City Garden Doughnuts & Coffee
If you’re a wine-country foodie, Santa Rosa’s new City Garden Doughnuts & Coffee is sure to have popped up on your radar. With its grand opening today on National Doughnut Day—June 2—City Garden is primed to bring locals and visitors the highest quality doughnuts they’re ever tasted.
What more could we ask for in wine country? We’ve got farm-to-table restaurants, incredible local wine and endless culinary talent, so it was natural that a high-end doughnut shop would open its doors in a place like Santa Rosa. But what makes City Garden different from regular doughnut shops? “Our goal is to do everything with the very best quality as well as it can be done,” says co-owner Alan McCandless.
And it’s not just doughnuts on their radar, but coffee, too. “We don’t want to be a store that majors in doughnuts and minors in coffee. We want to be a store that majors in doughnuts and majors in coffee—that’s why we selected Black Oak. We believe Black Oak [a Ukiah, California-based coffee roaster] is the finest coffee roaster around,” McCandless says. “And all the other ingredients we’ve chosen are based on quality...we are heavily influenced by local purveyors. Giusto flour from Petaluma; Clover and Strauss dairy. We want to use as much fresh food as we can and local distributors.”
Let’s talk flavors. “The sky is the limit with what we’ll do and the evolution will be never-ending,” McCandless says with enthusiasm. “We’ll start with the maple-bacon, the classic. We use Hobbs bacon [a Bay Area company] and make the maple from both Vermont maple syrup and a little local honey.” The maple-bacon is visually appealing with a giant slab of crispy bacon laid atop the neatly maple-glazed pillowy dough. Fluffy and moist, the doughnut sets itself up against the crispy bacon perfectly for a sweet and savory treat that tastes “like Sunday morning,” McCandless says.
There’s also another breakfast-themed doughnut that was inspired by freshly-squeezed orange juice and McCandless’ favorite orange cake that his mother made. “Fresh-squeezed orange juice is the best beverage ever ingested. When it’s first squeezed, it’s so good—we wanted to capture that in the orange glaze.” Covered in an orange juice and orange zest-infused glaze, this doughnut doesn’t skimp on natural orange flavor. “I grew up with a mother who made an orange cake that I loved, and this doughnut reminds me of that,” McCandless says with a smile. Cara Cara oranges—a cross between oranges and grapefruit—are currently in rotation, but the plan is to switch up the oranges as the seasons change, working with the likes of Valencia and blood varieties.
The chocolate glaze, made with Bay Area-based Guittard chocolate, is decadent but nicely contrasted by a gentle dusting of sea salt. And the strawberry glaze will feature Sebastopol’s famed Farmer Lao's strawberries when they are in season. There’s also lemon-pistachio, which walks the line between sweet and savory like the maple-bacon, with its crispy Santa Barbara-grown pistachios and sweet-and-sour lemon glaze.
The magic texture of the doughnuts can be attributed to the brioche dough, which McCandless says “sits overnight and will ferment for about 15 hours.” Doughnuts are made fresh from the overnight dough each morning. And if doughnuts aren’t your thing, City Garden has you covered with three savory scones: The Hobbs features Hobbs bacon, Vella cheddar and green onion. The Jersey, “kind of an ode to where I grew up,” McCandless says, has pepperoni, Vella cheddar and oregano. And the The Savoy will be a classic Hotel Savoy currant or raisin.
For those who know they can’t resist a cup of coffee with their doughnut or scone, the featured Black Oak coffee is strong and flavorful—the way it should be. Enjoy a plenitude of beverages from the full espresso bar or a simple cup of single-drip, either way the menu’s got something for everyone—including non-coffee options like lemonade, iced and hot tea, hot chocolate and Sonoma County's own Revive kombucha. But from the specialty coffee offerings, the Lovers Lane Latte is sure to be a hit. Keith Feigin, owner of Black Oak, “is also a beekeeper and makes his own honey called Lovers Lane,” McCandless says. “This is their top-seller latte and because we’re partnering with them, it will be one that we feature.” A bee pollen garnish adds a fantastic texture to this latte and a kick of floral flavor.
Now open for business from 7am-2pm Wednesday through Sunday, City Garden is ready to provide that morning cup of joe and doughnut fix on your way to work, as well as offer a comfortable atmosphere for lazy weekends when a good, strong cup of coffee and a flavorful doughnut are in order after a night of partying.
When I asked McCandless what inspired him to open City Garden, he replied, “Doughnuts are something that are forever, and I think they still haven't reached their peak of quality, taste, depth and creativity.” I’m afraid McCandless is wrong, however, because these doughnuts absolutely do exemplify the peak of quality, taste, depth and creativity that I think all wine-country doughnut lovers have been waiting for.
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