Rebel Donut – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Rebel Donut on Wyoming Just North of Menaul

Many years ago if someone proposed a wager of “dollars to donuts,” you might have been well advised to take it.  The phrase “dollars to donuts” essentially meant the person proposing the wager thought he or she had  a sure thing, that he or she was willing to to risk a dollar to win a dollar’s worth of donuts.  Donuts weren’t worth much at the time (and they weren’t very good either) so winning a bet might result in being paid off by a baker’s dozen or so donuts.  Today, if someone offers a “dollars to donuts” wager, the counter to a five dollar bet might be two donuts and the donuts would likely be terrific.  

Visit a donut shop today and sticker shock might set in.  Donuts aren’t cheap anymore, not that it stops Americans from spending our dollars for donuts to the tune of about $3.6 billion dollars per year.  Americans consume some ten billion donuts a year. That’s 33 donuts per man, woman and child per year.  The demographic which loves donuts most is middle-income men ages 25 to 49 (now you know what accounts for the “middle-age spread”).

Donut deliciousness in a glass case

As with burgers, donuts are one of those rare foods which have proven to be recession proof.  Despite the  economic malaise of the past few years, the number of donut shops, amount of donuts consumed and profitability per donut shop has continued to increase every year (save for a short lapse when the nutrition police made donuts non grata).  The reason most attributed is that donuts are a tasty and inexpensive comfort food.  Similar to the gourmet burger craze which has taken America by storm, consumers don’t mind splurging on donuts that are more costly.

The June 11th, 2012 launch of Rebel Donut (singular) will certainly give consumers an opportunity to splurge. Rebel makes two types of donuts: raised donuts made from yeast-based dough, and cake donuts made from cake batter.  Rebel makes two types of donuts. Raised donuts – made from yeast-based dough, and cake donuts – made from cake batter. Since they are made from rolled dough, and hand-cut, raised donuts can be formed into almost any shape. Proofing the donuts before they get fried gives them a fluffy, airy texture. Cake donuts are sweeter and denser than raised donuts. They are a little crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. They are always going to be round, but they can still be filled and decorated in a million ways.

Nutella-Chocolate, 3X chocolate, Powdered Sugar Vanilla , Old-Fashioned Coconut

As might be expected for a donut shop bearing the appellation “Rebel,” Rebel Donut is expanding the boundaries of donut conventionality.  Even the shop’s logo, a donut with wings, bespeaks of nonconformity, risk-taking, daring to be different.  Rebel Donut is taking donuts to the extreme, helping them be all they can be…self-actualizing donuts.  Unique flavors include red velvet, chocolate salted pretzel, chocolate mint, peanut butter and apple, peanut butter and Sriracha, carrot cake, watermelon and blueberry pancake and those are tame compared to other donuts on the ever-changing menu.  

You’d expect no less than imagination and inventiveness from Rebel Donut owners Carrie Mettling and Tina Winn.  Carrie was the founder and creative force behind Cupcake Fetish which she opened in March, 2006 and which began a bit of a cupcake boom in the Duke City.  The Rebel owners have hired a like-minded staff and given them the latitude to be visionary.  Then, as if the Rebel team wasn’t already taking donut innovation to new heights, they gave Facebook followers an opportunity to suggest new donut ideas.  The ideas were so clever that many, if not all, will be implemented.    That’s donuts by the people, for the people and by the people.

Top: Mocha Chocolate, 3X Chocolate Muffin, Key Line Pie
Bottom: Dreamsicle, Apple peanut butter, Smores

Striving to be Albuquerque’s premier artisan donut and pastry shop, Rebel Donut showcases more than thirty donut flavors per day with new and different surprises every day.  One unexpected surprise for us is the presence of kolaches (Czech and Slovak pastries with a dollop of fruit inside), but not exactly the type of which we experienced in Chicago.  Purists will argue that Rebel Donut’s line-up kolaches (sausage and cheese; sausage, jalapeño and cheese; and veggie sausage, green chile and cheese) are not kolaches, but Klobasnek.  Call them what you will, but you will call them delicious.

If you have any inkling that these donuts sound like so much fluff and style, one bite will assure you’re there’s plenty of substance beyond the round hole in the middle.  These donuts taste like very good renditions of their named ingredients.  The Dreamsicle donut tastes like a sweet and tangy orange.  The mocha chocolate tastes like a creamy, chocolatey coffee.  Then there’s the donuts in which seemingly disparate ingredients (peanut butter and Sriracha, for example) are combined.  These, too, as if by some feat of enchantment, are at the very least interesting, but more often than not, quite good.

Maple Bacon

If your idea of a radical donut is chocolate with sprinkles, Rebel Donut will rock your world.  Who but a Rebel would create a donut topped with candy resembling blue sky meth, the vice of choice on Breaking Bad, a popular television drama filmed in Albuquerque?  Who but a Rebel would launch a second shop at a seemingly cursed location on Albuquerque’s west side, a location which has seen a number of restaurants and even another donut shop?  Who but a Rebel would open a satellite shop in Albuquerque’s fledgling downtown area? 

In 2013, Rebel Donut was  selected to compete on a new Food Network show called “Donut Showdown” which premiered April 2nd on the Food Network in Canada.  The show made its United States debut on Wednesday, July 3rd on the Cooking Channel.  Carrie competed with two other donut-makers for a $10,000 prize.  The theme of the show was “Carnival.”  Although the Duke City’s dominant donut presence was victorious in 2013, it finished as runner-up during the 2014 showdown.

The Rebel Donut location on Albuquerque's west side (9311 Coors Blvd NW)

The Rebel Donut location on Albuquerque’s west side

NOTEIn the following paragraphs, Gil’s Thrilling… recaps the national attention garnered by Rebel Donut.

To get all existential about it – how do I know the perfect donut for me is the perfect donut for you? The truth is there really is no Perfect Donut because we all love different things. So at Rebel Donut, we are all about options.” How’s that for an appealing mission statement or operating philosophy, not that Rebel Donut’s Web site calls it that. With that level of commitment to variety and people pleasing, is it any wonder Albuquerque’s Rebel Donut was named in January, 2018, “The Best Donut Shop in New Mexico” by Delish. Like Rebel Donut, Delish believes “there’s no wrong way to eat a donut.” To compile its list of each state’s best donuts, Delish consulted Yelp, increasingly the most reliable crowd-source on culinary matters.

The Daily Meal describes donuts as “extremely versatile” and “essentially a blank canvas.” As to prove the versatility of the donut, in November, 2016 the online site compiled a list of America’s Most Outrageous Doughnuts and Where to Find Them. You probably didn’t have to give it a second thought to know Albuquerque’s Rebel Donut would make the list. Breaking Bad fans recall Rebel Donut’s “Blue Sky” doughnut which was topped with something resembling blue meth. That’s not even their most outrageous donut. That honor, according to The Daily Meal, would be reserved for the Dough Boy doughnut which “is studded with chocolate chips, drizzled with ample chocolate sauce, and topped with a hefty scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough.”

The best kind of six pack

Perhaps the most eloquent and certainly the most aptly descriptive quote ever uttered about donuts came from everyman philosopher Homer Simpson who once said “Mmmmmm…doughnuts.” What more needs to be said? Maybe “better than cupcakes, as classic as apple pie.” That’s what BuzzFeed said in October, 2016 when introducing a feature listing the best donut shop in every state according to Yelp. Using an algorithm that looked at the number of reviews plus the star rating for every doughnut business listed on Yelp, the best donut in New Mexico was determined to come from Rebel Donut in Albuquerque. That comes as no surprise to Duke City donut aficionados who have been flocking to the premier artisan donut and pastry shop in the Land of Enchantment.

Although the Cooking Channel doesn’t grace my cable subscription package, I find comfort in knowing Founding Friends of Gil (FOG) member Jim Millington was able to watch the channel’s “Cheap Eats” show in April, 2016 when it featured host Ali Khan visiting beautiful, sunny Albuquerque. Jim reports that “the show is pretty much like Rachael Ray’s old Twenty Dollar a Day show except that Ali lacks Rachael’s cuteness and he has $35. His first stop was at the Tia B’s La Waffleria for vegan waffles which he found to be wonderful. Next stop was the Route 66 Pit Stop for the famous green chile cheeseburger which knocked his socks off. Third was Rebel Donuts. He didn’t even get a donut shaped one. It was long, stuffed and topped with bacon. Papa Felipe’s introduced him to the amazement of carne adovada stuffed in a sopaipilla.” Thank you, Jim.

Rebel Donut gained tremendous notoriety for creating a donut mimicking the potent crystal blue meth made famous by AMC’s Breaking Bad series. In March, 2016, Rebel Donut was honored on Food Network Magazine as one of a dozen “best in dough,” an honor bestowed upon fun donuts. The honoree is Rebel Donut’s pina colada donut, a vanilla cake donut dipped in coconut rum glaze then raw coconut with buttercream frosting. Unlike the Breaking Bad donut which has no actual blue meth, there is actual real rum in the pina colada donut. It’s one in a small line of adult donuts though it can be made “virgin” as well. 

Albuquerque is one of the four original cities to syndicate the Jim Rome Show, a sports talk mainstay on 610 AM for nearly two decades. With a unique lexicon and format, the show now boasts of some 200 radio stations across the United States and Canada. Listeners are fiercely loyal to the show, reveling in a  format which encourages them to be critical of other cities on the syndicate as well as other listeners, including “laying the smack down” on “Albucracky” and its tumbleweed motif. During Rome’s most recent visit in November, 2016, he and his road crew discovered the “blue meth” donuts from Albuquerque’s Rebel Donut. The donuts were much more than a punchline to the jocular crew, all of whom enjoyed every morsel.

Foursquare, an online presence which purports to help readers “find the best places to eat, drink, shop, or visit in any city in the world,” took on the enviable challenge in October, 2015 of determining the best bakery in each state. Because man and woman cannot live on bread alone, the list included a number of more specialized bakeries such as Albuquerque’s Rebel Donut. Foursquare noted: “From maple bacon to cherry lemonade to chicken and waffle donuts, Albuquerque’s Rebel Donut certainly breaks the mold when it comes to breakfast confections. The shop also gained fame for its signature Breaking Bad-themed “Blue Sky” variety, which was endorsed by the show’s stars themselves.”  

While trying to get to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1945, Bugs Bunny accidentally wound up in Germany where for the first time he utters the recurring line “I should have made that left turn at Albuquerque.” Realtors across the fruited plain have come to the realization that many people aren’t making any turns when they arrive in the Duke City. They’re here to stay. For them, the Movoto.com blog, the lighter side of real estate, provided in June, 2015, “29 things you need to know about Albuquerque before you move there” Among the sagacious tips: Green Chile: Love it or Leave Town; Great Community Food at the Grove Cafe; You may not Know the Mufin Man, but Everyone Knows the Candy Lady; The Perfect Ron Swansonable Steak (from Farm & Table at “rustic Old Town”); All Other Bread Will Pale in Comparison (from the Golden Crown Panaderia); These Donuts, Oh Man, These Donuts (from Rebel Donut); and Your BBQ Search is Over at Mr. Powdrell’s BBQ House.

Apple Corporation recognizes the value of rebels: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”  Rebel Donuts is changing Albuquerque one donut at a time.

Rebel Donut
2435 Wyoming Blvd, N.E. 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 293-0553
Web Site
LATEST VISIT: 18 February 2018
1st VISIT: 28 July 2012
# OF VISITS: 4
RATING: 19
COST: $
BEST BET: Maple Bacon, 3X Chocolate, 3X Chocolate Muffin, Key Lime Pie, Mocha Chocolate, Old Fashioned Coconut, Nutella Chocolate

Rebel Donut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bristol Doughnut Co. – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Bristol Doughnut Company in the Sawmill District

While most people speak with fond nostalgia about their first ride on a double-decker bus, the memories of our inaugural trip are tinged with horror that traumatizes us to this day. As with most visitors making their first excursion to London, we wanted to take in all the sights with the best vantage point you can have. That meant sitting on the top deck of a double-decker. These bi-level behemoths ride higher than almost everything else on the road save for those noisy articulated lorries ( what we Yanks call semi-trailer trucks). Despite the congestion that typifies London’s streets, double-deckers provide spectacular, mostly unobstructed views of the city.

Though we arrived early to ensure we got seats on the coveted top deck, a couple dozen early birds got there earlier. As we climbed the stairs to our lofty perch, the portly fellow in front of us “let ‘er rip,” emitting the most noxious effluvia imaginable. Our eyes began to water as we coughed and sputtered at the malodorous “silent but deadly” emanation. Surely this odoriferous rank was equal to or more potent than the sulfuric gates of Hell. Congestion at the top slowed our ascent and heightened our suffering. Then, to our horror and dismay, the only available seats were behind the mephitic miscreant who continued his “assault from the rear.” As if to prolong our distress, an accident snarled traffic. When we finally disembarked—at the very first stop—we thanked God for our delivery from our putrid purgatory.

Doughnuts

When I excitedly told my Kim about Bristol Doughnut Co., a new donut shop in the Duke City which proffers “probably the best donuts in Albuquerque” (according to ever reliable Howie “The Duke of Duke City” Kaibel, the charismatic Albuquerque Community Manager for Yelp), she reminded me of the torment we suffered in London. It then dawned on me that the double-decker on which our torturous ordeal (death might have been preferable) occurred sported the Bristol name. Surely we thought, Bristol the double-decker manufacturer has absolutely no relation to Bristol the purveyor of peerless donuts.  We were half right.

When we asked “why the name Bristol,” we were told that a bona fide Bristol Double-Decker bus is being readied for selling donuts.  Can there be a better idea than donuts coming to the masses instead of the masses having to go to the donuts?  For now, when you attempt to go to the (Bristol) donuts, you may have trouble finding them.  Though the Bristol Doughnut Co. has a physical address, there is no exterior signage anywhere to let you know you’ve arrived at your destination.  Bristol is ensconced within The Spur Line Supply Company just past Mama’s Minerals in the burgeoning Sawmill District.  It’s in the southeast corner of a large complex resembling a warehouse.

Two Cinnamon Rolls, One Egg Nog Donut, One Maple Bacon Donut and Two Bristol Salted Butter Donuts

In addition to its unique location, the Bristol Doughnut Co. displays its featured fare in a very distinct manner.  Donuts are displayed behind what was once the back window of a vintage automobile which has since been cut in half.  It’s akin to a super-sized sneeze guard.  A limited number of donuts are available on any given day, not always the same kind.  We ordered four of the six kinds available on the date of our inaugural visit and absolutely loved every single one of them.  Bristol donuts are certainly among the very best of breed. 

My Kim tends to judge the worthiness of a donut shop by the quality of its cinnamon rolls.  As with almost all cinnamon rolls, she contends Bristol’s could have used a bit more cinnamon, but considering the general deliciousness of these dense, doughy spirals, it’s a nit.  A light sugary glaze practically begs for the sheen of melted butter, a sweet and savory complement she enjoys.  Maple bacon donuts have become as common as fake news, but Bristol’s version is better than any we’ve previously enjoyed.  The complementary flavors of sweet maple and salty bacon are in perfect proportion to one another.  Perhaps that’s because the bacon is in bits not strips.  Of seasonal significance is an egg nog donut which might just have you pining for its liquid counterpart.  Then there’s the salted butter donuts which stand out because the light glaze allows you to easily discern and thoroughly enjoy the salted butter.  They go together very well.

Now, if you’re thinking you’ll get up early tomorrow to grab donuts on your way to work, you can sleep in.  Bristol’s hours of operation start at 10AM Monday through Saturday and at 11AM on Sunday.  The good news is that you’ll be able to pick donuts up on your way home because Bristol is open until 6PM Monday through Saturday and 4PM on Sunday.  Donuts…no longer just for breakfast…and so good, we’d risk another trip on a double-decker bus.

Bristol Doughnut Co.
800 20th Street, N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 596-0312
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 3 December 2017
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: N/R
COST: $ – $$
BEST BET: Cinnamon Rolls, Egg Nog Donut, Maple Bacon Donut, Bristol Salted Butter Donut
RESTAURANT REVIEW #1008

Bristol Doughnut Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Duke City Donuts – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The new (as of May, 2012) Scottsdale Shopping Center home of Duke City Donuts

If you love donuts (and who doesn’t), you might want to consider being just a bit more generous when you see the ubiquitous Salvation Army bell-ringers and their familiar kettles standing in the chilly winter air to solicit donations.  The Salvation Army didn’t invent the first donut, but you can certainly credit much of their popularity to this philanthropic group. During World War I, the “lassies” in the Salvation Army prepared donuts for thousands of soldiers, an act which along with their compassion endeared the group to the American public.  It also stimulated a taste for donuts which hadn’t existed before the war among the American public.

In 1938, the first Friday in June was established as “Salvation Army Donut Day” in Chicago, not only to honor the Salvation Army but to help raise much-needed operating funds for the group.  It was also set aside as a tribute to the Salvation Army lassies who made and served the donuts during World War I.  Although the spelling has been shortened from “doughnut” to “donut” over the years, by any spelling the donut has been the Salvation Army’s trademark since World War I.

Donuts under glass at Enchantment Chocolates

Donuts under glass at Duke City Donuts

In recent years, donuts and their high-carb brethren have been vilified and all but banned by the “nutritionally correct” who believe America should supplant these deliciously decadent orbs with beet juice, tofu, carrots and celery sticks.  Coupled with the advent of the carb unfriendly Adkins Diet, donuts went through a period in which they were as popular as terrorist extremists at a New York City fire department party.  Even the sanctified Krispy Kreme saw stock prices plummet.

Albuquerque has in recent years seen the demise, departure or diminished numbers of Krispy Kreme, Shipley’s Donuts, Winchell’s Donuts and even most of the city’s Dunkin’ Donuts. Whether it was an onslaught of health-crazed fanatics, reduced ranks in the police force or a combination of other factors, the Duke City can hardly be called the Donut City.  Perhaps the one donut restaurant which did more to resurrect the popularity of donuts in the Duke City is the aptly named Duke City Donuts.

Maple Glazed Donut with Bacon, Dark Chocolate Cashew Bark, Milk Chocolate Oreo

Duke City Donuts is located in the far northeast heights Scottsdale Shopping Village (on the northwest corner of Eubank and Candelaria).  Turn into the Village and the very first business you will see is Duke City Donuts which moved to its new location in May, 2012, very shortly after being honored by Albuquerque The Magazine.  In its annual Food & Wine issue for 2012, Albuquerque The Magazine awarded Duke City Donuts a Hot Plate Award signifying the selection of its maple bacon donut as one of the “most interesting, special and tasty dishes around.”  Considering the thousands of potential selections, to be singled out is quite an honor.

Duke City Donuts is not a pretty new face to the Scottsdale Village Shopping Center, but a change in ownership in 2007 precipitated a change in direction and vision for the store.  One of those changes was diversification from chocolates which meant the inclusion of delectable and delightful donuts, the type of which might make Homer Simpson swoon.  That change of direction and vision was reenforced in 2011 when the store changed its name from Enchantment Chocolates to Duke City Donuts.

Top: Two Glazed Donuts, Strawberry Glazed Donut, Pumpkin Glazed Donut, Spicy Pumpkin, Pumpkin Cake

The menu is replete with raised donuts and cake donuts with flavors of the week for every day of the week.  On Monday, it’s blueberry; on Tuesday, it’s cherry; on Wednesday, it’s lemon and on Thursday, it’s strawberry.  Friday’s flavor of the day is chocolate while orange is the flavor of the day on Saturdays.  A seasonal favorite is pumpkin donuts which are made in a variety of ways.

Flavor of the day doesn’t mean solely one donut featuring that flavor.  On the Saturday of my inaugural visit, orange, the flavor of the day was featured in a chocolate donut, an orange cake donut and an orange raised donut.  Flavor of the day also doesn’t mean obviously artificial flavoring that barely approximates the select flavor.  The orange donuts have a pronounced citrus flavor, a sweet tanginess reminiscent of the sun-kissed orange in its peak of flavor.

Colorful and delicious assortment of donuts

Colorful and delicious assortment of donuts

Donuts are topped with a variety of decadent frostings including a maple frosted donut which would make any Canadian proud.  The maple actually tastes like maple, not like white icing tinged brown.  It’s a novel concept other proprietors of donuts should follow.  More of them should also top maple donuts with a single piece of crispy fried bacon.  It’s an interesting and delicious example of flavor contrasts where sweet and salty play against one another.

True to its former name, Duke City Donuts features a menagerie of sweet treats the nutrition police are sure to disdain.  Aside from homemade chocolates, the store showcases a variety of fudge and other homemade candy.  It also sells a nice selection of popcorn in flavors other than the de rigueur standards.  The popcorn is colorful and delicious and is available in such flavors as blueberry and chocolate.  You also don’t have to wait for the State Fair if you crave cotton candy.  Duke City Donuts has that, too.

Five of the very best donuts in New Mexico

16 March 2013: October may be National Doughnut Month, but the magazine Everyday with Rachael Ray celebrated a “hole lotta love!” in March with a pictorial of some of America’s most “fancified and accessorized” donuts.  Included in the almost good enough to eat photo shoot was a Samoa donut (toasted coconut, caramel and chocolate) from Duke City Donuts. The Samosa is much better than its photograph because you can indulge in its decadent deliciousness.

Every time we visit Duke City Donuts, we find a new favorite–or at least something new and interesting.  In the latter category is a Lucky Charms cereal donut painted green in honor of the Emerald Isle.  It’s too sweet for me, but perfect for my Kim who’s much sweeter.  It wouldn’t be New Mexico if donuts didn’t incorporate our official state vegetable (no, not the pinto bean; the other one–chile).  The chocolate-bacon-red chile-bacon donut packs a back of the throat punch.  It’s the type of donut you’d want a glass of milk with.  Similar to New Mexican restaurants, Duke City Donuts can actually ask the official state question–“red or green” because one of its donuts combines apples and green chile.  This one not only has a nice piquancy, it has a freshly roasted flavor, too.

Top: Lucky Charms Donut; Red Chile-Chocolate-Bacon Donut  Bottom: Samosa Donut, Green Chile Apple

Top: Lucky Charms Donut; Red Chile-Chocolate-Bacon Donut Bottom: Samosa Donut, Green Chile Apple

Duke City Donuts, where you can celebrate Donut Day everyday may offer the very best donuts in Albuquerque–donuts so good, owner J.D. Dame changed its name to reflect the popularity of the peoples’ choice product.    Provided that same enchantment continues to permeate that glorious fried dough, he could call the restaurant anything he wants and donut lovers will beat a path to his door.

Duke City Donuts
3107 Eubank Blvd, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
1st VISIT: 18 July 2009
LATEST VISIT: 28 July 2013
# OF VISITS: 10
RATING: 21
COST: $
BEST BET: Chocolate Orange Donut, Orange Donut, Glazed Donut, Maple Frosted Donut, Maple-Bacon Donut, Coffee Toffee Donut, Pumpkin Cake Donut, Spicy Pumpkin Donut, Glazed Pumpkin Donut

Duke City Donuts on Urbanspoon

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