut stores at all. As I noted some months ago in this space, it may be the only place on earth that all the Dunkin' Donuts franchises have folded their tents.

A few years ago, we picked up an independent donut place. The "Arizona Donut Company" was operated by, if memory serves, one of the technical crew that produced "The Dukes of Hazzard". The store's gimmick was that it employed exactly the same equipment as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts uses. The store's downfall was that no one ever knew when it was open, which made stopping for donuts on the way to or from work a hit-or-miss experience. And since donuts - let's face it - are a something of an impulse buy, no one wanted to return three or four times a day, just to check whether they were open. The Arizona Donut Company disappeared from the Flagstaff donutscape after about 18 months. Of course, Flagstaff is also the kind of city where, to survive, a donut shop would have to have flavor offerings including hemp, tofu, Chocolate Clif bar, and elk.

Lest you think these problems are merely emblematic of life in a smallish city, I submit they're endemic across the state. We've been known to spend occasional weekend in the so-called Valley of the Sun (so-called, because daytime temperatures in August are approximately the same as the surface of the sun), to take advantage of the opportunities such as NHL hockey, decent Chinese food, Babies R Us, smog, etc. But we are unable to take advantage of better pastry opportunities, as Phoenix turns out to be the kind of city where the donut shops close at 5 p.m. Because as we all know, no one ever wanted to eat a donut after work.

So I'm optimistic about Milwaukee. I mean, the donutscape couldn't be any worse than it is in Arizona. And it's a cold weather place. The best donut scenes I've encountered are in New England, where Dunkin' Donuts even out-ubiquitous Starbucks, and in Baltimore, where donut shops serve as overflow for all-night diners that cater to the sobering-up crowd. And, as I've been led to believe, there are at least one or two taverns in Wisconsin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are six Dunkin Donuts in the greater Milwaukee area and nine Krispy Kremes. Sadly Tim Hortons has not invaded, but can always be imported from nearby states.