On March 20th, my wife and I welcomed our first son, Noah. To say it’s been a life-changing event would be minimizing the impact he’s had on us. Suddenly, every movement we make is consumed with the second thought of how we need to incorporate our newborn in our plans.
After a couple of weeks of trying to figure out this whole gig of being parents, we figured the best thing we could ultimately do was just continue to live our lives the way we normally would, bringing our baby boy along for the ride. And, with the dawn of a new spring comes a new baseball season, and with it, new road trip opportunities for a couple of travel junkies. With a 4-day weekend over Easter, we took off for the nearest city whose Major League stadium we hadn’t checked out, which in this case was Washington, DC.
After a long Thursday drive, we crashed hard in the hopes of getting our Friday started at the ass-crack of dawn. Good Friday eliminated some of the legendarily awful downtown gridlock, and we navigated into the core for breakfast, joining a hungry lineup of locals outside of Astro Doughnuts and Chicken.
Doughnuts and chicken … together? Ludicrous on paper, but to dismiss it would be silly. When former Washington Capitals player Jeff Halpern hung up his skates, he decided to give into his other passion of food and open his own restaurant. Seeing the cupcake craze take over the country, Halpern saw a “hole”. Going back to his amateur days, he’d always been a fan of a post-game donut. Could gourmet donuts take off as well?
Given the myriad of donut options around the nation, it’s clear that he’d made the right choice. But the chicken? It’s no more complicated than simply being the second half to his favorite comfort foods; and hell, if chicken and waffles are a match made in heaven, then why the heck couldn’t this work too?
The breakfast options are limited to chicken sandwiches or donuts, but that was just fine with us. I happily asked for a chicken on one of their homemade biscuits, while Emily went a little more adventurous, getting a chicken, bacon, and egg sandwich served on a donut. Only in America!
The chicken breasts are quite large, and paired with a fluffy but heavy biscuit, I barely managed to get through my offering. I topped it with the hot sauce for extra flavor. It’s such a simplistic offering, but the breading was well-seasoned without being too salty – focusing more on a lot of savory flavors you’d typically associate with a nice roasted chicken, like thyme and rosemary. It was a lot of food, but sat really well, giving me enough energy to power through the Smithsonian National Zoo all morning.
My wife loved her sandwich. She said that donut was not overwhelmingly sweet, but contrasted well with the rest of the sandwich. It was light, and melted with each bite. The egg was fried, and cooked just right – leaving the yolk just at the point of still running through the sandwich as she ate it. She managed to get through about 2/3rds of her sandwich before tapping out like an over the hill ultimate fighter.
Of course, we couldn’t leave without bringing a couple of donuts to go, and later that afternoon, we indulged like savages.
First up, the strawberry rhubarb. Mad props to these guys; because they’ve successfully blended in that tart sourness you’d expect with any true rhubarb concoction. A sugary pie crust is sprinkled on the icing, giving it an extra dimension. The donut itself was light, airy, and gave me enough of a sugar jolt to put me into a coma.
Secondly, we had a cherry blossom. The attention to the artistry is impressive enough, given the volume of product they push – but they back it up in flavor. It’s filled with a sharp, unsweetened sticky cherry jam. This isn’t a daily menu item, but appears regularly – and quite frankly, it needs to be made a fixture, given that this may well have been the best donut I’ve ever had. A standing ovation to the baker.
Look, if you’re counting calories, this probably isn’t the place to start your day, because everything’s going straight from your lips to your hips. But for straight up, unapologetically flavorful food done right, this is a great place to hit up if you’re visiting the capital.