Boy, Saturday was a big day for us! After we finished our great lunch at Niko’s, we headed over to the North Shore to get some donuts from Julie Darling. I’m not sure why we hadn’t been yet…I saw an article about them when they opened in 2010 and immediately wanted to go. So….we finally made it.
We went on Saturday afternoon (around three p.m.) and they did not have the red velvet donut, which, according to the brochure we picked up, is their “signature”. I wanted to cry….I’m pretty much obsessed with all things red velvet (strange, I know, for someone who tries to avoid food dyes…but it’s not something I eat on a regular basis) and I knew when I read about it in the aforementioned article that I would be ordering that. So….I was completely thrown off by the fact that it wasn’t available. It took me a few minutes to make a decision…they had glazed (yeast-raised) doughnuts, cake donuts (iced/uniced), and a variety of filled donuts. We each chose two and brought them home (we were far too stuffed to eat them there).
After I dried my tears and pulled myself together, I decided to get a lemon-filled donut and a ‘nana pudding donut. Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for a really good filled donut (cake donuts are my favorite-not a huge fan of glazed). The lemon was lightly glazed and the ‘nana pudding had a little glaze and some powdered sugar icing with crushed vanilla wafers on top. I was concerned that the vanilla wafers would get soggy but needn’t have been concerned-I saved half of each donut until Sunday and the wafers were fine. Anyway, the ‘nana pudding was far and away my favorite from these two. There was no actually banana in the donut, but rather a creamy banana-flavored filled, like pudding or the filling from a cream pie. It was smooth and banana-y but not overly so. Not that the lemon wasn’t good….I just didn’t find it to be head and shoulders above other lemon-filled donuts I’ve had in my lifetime. The lemon flavor of the technicolor filling was very strong and bright….I think I would have liked it better if it had been a little milder, like a homemade lemon curd. Still, the doughnut was extremely fresh and no doubt had better ingredients than what you might find in your standard chain doughnut shop….
Unlike me, Philip is a fool for a glazed donut, and a day-old Krispy Kreme is pretty much his idea of heaven on earth…so, of course, he decided on a plain glazed donut. For his other donut he chose (surprise!) the pancakes and bacon donut, which is a yeast-raised donut with maple glaze and bacon topping. Philip liked both of his donuts, but did say that the bacon on the pancakes and bacon donut seemed a little “dry”…I’m wondering if it was from sitting in the case (according to a post I read on another blog, the bacon is cooked in the shop). There certainly was a lot of it….I’d like to know just how they crush it so finely! He preferred the glazed donut, because, like I said, he’s just a glazed donut kinda guy. He did say that he didn’t like it as much as Krispy Kreme. I would probably disagree with him if I were to compare the two, but he really, really loves Krispy Kreme. I don’t understand, but I guess it’s a nostalgia thing (also, he is not a “hot and fresh” Krispy Kreme guy….he likes them a day old and a little crusty. Weirdo.).
I haven’t been enamored with the national donut chain (that shall remain unnamed) that has recently reemerged in the Chattanooga area. It’s not that I have a problem with them or their donuts…I mean, I’ll eat them if they’re offered (and it’s a flavor I like)….but I guess it just annoys me that everyone makes such a big flipping deal about a huge chain that’s good but not stellar, when we have local gems like this we could support (I feel the same way about a very large coffee chain….sorry to offend anyone!). If we spend a little time rooting out local options, we might (ahem, probably would) realize that those options are the best options in every way. So, get some donuts from Julie Darling!
Julie Darling Donuts is located at 121 Frazier Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37405. You can call them at 423-591-3737. They do not have a website, but you can “like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.