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”).
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
2435 Wyoming Blvd, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 8 September 2013
1st VISIT: 28 July 2012
# OF VISITS: 3
BEST BET: Maple Bacon, 3X Chocolate, 3X Chocolate Muffin, Key Lime Pie, Mocha Chocolate, Old Fashioned Coconut, Nutella Chocolate