It was the best of times, it was the time I got a donut. But not just one donut, two donuts. Because “A Tale of Two Donuts” is a witty Dickensian reference. “A Tale of One Donut” is one donut shy of a witty Dickensian reference. Everyone knows that the Breakfast of Champions is Wheaties. But who wants to be a champion when you can have donuts instead. And that is why today I got on my scooter in search of them.There are lots of places to get donuts. Everyone knows that. But in Philadelphia there are really only two places to get donuts: Federal Donuts and Frangelli’s. Federal Donuts is great if you want a unique flavor experience, like Grapefruit Crème Brulee or something. Indeed, I have scooted to their flagship store at 2nd and Manton often. But today, I wanted a Frangelli donut. I think they are, hands down, the best place to get a donut-flavored donut in the city.
If I were to ask you, “What’s the most important thing that happened in 1947?” you might point to the Roswell incident, the invention of the transistor, or the Kon-Tiki Expedition. These incidents are O.K., I mean they aren’t unimportant, but they aren’t the most important. The most important thing that happened in 1947 was the founding of Frangelli’s Bakery at 9th and Ritner.
First, Frangelli’s offers donuts that are roughly the size of a loveseat sofa. And who wants a small donut when other options are available? I favor the chocolate-glazed donut, both for its classic simplicity and the fact that there is about 16 oz of high-quality chocolate slathered all over it. So why A Tale of Two Donuts when one donut is the size of furniture? Am I a gluttonous slob? Well, maybe — probably. But today I needed two donuts because I got one for my mom.
Don’t let sentimentality get the best of you. It was really an exercise in self-preservation. If my mom found out (and she has radar) that I went to Frangelli’s and didn’t bring her a Frannoli, she’d kill me.
What’s a Frannoli? It is a cannoli/donut chimera that combines the cake-part of a donut with the filling from a cannoli. Essentially, it is a donut with another dessert shoved inside of it — the confectionary analog of a turducken. And my mom loves them — perhaps even more than me. Yeah, probably more than me. (Frannolis never complain or ask to borrow money.)
A trip to Frangelli’s by scooter is always easy because there is a gigantic loading zone with ample parking right in front. Even today, when there were cars parked in it, there was still room for my scooter.
(That chocolate-glazed donut actually does have a hole in the middle, but there is so much chocolate that the hole is plastered shut.)
So, really, that’s about it. I got the two donuts and a cup of hazelnut-flavored coffee. No giant chasm opened in the street while I was riding. No one threw things at me. I didn’t need to construct a rope bridge out of hemp to get my scooter and the donuts across. (OKI made that one up.) I-95 didn’t suddenly appear for no reason in front of me (i.e., all the normal crap that happens to me didn’t today). I brought the donut to my mom. She told me it was a far, far better thing that I did, than I have ever done.