#219: Dr. Bob’s Donuts & DoYos

On Saturday morning I headed over to old town Roseville to check out something new.  This is Dr. Bob’s Donuts & DoYos, and it’s not your typical donut shop.  They are located on Lincoln Street near Boxing Donkey and Pacific Street Cafe.  Dr. Bob’s focus is on organic, gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free donuts and frozen yogurt.  When I first heard about this place, about a month ago via Reddit, I was pretty skeptical.  Nevertheless it went on this list and here I was to cross it off.  I think this is the only other truly vegan place in Roseville aside from Baagan.  Thinking back to that visit I recall feeling much the same way before eating there.  Unsure of what I was about to walk into, probably a little bit nervous.  My friend Dan commented about the “fish out of water aspect” of the post, which looking back was actually pretty fun.  With all this going through my head again I stepped through the front door.

Up front is all the seating.  About 2/3rds of the way in you get to a little counter with the register on your right and drinks to the left.  Just past this is where you get started.  When I got to this point there were a few people, first-timers much like myself, who were just finishing their walkthrough by the owner Tasha.  She greeted me and pretty much ran me though the same thing.  She said that on Saturdays most of the customers are coming in for their first time, so she probably does a lot of explaining on this day.

You start with a vanilla or chocolate SteamFresh donut.  These are made fresh throughout the day as opposed to deep fried donuts that are made in a giant batch for the whole day at a traditional donut shop.  From there you move to a station with sauces and glazes to add some flavor.  Some of these include bourbon-vanilla glaze, chocolate glaze, coconut glaze, Himalayan salted caramel and a Nutella-like sauce.  From there you move to the fruit station where you add fresh fruits like blueberries, bananas and grapes to add some natural sweetness.  As one woman next to me mentioned, as she sampled some of the sauces, the chocolate graze actually wasn’t that sweet, so the fruit helps add the sweetness you might be looking for.

Next to the fruit is a frozen yogurt machine which dispenses non-dairy froyo.  They call it a DoYo when you add this to your donut.  Past the fruit and yogurt are chia puddings.  I don’t know anything about chia puddings other that what I just read online about them, being essentially chia seeds, unsweetened almond milk, pure vanilla extract, maple syrup and a pinch of salt.  I didn’t explore them this time but I think I will when I return.  Last but not least is, what I would call, the texture station.  Here you can add lots of different types of crunchy items from almonds, hemp seeds, flax crunch, granola and fruits like dried cranberries and raisins.  If you need any more sweetness you can also find at this station a variety of sweeteners including a few different types of honey (Note: u/exit143 on Reddit pointed out that this is not vegan, which makes sense, although the topic does seem to be a bit controversial, at least in my initial reading.  Something to consider.), a vanilla flavored syrup and also a little shaker of something called Bob’s G*Sweet, which is labeled “6 time sweeter than sugar.”

If all of this is a little overwhelming, and it certainly was for me, you can start out with some pre-made donuts.  I went with the Bourbon Vanilla Blueberry.  Tasha suggested I add a drizzle of some of the fresh warm bourbon vanilla glaze.  I did so and also added some warm chocolate glaze as well.  Not really sure how strong any of these flavors were I tried to go easy on them.  Next I added a few more blueberries and some slices of banana to the size.  I finished it all off with a sprinkle of hemp seeds for a little added texture.  This is pretty much one of the creations listed on their website that I looked at in advance and thought sounded good.

The prices are based on weight, so I placed it on a scale by the register and she rung me up.  I grabbed a chocolate almond milk from the cooler behind me as well.  All together it came to $4.88, which actually surprised me, I had expected for some reason to be paying more like 6 or 7, especially with the drink.  So not crazy, but certainly more than your average donut+milk.  I took a seat and dug in.  I found both the bourbon-vanilla glaze and the chocolate glaze to be much less rich than I would have guessed by looking at them.  They also didn’t leave a sugary coating in your mouth leaving you in a Got Milk situation (a good thing).  Indeed, my chocolate almond milk (which was delicious by the way) was not really needed that much and I drank most of it on the way out.  The fruits were both good and were the primary source of sweetness in this creation.  The bourbon-vanilla glaze definitely did contribute some of it’s own however.  The blueberries were nice and juicy.  As for the donut itself, it is much more dense then a typical donut.  I thought it might have a grainy texture but instead found it to be softer like a cake, maybe like a flourless cake due to the density.

Like my experience with Baagan, I was pleasantly surprised here at Dr. Bob’s Donut’s & DoYos.  One thing that I think helped out with the initial impression in both instances were the extremely friendly and helpful owners.  I think that’s key for keeping anyone that’s not familiar with this type of food (e.g. me) from thinking “this is weird” and turning around within a minute of walking in.  I also happened to meet Dr. Bob himself during my visit who like Tasha was super nice and happy to see me experiencing their donuts for the first time.  I recommend this place, interesting stuff.

Here were a few creations made by customers while I was there.

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AM3: Auburn Thai Garden

I happened to go to one of the best Thai restaurants on Monday night so I brought my camera along. The occasion was a birthday party and as a result my attention was not as fully directed at the restaurant as usual. I’ll keep this a little shorter than normal and try to tell you a bit about the place and why I like it.

The restaurant is Auburn Thai Garden located in, you guessed it, Auburn. It’s on 49 just over a half mile north of 80, technically on Palm Ave. I only get a chance to come here maybe a couple times a year and I’m always looking forward to it when I do.

From the get-go it looks like a pretty typical Thai restaurant. This night they were fairly busy all night so I didn’t get a chance to photograph the dining room. It’s basically a small to medium sized rectangular room, nicely decorated and with big windows along the front. These help the room feel more open than even the much larger Ruen Thai, where it can seem like you’re trapped in a box (despite that box being filled with delicious food). In addition to the main dining area, further back and up a small ramp you will find a little room with a few more tables. This is a good spot for a larger party (and where we were sat this night).

Again, it has a lot of what you’d find on the usual Thai restaurant menu. One thing you won’t find anywhere else however is the page-long beer list which starts out ordinary at the top and gradually becomes extraordinary by the time you get to the bottom. Down there you’ll find large craft bottles such as Mirror Mirror (a barleywine from Deschutes), Abyss (a Russian Imperial Stout also from Deschutes) and one of my personal favorites, Parabola (also a Russian Imperial Stout, this one from Firestone Walker). The owner/operator, Nu, is a huge craft beer geek and always has something great to offer on this list (which changes regularly I assume based on availability. Tonight I shared a bottle of Abyss with my friend Justin. It was intensely rich and pretty good, though I would say the Abyss we had on draught at Final Gravity, during their annual Stouterday tap takeover in December, was a lot better.

Tonight we ordered a handful of dishes and a couple appetizers to share. Everything I’ve ever had here has been fantastic and tonight was no exception. Usually one of the items we order is the Crying Tiger (premium tender steak grilled to perfect Med-Rare served on bed of Thai Garden coleslaw drizzle w/ our spicy homemade Thai steak sauce)[$15.95], which is an incredibly succulent steak with a rich and fiery syrup-like sauce over it. Unfortunately they were out tonight so we subbed in an extra curry.

For appetizers we did Gai Satay (grilled skewered strips of tender chicken breast marinated in creamy coconut milk and mild curry powder served w/ out small cucumber salad and house peanut dipping sauce)[$7.95]. These were pretty standard, and by that I mean great slathered in peanut sauce.

The other appetizer was Pot Stickers (pan seared chicken & vegetable filled pot stickers served w/ our sweet ginger soy sauce)[$7.95]. Like the chicken satay this was pretty similar to most pot stickers you can get at the average Thai restaurant. Tasty but nothing to write home about.

One of our regular orders is their Green Avocado Curry (tender sliced chicken breast w/ avocado, green beans, bamboo shoots, eggplant, bell pepper and basil simmered in our creamy green coconut curry)[$12.95]. This is always the first to be devoured and it’s the best green curry I’ve had anywhere, it’s flavorful and amazingly smooth and creamy. I wish I was eating some right now.

It’s rarely a Thai dinner with me if there’s no Pad Se Ew (stir fried wide rice noodles w/ sliced chicken breast, egg, broccoli, carrots, and caramelized garlic in our tangy sweetened dark soy sauce)[$9.95], so that was our second item. Once again, simply some of the best of this dish I’ve had. Incredibly flavorful with plenty of the rich sauce and the noodles were cooked perfectly, slick with dark sauce and not a single pair stuck together.

Our last item, and the one we got instead of the Crying Tiger, was the Rambutan Curry (Rambutan w/ sliced chicken breast, pineapple, tomato, green bean, eggplant, carrot, bell pepper and basil leaves simmered in homemade red coconut curry)[$13.95]. This one was a first for us all. We didn’t have a clue what rambutan meant. Once we received the dish and were serving ourselves we started to question what the small round objects were. They almost looked like little onions. The server happened to be by us filling waters so we asked and she told us the rambutan is a fruit. Indeed it had a sweet flavor to it and was quite juicy, though I would still say texture was closer to an onion. This curry was fantastic and, with the rambutan and pineapple, much sweeter and more tropical feeling than the green avocado curry. I’d definitely order it again as I also love red curry.

For dessert, and they have a pretty good selection compared to most Thai places, we did the Fried Banana A La Mode.  It is basically slices of banana in spring roll-like wrapping fried crisp and served with two big scoops of vanilla ice cream.  These were still quite warm when we got them and needed a little bit of time to cool off.  They were excellent.  I’m not sure what kind of ice cream they get but it’s pretty creamy and rich, and goes great with the banana.

Overall, as usual, a stellar visit to Auburn Thai Garden. I can’t recommend this place enough. It’s bit of a haul up 80, but it might just be with the 40 minute round trip. Better yet, just plan to go here the next time you pass through Auburn.

(so much for keeping it short)

#218: Short Stuff Cafe

You might wonder why the top photo on this post has a Chevron station.  A reader recently tipped me off of a little cafe inside.  They don’t have any web presence.  Their Yelp entry has some pretty glowing reviews though so I decided I should check it out.  I figured if I was going out early on a Saturday morning for a breakfast burrito that I had better look the part, so I skipped shaving, grabbed my favorite hoodie and headed out into the fog.

This is a great example of the type of place I was looking for when I started this blog.  Little places hidden in plain sight that you’ve probably been driving past for years without even noticing.  I certainly never would have found this one on my own.  Unless you get gas here there wouldn’t be any way you would know it existed without someone telling you, as Cheryl did for me.  This is the Chevron located on Eureka at Rocky Ridge.

By the pumps they have a sign which is the only exterior evidence of the Cafe.  It says “Voted Best Breakfast Burritos Anywhere,” a dubious claim for sure, but lets move along.  I headed into the Food Mart sometime after 7:30.  It’s a pretty typical gas station convenience store, except at the back theres an opening past the counter.  There, a woman had several pans with eggs, meats and veggies cooking up.  It smelled great.  I took some time to go over the menu (scanned menu here), which is mostly breakfast burritos and a few sandwiches.  For lunch they have burgers as well as hot & cold sandwiches.  They are only open for breakfast and lunch.

I eventually settled on the Freddy (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, green onion and pepper jack in a grilled flour tortilla)[$4.99].  There was a guy waiting for whatever she was making.  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to order here or how it worked.  She noticed me standing there and said hi, and I asked for a Freddy.  She then pointed me to a warmer to the right where she had a bunch of pre-made burritos labeled and ready to go.  She looked in it with me to see if there was a Freddy.  There didn’t appear to be, but she had another place to check behind the counter where she found one and handed it to me.  I was pretty much all set.  There are a ton of condiments and a huge collection of different hot sauces to choose from, but I decided to have it as it was and took it to the main counter to pay.

There are a couple little tables both inside as well as out.  I ate in my car instead.  Unwrapping it I noticed that the green onions part of the label was crossed out, so I guess they must have run out.  This burrito was crazy hot.  I couldn’t even hold it for more than a dozen seconds.  I let it cool off for a bit, not that it helped, and started to go to town.  It was absolutely packed on the inside, and even hotter.  I ended up burning part of my tongue.  The inside was heavy on eggs, but there was quote a bit of mushrooms and sausage.  I encountered chopped bacon a little less frequently.  The pepper jack was minimal but added some flavor here and there.  It was blazing hot all the way to the last bite.

For five bucks this was a pretty good burrito.  I think Carolina’s would beat it out, but that’s nearly double the cost.  This is a nice, quick, flavorful option.  If this were on my way to work it could be a problem.

Website: (none)

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here