The Donut Mill
Ferrero Rocher with Nutella Whipped Cream
Located in the small town of Red Deer, and difficult to miss thanks to an enormous windmill between Calgary and Edmonton on a road affectionately known as Gasoline Alley, The Donut Mill was bookmarked as a noteworthy pit stop on the way south on Saturday, the homey diner stylings found inside precisely what one might expect while the baked goods speak of a kitchen that has been doing their thing for a long time.
Technically sporting an address of 123 Leva Avenue, the more common nomenclature based on the fact that there is not much else to be found in terms of fuel during a three hour drive often fraught with snow, Saturday afternoon found The Donut Mill approximately 1/3 full just past 2:30, the fried dough surprisingly still being replenished as I stood behind an indecisive man ordering two dozen, a panhandler apparently well known to the staff asking every patron for spare change at the door and even entering and approaching tables, something that the locals seem to find humorous while those unaccustomed are left feeling rather uncomfortable.
Selling staple diner foods from the kitchen, the majority of them either fried or sandwiched in order to be taken on the road, it should come as no surprise that the focus of the restaurant is prominently placed in clear view of the door as patrons enter, a total of twenty-eight options including the Fritter available that day with additional housebaked goods offered near the register.
Taking time to weigh the options, staff exceedingly friendly even by Canadian standards, it was with six choices boxed plus a warm Butter Tart in hand that a seat was selected near the doorway, the Donuts quickly unboxed and photographed as a group before teeth cracked through a buttery shell and crunchy topping into the soft Sugar Custard that was just barely set on the inside.
Known more for their raised Donuts than Cake, the selection pretty consistent saved for a monthly special and occasional seasonal inspirations at the Holidays, it was with the simple Rainbow Dip that an opinion was originally formed on Donut Mill’s base, a wispy Brioche that does not pick up much grease and thereby remains light whether filled or glazed, the Frosting pretty basic stuff with quite a bit of sweetness.
Allowing the Apple Fritter to leaven more than most, the texture almost like Monkey Bread as nuggets packed with Fruit and Cinnamon were plucked off without much resistance, filled choices ranged in quality from the Orange Creamsicle with an artificial Tang-reminiscent aftertaste to the elegant Maple Rolo that paired mild Caramel Cream to Maple Fondant, the Vanilla topped Oreo-fluff pocket eating far lighter than one would expect while the Monthly Special was based on Italy’s famous Ferrero Rocher with grated Hazelnuts on top and a center packed with Nutella Whipped Cream.