Market Bistro donuts mixed dozen

The Best Dozen: Market Bistro

Market Bistro donuts in boxes

By Daniel B.

We've enlisted Daniel B. to survey Capital Region donuts -- and pick his favorites -- for a short series called The Best Dozen.

Donuts don't have to come from a standalone bakery. You can also find them in your local neighborhood grocery store.

The ones at Price Chopper's Market Bistro in Latham make an impression because the store's donut rack includes a variety of signature square donuts in addition to the classics. To the eye the signature donuts are reminiscent of the more famous specimens found at shops such as NYC's Doughnut Plant and elsewhere.

But are the Market Bistro donuts any good? And which ones are worthy to pack into your dozen? Well, there's only one way to find out.

About the shop

Above the counter is a sign that claims over 20 varieties of donuts, so not all variations were able to be sampled.

Market Bistro's donut counter is self service, which has its pros and cons. On the upside, you can pack your donuts gingerly so that they don't get crushed. But on my visit, the handle to the case was sticky with jelly.

Overall, these are big donuts. By weight the glazed at Market Bistro was over 20 percent larger than its counterpart donut at Bella Napoli. You can try to squeeze a dozen into two boxes, but for safer transport it might require three.

Also: Those signature square donuts can't be included in an official dozen, and for good reason. They are nearly a half pound each! That's a lot of donut. So these were included in a very special bonus round. Because how could we not try these magnificent creatures.

The mixed dozen

market_bistro_donuts_mixed_dozen.jpg

Column by column, starting from the left.

Glazed
Glazed twist
Vanilla iced /
Chocolate iced
Headlight
Chocolate iced Bavarian long john /
Cake
Cinnamon sugar cake
Cinnamon sugar Persian /
Glazed apple fritter
Powdered jelly
Powdered lemon

The best of the bunch

Glazed
market_bistro_donuts_glazed.jpg

One of the best glazed donuts I've found so far in the region. It has a good rise with a yeasty aroma. The interior crumb is rich and light, and the glaze is thick enough to crackle.

The solid choices

Chocolate iced
market_bistro_donuts_chocolate_iced_donut.jpg

Solid version of the classic. There's a decent cocoa aroma from the icing, but the flavor didn't blow me away. Still, the donut itself has good lift and a tender interior. Taken as a whole it works quite well.

Cinnamon sugar cake
market_bistro_donuts_cinnamon_sugar_cake.jpg

Cider donut producers have known for years that cinnamon sugar adds a crunch to cake donuts that don't develop a proper crust. The topping fills that function here too, and complements the cake donut's nutmeg without making the whole thing overly sweet.

Powdered jelly
market_bistro_donuts_powdered_jelly.jpg

Holy moly. There are raspberry seeds in that jelly. It's not full of seeds, but there are enough to know that at least some real fruit made it into the mix. Mostly this donut shines in proportion and placement, with just enough starchy jelly piped into a crisp, yeasty shell.

The disappointments

Glazed twist
Based on the strength of the glazed, this was surprising. But it turns out when dough gets its strands in a twist, it doesn't get as light and tender as it would otherwise.

Vanilla iced
The good news is that it actually has a noticeable vanilla flavor. The bad news is that it tasted to me like an artificial vanilla flavor, and that the whole thing is cloyingly sweet.

Headlight
market_bistro_donuts_headlight_chocolate.jpg

Take a filled donut, and put the filling on the outside, and you've got a headlight. So much sugar and greasy icing on this thing. If you want bang for your buck, it's right here. Over five and half ounces of sugar and fat. I'd rather have two glazed.

Chocolate-iced Bavarian long john
Market Bistro calls it Bavarian crème, but it tastes very similar to Boston cream filling. It's a little starchier, and this elongated bar form isn't quite as tender as its rounder siblings. I wish the long form meant more filling, but that's not the case. This isn't bad, but I bet the traditional Boston cream is better.

Cinnamon sugar Persian
market_bistro_donuts_persian.jpg

Cake
There's not a lot going on here. It's not bad, just dull. I'd love more crispness in the crust. Barring that, I'd go for the cinnamon sugar version of this donut.

Persian
It's also available glazed. And I bet when glazed it's lovely. Sandy cinnamon sugar really clashes with the light pillowy crumb of this yeast donut swirl. (Why is this style of donut called a "Persian"? It might be derived from the name "Pershing.")

Glazed fritter
market_bistro_donuts_fritter.jpg

Like the Persian, this was an unfortunate lapse in judgement. The cinnamon sugar fritter is surely superior. There are so many nooks and cranny's on this specimen, that all the glaze pools into its pockets and creates a sticky sugar bomb.

Powdered lemon
It's a pretty good donut, but the lemon flavor gets drowned out by the rest of the donut. It does offer a hint of lemon, and maybe that's all you're in the mood for. But I want my filled donuts to work a little harder

Bonus: The signature square donuts

market_bistro_donuts_signature_square.jpg

Signature chocolate curl
The dark chocolate curls are striking on the white icing. But the jelly filling injected into two of the four corners doesn't nearly penetrate into every bite. I'd rather have just one of Market Bistro's solid jelly donuts.

Signature triple chocolate
My hope was with chocolate icing and chocolate shavings on top, that this donut would be stuffed with something chocolate. It's not. This is a glorified chocolate-iced Bavarian long john with a fanciful topping. Actually, it's more like two of them bound together. No thanks.

Signature chocolate coconut
Yet another chocolate iced Bavarian long john clone, but this time with toasted shredded coconut on top.

Signature peanut butter & jelly
Finally, something interesting. This donut has crushed peanuts over a peanut butter icing. It also offers a bit of saltiness in contrast to all the sweets. But it's still not quite enough. There isn't enough raspberry jelly or icing to stand up to the massive donut. That said, it's the best of the bunch, so it may be worth a try.

The best dozen

Price Chopper Market Bistro Latham exterior 2014 November

3 Glazed
2 Chocolate iced
2 Cinnamon sugar cake
2 Powdered jelly
1 Glazed Persian
1 Cinnamon sugar apple fritter
1 Chocolate iced Bavarian crème filled (aka Boston cream)

This dozen boldly goes where no dozen has gone before. It includes donuts not sampled as part of the original dozen. However, one can learn and extrapolate from experience. The long johns didn't have a great filling ratio or as tender an interior as the more traditional stuffed donut shells. Cinnamon sugar is a better match for the fritter, and the winning Market Bistro glaze will totally elevate the Persian.

These eleven deep fried classics (plus one glazed Persian) will set you back a mere $8.98 and will probably fit nicely in two of the self-serve boxes. Just don't forget to use those protective plastic sheets to pluck your donuts from their racks.

Market Bistro has raised the bar for glazed donuts. That's a big deal. Well done.

Daniel B. is the proprietor of the FUSSYlittleBLOG.

More Best Dozen:
+ Park Side Eatery in Saratoga Springs
+ Bella Napoli in Troy

Find It

Market Bistro
873 New Loudon Road
Latham, NY 12110

Comments

I respect Daniel B's taste and discernment, and I love reading his food-related posts. But really - a review of donuts at the Price Chopper? Is this what the Albany food scene has come to? I'm waiting for the round up of chocolate chip cookies at Hannaford.

The best part about this series is the photo of twelve donuts on antique plates. I think you should print a series of postcards. Albany Donuts: A Retrospective. I'd rather a set of nice postcards than a box of Chopper donuts.

I have to agree with Jason. Based on Daniel's post, I stopped at PC and also grabbed a couple of glazed doughnuts (in East Greenbush, though). I was dizzy with excitement, thinking I had at last found a place close by to get a doughnut....pretty much whenever I wanted one! It didn't work out. My treat was starchy. The frosting was quite wet, the crackliness had all but disappeared. [sad face]

EG has a perfectly good store to get doughnuts: it's the Crisp Cannoli, you all have heard of it. But I rarely get there at the right time for one of their melt in your mouth doughnuts; they must sell out FAST.

I still love you, Daniel. But this time, you're dead wrong. It happens.

@Jason - Thank you. This series isn't about the Albany food scene. It's about donuts. Not just the new and trendy donuts. Not just the old school Italian bakery donuts. It's about all the donuts.

And for better or worse, I'm going to eat all the donuts.

God help me.

AOA is going to need to find someone else if they want a survey of Capital Region chocolate chip cookies. I love AOA, but there's only so much my body can take.

I still love you too maggs, and I'm sorry to hear about the wet and starchy donut in East Geenbush. I suspect the Price Chopper donuts are like their bagels and bialys, with significant variation store to store.

This is what happens when food is made by human hands. And for the most part, I'm okay with it (especially when weighed against the alternatives).

Hopefully you can make it out to Latham and get one of the yeasty crackling glazed from Market Bistro.

Hey Jason. Since you were wondering, the chocolate chip cookies at Hannaford are awesome. Glad I could be of help.

I'm concerned that Daniel is undertaking this quest alone. Out of benevolence and concern I offer my assistance in future doughnut eating.

Dan, loved the cider donut tour (which, to me, cemented your donut expertise) and I'm glad to hear the MB has a great glazed. Hard to beat a traditional glazed sometimes. I'll have to grab one on my way to work sometime.

There are three area doughnut shops in the capital region, plus some great doughnut places that have limited quantities of delicious hand made doughnuts. why is no one writing about these shops? Who gives a hoot about Stewart's fake doughnuts? I can't believe a whole blog was given to Stewart's or Shop Rite when there are places like Duncans Dairy Bar (best glazed doughnut), Schuyler Bakery (best door knocker), Cider Belly (best French toast doughnut), Nibble (best bacon maple doughnut) etc... All of these REAL doughnut shops have far superior, hand crafted doughnuts. Your series is called the best dozen, yet you are writing about Supermarket donuts and convenient store donuts. Do you realize these donuts are produced in a factory, are loaded with sugar, salt and preservatives, and are then frozen and reheated heated in stores? Why not spend time on doughnuts that are made here not in a factory somewhere. At least you included Bella Napoli and Parkside. So the series isn't a total waste. Next time, if you are going to write about d
The Best, perhaps you should go to places that actually serve the best doughnuts.

as a person who has hand made the donuts at a chopper i can assure you they arent made in a factory

@Jenn: Thank you for the feedback. This is a multi-part series that is visiting a range of different outlets -- and many of the shops you mention will be included, we just haven't gotten to them, yet. (Also worth noting: we've written about these places in the past, as well.)

As for why we're including places such as the supermarkets: Sure, maybe they're not the best bet for a great donut. But you don't really know that until you try them. And given this is intended to be a general survey of donuts available in this area, leaving them out would seem incomplete.

And about the name… "The Best Dozen" refers to two things:
+ What is the best dozen donuts to get at each place.
+ When this whole series is over, Daniel is going to be pick his favorite individual dozen donuts from all the places.

The "best" in this case isn't meant to imply that each one of these outlets is necessarily the best place get donuts. Maybe we should make that more clear.

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