Newington, CT on the Berlin Tpke
This “Eat Before It’s Too Late” list I’ve decided to pursue – and hopefully complete – has a few wildcard entries that throw me for a loop. But I am a completist if nothing else, so I will continue to feed my face and report my findings here, no matter how seemingly “off” some of this stuff appears to be.
Near the top of the “Really? Why?” list is going to a now famous (Thanks to the Travel Channel’s recent visit for Man Vs. Food) hotdog and burger joint for a sugary and fluffy chunk of fried dough. It’s tough to find on the menu and I can assure you that it is probably a very rarely ordered item on the Doogie’s Menu.
(2020 Update: It’s still there and it’s a bit more prominent now.)
But I had Hoang with me and her sweet tooth would not be denied, no matter how weird I felt ordering a doughboy in the midst of a line full of blue collar guys loading up on burgers, dogs and fries.
The Roadfood Experience:
Oddly, and owing to the out-of-placeness of this Top 500 item, there is nary a mention of the doughboys at Doogie’s on roadfood.com at all. So we must turn to the book from whence this list comes…
What is sold throughout the Northeast as fried dough comes in two versions: sweet, spread with melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and savory, painted with Italianate red sauce. Because it is carnival walk-around food, not a lot restaurants make a specialty of it, which is one reason we treasure Doogie’s. You can get it sweet or savory at this cheeky drive-in…
Doughboys are a subset of fried dough, spherical and small rather than flat and broad, and they are always sweet. They are a close relation to Portuguese-ancestored malasadas, also known as flippers, but are more a side dish than a snack. The spherical fritters of yeasty satisfaction have a nice chew, a faint crispness to their tan skin, and an extra-thick cloak of sugar crystals covering the outside like snowflake iron fillings on a magnet.
The CTMQ Experience
Wait – did you read that bit above? “an extra-thick cloak of sugar crystals covering the outside like snowflake iron fillings on a magnet?” I like the Sterns and I love roadfood.com, but that is a pretty lame metaphor.
Down where I grew up, the local (thanks Amish!) variety of this is funnel cake. I’ve never really liked funnel cake (or fried dough) that much and as for those who eat the stuff with tomato sauce? You’re out of your minds. It’s FRIED DOUGH people and should be eaten as the doughnut it is so closely culinarily related to. I’ll hear nothing more of this savory fried dough nonsense.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I ordered our doughboy, which did get me a quizzical look from the lady who works there. After all, I was probably the only guy not getting a hot dog in the whole (somewhat crowded) place. No drink, nothing else… Just one doughboy for me and my wife to share, thanks.
Okay, in retrospect I guess it was a pretty strange order. But they fried it up and we prepared to eat it.
Delicious! None of that annoying messy powdered sugar – nope, just a shiny glaze of sugar crystals instead. About the size of a coffee roll, but light and airy instead, the Doogie’s Doughboy is the best variation on this theme I’ve ever had. Just sweet enough, just chewy enough… It’s wonderful.
I can’t promise Doogie’s will continue to make these things, but as long as they do, if you can find them on the menu and aren’t afraid to ask for it, you won’t be disappointed.
Doogie’s is much, MUCH better known for their giant hotdogs, which I’ve enjoyed as well.