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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. Only the Li’l Rebel (mini donuts) and the classic donuts (glazed raised, chocolate glazed, the rebel, strawberry, coffee glazed, cookies and cream, maple, etc.)  are under a dollar though you can buy a dozen for ten dollars.  Fancy Donuts and premium donuts will cost you more than a dollar as will cinnamon rolls.  Rebel Donut donuts, however, are far from ordinary donuts.

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.” 

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

The Rebel Donut location on Albuquerque’s west side

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: 8 September 2013
1st VISIT: 28 July 2012
# OF VISITS: 3
RATING: 19
COST: $
BEST BET: Maple Bacon, 3X Chocolate, 3X Chocolate Muffin, Key Lime Pie, Mocha Chocolate, Old Fashioned Coconut, Nutella Chocolate


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Rebel Donut on Urbanspoon

Duke City Donuts – Albuquerque, New Mexico

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
(505) 294-2470

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

Whoo’s Donuts – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Whoo

When my corporate group had its employees, a high-performing contingent of information technology professionals, take a strengths assessment, the results were contrary to the stereotypes often painted about techno-geeks. None of us, for example, were profiled as Megadeath tee-shirt-wearing introverts who live in our mother’s basement and play World of Warcraft online against disembodied “friends.” Most of us were correctly pegged as being high achievers with healthy interpersonal skills and altruistic inclinations.

The employee who defied the IT stereotype most was my friend and fellow Peñasquero Antonette whom the assessment categorized as a “Woo” for her naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior. Even though Antonette was a cheerleader in high school, Woo in this case, is not a cheer or an onomatopoeia of excitement. Woo is an acronym for “winning others over.” In the world of a Woo, there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met–lots of them. Woos relish the challenge of meeting new people and derive satisfaction from making personal connections.

Twin display cases of donut deliciousness

Woo fits Antonette to a tee, but it’s admittedly not a characterization one would ascribe to me, a pretty plebeian guy. To me, woo (or woot as my friend Andrea Lin has been known to say) remains an expression of excitement, albeit one uttered in my usual Ben Stein deadpan and stoic manner. It’s something I say upon receipt of exciting news–such as the launch of a promising new restaurant. If my restaurant ratings were to be expressed as utterances of excitement, I would rate restaurants on a scale of one to four woos. Whoo’s Donuts in Santa Fe would earn four woos (and certainly more than one “mmm donuts” from Homer Simpson) and not just because of the obvious alliterative similarities between the words. It’s simply one of the most exciting donut restaurants in New Mexico. Woo!

Until the September 30, 2011 launch of Whoo’s Donuts, Santa Fe was surprisingly lacking in a high quality non-chain donut shop to complement all the highly regarded gourmet restaurants which make the City Different one of America’s premier dining destinations. The recognition of this niche opportunity makes it only fitting therefore that this denizen of donut deliciousness be named for the wise owl. Whoo’s Donuts is the brainchild of Jeff and Kari Keenan, owners of The ChocolateSmith which gained national prominence when featured in the Food Network’s “Road Tested” program. Whoo’s Donuts is situated next door to the ChocolateSmith.

Top: Maple bacon with dark chocolate glaze and chili brown sugar; Bottom: Pistachio cake with white chocolate lemon ganache and Dark Chocolate Toffee Donut

The notion of a donut shop taking pride in its use of “organic” and “locally sourced” ingredients may seem antithetical in a market dominated by caloric and processed sugar overachievers, but Whoo’s Donuts pulls it off with absolutely no sacrifice in the flavor and decadence departments, not to mention in imagination. Where the chain donut shops have become predictably banal, Whoo’s is an exciting breath of olfactory arousing air with an inventive array of über-delicious donuts showcased under glass in twin cases. A wooden plank sunburst behind the counter seems to herald the dawn of a new era–an era Whoo’s time has come.

While much of the shop’s business is of the take-out variety, Whoo’s does offer seating (around wooden barrels) for patrons who aren’t in a hurry. Make it a point to stick around where you can also enjoy a custom blend from Fat Boy Roasters of Cedar Crest. You’re bound, as we did, to run into other Homer Simpsonesque donut aficionados happily regaling one another with tales of donuts past and to come. We ran into a couple from Portland who eschewed hometown pride to declare Whoo’s Donuts better than the legendary Voodoo Donuts. That’s high praise indeed.

Cinnamon Roll at top; Dulce de Leche with chocolate and sea salt at bottom

If Portland’s Voodoo Donuts didn’t invent the maple bacon bar, they sure did popularize it. Whoo’s Donuts one-ups Voodoo with a bit of New Mexican alchemy–a maple bacon bar with dark chocolate glaze and chili (sic) brown sugar. Sliced into tiny strips, the bacon is a crispy and savory complement to the adult dark chocolate glaze and the discernibly and very pleasantly piquant chili brown sugar. Great tastes that taste great together! Another terrific triumvirate can be enjoyed in the pistachio cake with white chocolate lemon ganache. The toasted pistachios with their salty underpinnings form a wonderful marriage with the tangy and tart lemon ganache.

Toffee chunks of all sizes punctuate dark chocolate in the dark chocolate toffee donut which just might answer the question as to what a Heath bar might taste like in donut form. It would taste like a delectable bit of paradise. The ChocolateSmith is famous for its chocolate-covered caramels with sea salt, a combination which also works well in a dulce de leche (a sweet cream caramel) donut with chocolate and sea salt. Sea salt both complements and contrasts the sweetness of the caramel and the ecstasy eliciting flavor of dark chocolate. It’s a magical combination. Whoo’s cinnamon rolls are gooey, rich and very cinnamony, better if heated with a pad of melted butter for contrast.

Whatever your expression of excitement might be, Whoo’s Donuts certainly warrants it be expressed loudly. This is a true woo if there ever was one!

Whoo’s Donuts
851-B Cerillos Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico
(505) 629-1678
Web Site
LATEST VISIT: 7 January 2012
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: *
COST: $
BEST BET: Dulce de Leche, Cinnamon Roll, Maple bacon with dark chocolate glaze and chili brown sugar, Pistachio cake with white chocolate lemon ganache, Dark Chocolate Toffee Donut

Whoo's Donuts on Urbanspoon