Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pointless Institutionalizing: Peter Pan Donuts

I constantly question NYers for restaurant recommendations of all sorts, and I get into a good number of conversations about donuts. A lot of people would tell me of their love for Peter Pan Bakery in Greenpoint. After visiting, I knew why.

Peter Pan Bakery doesn't have the best donuts in NY or Brooklyn or probably even in Greenpoint.  What they have is a large selection of all kinds of varieties of cake donuts for old-fashioned low prices.

Red Velvet Cake Donut

Pretty good, a hint of red velvet taste. I prefer some cream cheesiness with my red velvet, but I suppose I knew I wasn't getting that before I ordered it since there was nothing cream colored involved.

White Cream Crumb Cake Donut

Whoa! Sugared out! One really should never eat two donuts of this size and kind in one sitting, but there's also just not a lot to them. Sugary sugary cakey sugary. If you want to get a sugary sugar fest for a buck or so, have at it.

The other thing is that the first time I came, I didn't understand the system. I looked at the donuts and selected two of them. I paid for them, they were handed to me, I then sat down, photoed them, and ate them. One of the girls working there then let me know that next time if I wanted to sit down, I should just sit down and that they'd serve me. Apparently you've gotta do the whole service/tipping thing for a seat.

That visit was a few months ago, and I'd been meaning to go back one more time to see if my impression might become a little more dynamic than their donuts. My social anxiety issues are such that on the train ride over, I was distracted from reading my novel because of my nervousness about doing this whole seating thing right.  "So do I just walk in and sit down right away? But how will I know what donuts I want? It's not like they have a menu, it's a fucking donut shop! You look at the donuts and choose the one(s) that look best and order and sit down and eat your food. That's the only kind of donut shop I've ever known, anyway."

I developed the plan of looking in the window to see if I could pick two donuts from there and then just go sit down immediately, maybe trying to steal a glance or two at the ones along the wall, in case something amazing was hiding there. Unfortunately, the window was all fogged up from the cold.

Thus, I walked in, took three or four minutes to decide between all the donuts, and then asked the woman at the counter if I should sit down or...?

"You want to stay?"

"Yes."

"Okay, then yeah, just have a seat."

"Thanks."

I sat down, and she walked around the counter up to me, about four feet from where she had been standing, now officially my waitress instead of my cashier.

"Coffee?" she asked.

"Oh, no thanks actually. Can I just have some water?"

I'd just had coffee at home, or else I never would have made it out the door.Plus, the only creamer option they have is whole milk, and while I do carry Lactaid on me almost constantly, cheap coffee with milk is just not worth it.

She handed me my donuts with those little wrappers and one thin napkin.

I couldn't resist trying a seemingly ironic whole wheat donut, but I also couldn't resist choosing a glazed version.

This donut was fine. It was tasty enough but had no strong flavors of anything.

Honey Coated French Crueller

I was really hoping for a good honey flavor. It did taste slightly different than the others, but not with any discernible honey. It was lighter and airier than the others too.

The "waitress" never came back up to me. She was regaling her friends with a tale of how an older man had taken her to a club, how they'd gotten quite drunk and decided to just get a room at The Ace Hotel, how they drank a lot of water and took a lot of Advil so that they actually didn't feel too bad the next morning, how she then convinced him that he should relive his younger days by getting a bunch of Four Loko with her. What I dislike about that story is that there is no story.  All they did was spend money and punish their bodies irresponsibly. Unless the Four Loko actually leads to some loco shit happening, using it as a hair of the dog device just makes you a fucking retard, which is a stupid thing to brag about. Which reminds me, the only other patrons among the stools there were a homeless-looking middle-aged man and a guy with Down Syndrome. This made me feel even weirder about sitting there.

I wasn't sure what to do about paying. I considered my options while pretending to read a book. I mean, I did read a whole paragraph, but it was hard to concentrate while listening in to my "waitress."

Having seen several movies from old-fashioned times with diners and donut shops similar to this one, I decided that it would not only be appropriate but also kind of cute to just leave money on the table. I was going to leave a $5, but all I had were $10s and four $1s, so obviously she got the latter.  My bill must have been about $2.50, so I'm sure that was fine. It just all feels awkward, like everyone has all these different rules everywhere you go here*. Like there are so many different communities all living and running businesses around each other with different norms. It may seem small, but this kind of shit is a microcosm of one of the reasons I don't want to live in NYC. I want to be a part of a fucking community, not a clusterfuck of individuals and communities living like sardines, rubbing up against each other constantly so that it's necessarily fairly often the wrong way.

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop on Urbanspoon

*See it's shit like this that's the answer to the question, "Why does anybody eat at Dunkin' Donuts?"  Because sometimes you just want to look at your choices, get a couple donuts and some coffee, pay whatever you owe for 'em, and sit down to eat them in peace.  At least you know how it works there.