Glaze of Glory – Doughnuts are rising in popularity as restaurants give them a gourmet twist

Biting into a freshly fried glazed doughnut is one of life’s true joys. The crispy brown exterior gives way to a fluffy center. It’s sweet, warm and oh-so-comforting—like the best parts of childhood rolled into one bite. We revel in the moment, knowing that soon, all that will remain is the sticky glaze on our fingertips.

We’re not talking about the boxed doughnuts that you’ll find at the grocery store, however. Nor do we mean those that have been sitting out for hours (if not days) at the bakery. The golden circlets we’re referring to have hit the big time—they’re the new cupcake—and are showing up with gourmet twists and international inspiration on dessert menus at area restaurants.

“A doughnut is like a burger or a pizza—there are a million different things you can do with it,” says Chris Mack, executive chef at Rockville’s Quench, which offers a doughnut dessert (seen above).

Here are seven spots where you can get delicious doughnuts that are sure to satisfy your inner Homer Simpson.

Cava Mezze Grill
4832 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda, 301-656-1772,
The Greeks have given the world innumerable epicurean inventions—gyros, souvlaki and feta cheese are among their tastier creations. To that list we’d add loukoumades. These fried doughnut balls were traditionally served to Olympic champions in ancient Greece, but you can enjoy them today without hurling a javelin or running a marathon. Made to order at this mecca of Mediterranean food, these gold-medal desserts come in a paper bag with a snowfall of powdered sugar. Crackly on the outside and soft at the core, they’re best when eaten while still warm. Price: $3.50 per order.

Finish reading this story on the Bethesda Magazine website now.


Consumers Getting More of a Taste For Greek Cuisine

You know what a classic Greek diner looks like. Open 24-7. Gleaming silver siding. Bands of neon lighting run along every seam. Tabletop jukeboxes packed with ’50s hits. Autographed photos of debatably famous patrons. And, of course, a sprawling menu that can deliver pancakes at midnight, lobster tail for breakfast, a handful of Grecian specials, and all the many points in-between.

Erase that image from your mind.

Modern Greek restaurants couldn’t be more different. First, there’s not a miniature jukebox or a sheet of silver siding in sight at any of them. The Mediterranean cuisine isn’t an afterthought, either. No longer is it confined to the back of the multipaged laminated menu–now it’s the focus. Whether it’s casual choices like pita sandwiches, kebabs, and Greek salads, or more adventuresome items like grilled octopus and flaming saganaki cheese, Medi-minded restaurants are showcasing their Hellenic heritage to a growing number of American diners.

According to Technomic’s recent Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report, 49 percent of consumers say they have tried Greek cuisine and liked it. An additional 23 percent say they haven’t tried it yet, but would like to give it a go. Even more impressively is the fact that 32 percent of respondents say that they order Greek foods or flavors occasionally (about every 90 days).

Attributed to several factors

This rising interest can be attributed to several factors. Celebrity chefs like Cat Cora, Michael Symon, and Michael Psilakis are celebrating their Greek roots and teaching diners about the cuisine through their restaurants, cookbooks, and television shows. High-profile Greek restaurants like José Andrés’ Zaytinya in Washington, D.C., New York’s Molyvos, Palo Alto, California’s Evvia, and its sister restaurant, San Francisco’s Kokkari, have all earned national attention.

On top of this, the Mediterranean Diet has earned a growing legion of followers in the States since it was introduced in 1993. “The Mediterranean Diet’s not a trend at this point; it’s mainstream,” says Sara Baer-Sinnott, the president of Oldways, which promotes the concept. “Heritage diets are the future, because they’re simple, clean, healthy food.”

This dietary approach–based on traditional dining patterns in the cradle of Western civilization–promotes eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, healthy grains, fish, poultry, and olive oil, as well as small amounts of red wine and dairy. At the same time, it advises cutting back on red meat, sugar, and processed foods.

Pano Karatassos, executive chef of Atlanta’s Kyma and a second generation Greek-American, sees interest in the Mediterranean diet as a reaction to the dining excesses of the past. “The ’90’s was about taking your Tums and having a great dinner made up of decadent foods,” he says. “We knew that beef and butter could put on the pounds, but we didn’t know what it could do to our energy levels.”

Kevin Miles, president and COO of Mediterranean-inspired fast-casual chain Zöes Kitchen, believes that consumers are finally coming around. “They’re realizing, ‘Olive oil is better for me than corn oil. And legumes and grains are better than eating potato chips.’”

This isn’t just a company line. In Technomic’s recent Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report, 32 percent of diners said that they thought of Greek food as healthy and rated it the fourth-healthiest cuisine out of 30 different types. The only cuisines that ranked higher were sushi/Japanese, Chinese, and the larger Mediterranean category.

Finish reading this article on the Restaurant Management website now.

Photo of Street Pitas courtesy of Daphne’s California Greek.


Get You to the Greek: Cava Mezze Grill is a Modern Twist on Mediterranean Eats


Bethesda Row’s eateries offer many convenient, high-calorie temptations — jelly doughnuts, lava fudge cupcakes, double-bacon cheeseburgers. The owners of new kid on the block Cava Mezze Grill (who are also behind the popular Cava Mezze restaurants in Rockville and on Capitol Hill), want pedestrians to indulge in more fresh, nutritious fast food instead. The sit-down or takeaway spot specializes in modern Greek cuisine with an American twist — minus the artificial additives and preservatives.

The Vision
Extra care is given to the ingredients here. Meats are hormone- and antibiotic-free. The feta cheese and Greek yogurt are imported. And dips and spreads are all-natural. “We spent a little more on the best ingredients,” Schulman says. “But you can taste a big difference.”

Finish reading the article by clicking over to the Express website now.