Monday, May 25, 2015
Overrated Donut: Cartems
Okay, to be fair, I only tried one donut and may have picked the very worst donut on offer, but here's where I'm coming from - when was the last time you ate a purchased donut from anywhere and didn't enjoy it? It's like that line that goes something like "even bad ____ is good!" Fill in the blank yourself. What I'm saying is that I shouldn't be able to pick out a bad donut if a donuterie knows what it is doing. So I picked out this yeast dough donut with a rhubarb compote.
Things looked promising as the donut was attractive. Also, points for an original flavour, and actually the compote tasted pretty good and not very sweet which is novel for a donut. However the texture seemed too mushy to feel appropriate in the middle of this donut (was starting to eat around the filling to avoid that soggy zone of contact with the dough).
The dough itself was nothing to write home about, quite heavy for a yeast dough and to be perfectly honest, kind of greasy like they didn't get the temperature right. The taste of the oil seemed fine though - sort of old fashioned tasting or vaguely something like a Chinese donut (peanut oil maybe? Not sure).
After I talked about enjoying very much the donuts at the W. 4th Forty-ninth Parallel, someone told me that Cartems was better, so I came in with high hopes. Though disappointed, I'll say that this shop on Pender St at Seymour is an absolutely lovely place to sit - bright, modern, clean, roomy, quiet, relaxed, and comfortable with friendly service. The drip coffee is from Elysian, so nice high quality coffee (but the particular bean that I had was too acidic and fruity for my personal taste). Both my drip coffee and donut were $3 each, and pour over coffee and cold brew coffee was available, but interestingly no espresso drinks.
I was raving about Lucky's Donuts and 49th Parallel before so I'll end with that recommendation. I've had and been impressed with several of their donut flavours and I'd much rather be there with a great donut and whatever coffee I wanted. I'll try another Cartems' at some point probably when I next find myself looking for a coffee shop on this block and will update if it changes my impression significantly.