Sometimes when I’m fed up with the latest terrible, violent, argumentative news of the human race, I go get myself a doughnut. Make mine a coconut.
We’re lucky to have some good choices around here in the New Haven area. These include plenty of independent operators.
As a longtime consumer of the coconut doughnut served up at the Whitney Donut and Sandwich Shop in Hamden, I had wondered why I never saw this offered at Beach Donuts (no relation to me) in Branford and Clinton.
Well, it turns out you just need to speak up. When I finally mentioned the dearth of coconut doughnuts at Beach’s Branford outlet, the friendly woman behind the counter said: “Oh, we can make those for you! You just need to call ahead and let us know.”
Knowing this, when I stopped in at the main Beach Donuts operation in Clinton, I asked the guy at the cash register if he might procure me a coconut sample on the spot. He said: “Sure! Let me just go in the back and make one up. Vanilla or chocolate?”
I went with the vanilla coconut and it was fabulous.
Meanwhile, a reader named Joe Franchi has been leaving me phone messages urging me to check out Pastry Fusions on Foxon Road in North Branford.
“I love doughnuts,” he said. “You haven’t tried the doughnuts at Pastry Fusions. They are delicious. Please try them. I’m waiting for your comments.”
Actually, I had been there before; one year my daughters and I included Pastry Fusions in our annual Beach doughnut party at our rented cottage in Madison. It required a bit of a drive, but we concluded it had been worth it.
Because I had been prodded by Franchi, who called me twice, I recently returned. There’s a sign just inside the front door: “Donut worry, be happy.” Indeed.
Pastry Fusions has a good array (including apple, apple cider and pistachio) and their toasted coconut is also among those on display. It’s big and it’s tasty. If you blindfolded me and put the coconuts from Pastry Fusions next to Whitney Donuts or Beach Donuts, I might be stumped.
People get passionate when they’re making doughnuts. According to a press release from the Gainesville Police Department in Florida, Julius Jacolby Irving, a supervisor at a Krispy Kreme, became enraged over how a female co-worker was creating the product. And so she called her boyfriend, telling him to come get her. When the boyfriend arrived, he confronted Irving about the argument and Irving allegedly grabbed a 4-inch knife, then stabbed the boyfriend several times. Irving was charged with attempted murder. He no longer works for Krispy Kreme.
In a related development, my doughnut buddy, a judge at New Haven Superior Court, told me I should forget about doughnuts for a day and get out to the Stony Creek Market. “Their scones are wonderful!”
The judge was right. I made it out to Stony Creek in Branford on a Sunday morning and thoroughly enjoyed that scone, as well as sitting at a table and admiring the view of the water. But you must remember: those scones are offered only on Sundays.
OK, here’s some good news along with the doughnut talk: there has been a break in the case concerning the theft of lead copper flashing atop the stone wall at Edgerton Park, my favorite place for walking my dog.
This public expanse straddles the New Haven-Hamden line but the theft last December occurred on the northern “Brewster wall” in the Hamden section of the park. Thus, the Hamden police responded to the crime and investigated the theft of those 42 items, which cost the park an estimated $200,000.
Police arrested Donald Strait, 47, of New Haven, and Justin Barlow, also 47, of North Haven. They were charged with third-degree larceny, first-degree criminal mischief and two counts of conspiracy.
When I’m not at a doughnut shop, coffee alone will suffice. But odd things can happen over your java. During a recent visit to one of my favorite coffee shops in New Haven, I overheard a young woman behind the counter ask her supervisor this question about the Beatles: “Are they dead?”
Her supervisor, somewhat older, patiently explained that although John Lennon and George Harrison have left us, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are very much alive. But then the younger employee floored me by asking: “What are the names of some Beatles songs?”
I tried to help her out by singing a few bars of “Yesterday.” My voice isn’t great but I thought she would recognize the tune. She did not. I tossed out the names of a few other songs, such as “A Hard Day’s Night.” Still not a glimmer of recognition.
A few minutes later, the wonderful Beatles song “In My Life” began to play on the shop’s sound system. I told the young lady: “Listen! This is a Beatles song!”
But she seemed to be too busy working to catch much of it. I left the shop feeling much older than when I had entered.
Meanwhile, age was a theme in the email Steven Bank sent to me in response to the controversy over Stop & Shop’s cutbacks on the number of cashiers. Bank told me he was at a Walmart in Hamden and “I found no checkers, only automated self-checkouts. So I went to the Customer Service Desk. When I asked why there were no checkers, their response was that people had ‘called out today,’ as if that was an acceptable response. An elderly woman in a self-checkout overheard our conversation and offered to help me with the checkout. As kind an offer as that was, I came to the realization that when you’ve re-programmed the elderly to do your bidding, then the battle is over.”