Filling up on Fat Tuesday

Inspired by a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition to eat a doughnut on Fastchnaut Day, known elsewhere as Lent, Sarah DeSantis and Aasimah Navlakhi scoured Syracuse in search of the perfect treat.

1) Nino’s Italian Bakery

Beginning the trip on Lodi Street in the Northside, Sarah and Aasimah stopped at Nino’s Italian Bakery. The woman at the counter said they had ceased making donuts a few years back, but that many people that day were asking for cannoli and sfogliatelle. Sarah and Aasimah opted for both, only to find that neither were their ideal Fastchnaut Day food.

Cannoli with chocolate, vanilla and almond filling:

Sarah: This is like chocolate pudding, but it’s just very heavy and I don’t think I would be able to at an entire cannoli at once.

Aasimah: Of the many things I’ve put in my mouth, this is definitely the worst. This is not cannoli, this is worse. It tastes of raisins, to me. It tastes like raisins, and it’s sweet and it’s disgusting.


Aasimah: It’s like sweet cotton in a pastry, but it’s not good. Giving this up for Lint wouldn’t be difficult at all.

Sarah: This is interesting because it looks flaky on the outside but it’s actually doughy on the inside. I don’t think this is a Lent food either because it’s not decadent enough.  

2)  Biscotti’s

The next stop for the taste-testing duo was Biscotti’s Cafe and Gelateria, located on Salina Street in the Northside. While Biscotti’s also didn’t offer doughnuts, Sarah and Aasimah scored some sweet indulgences, including a heavenly piece of blueberry cheesecake and a lobster tail pastry.

Lobster tail:

Aasimah: It’s surprising because you don’t expect it to be crunchy, but it is and it's kind of salty, it’s a mixture of sweet and salt and the cream gives it a really nice “pop.” But, I don’t feel that I would feel guilty after eating one of these, so I don’t think it’s Fat Tuesday food. It’s good, though.

Sarah: It’s very airy. And it has this distinct cheese flavor. I don’t know if I would buy this again, because I don’t really like the taste of cooked pastry. But I love this cream on top. It’s delicious. But definitely not a Fat Tuesday food.

Blueberry Cheesecake:

Aasimah: It has a really nice texture because it’s creamy and the spoon went through it really well. I couldn’t give this up for Lent. It’s creamy, it’s thick, it’s not too sweet, and--the blueberry’s okay, but the main part of the cheesecake is awesome. It’s good, definitely worthy of Fat Tuesday.

Sarah: Wow. If I combine every positive aspect of every piece of cheesecake I have ever eaten in my life--and that is a lot of cheesecake--I would use all of those adjectives to describe this. It’s not a traditional Lent food, but since so many people give it up for Lent it’s enough of a calorie splurge to make it worthy of Fat Tuesday.

3) Starbucks

After stopping at three other coffee shops in search of doughnuts, Aasimah and Sarah found themselves in Armory Square, and sampled Starbucks' selection of mini doughnuts to see if they might be the perfect Fat Tuesday treat.

Miniature doughnut in birthday cake and chocolate fudge:

Aasimah: This doughnut has been sitting in Starbucks for days. If my birthday tasted anything like this I would kill myself.

Sarah: Yeah, the doughnut really doesn’t match the icing.

Aasimah: It’s like a hall of mirrors--it looks real and promising but ultimately it’s only a dirty trick.

Sarah: I’ve had a lot of really good prepackaged doughnuts in my life, like Tastycakes, but these don’t even live up to that standard for me.

4) Dunkin’ Donuts

Finally, reluctant to return to Newhouse with no delicious doughnuts in tow, Aasimah and Sarah made a last-ditch stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Marshall Street. They selected three doughnuts from the dozen or so available, and discovered the most fitting solution to their Fastchnaut Day problems.

Glazed, chocolate heart and vanilla heart doughnuts:

Aasimah (Chocolate): This tastes like a traditional doughnut. It’s perfectly average.  

Sarah (Mystery): Yeah, this is about what I expected. I think doughnuts are actually better after they’ve been sitting out for a while. I would, however, not recommend the heart-shaped doughnuts because when you break the doughnut’s outer-wall, the filling just oozes.   

With queasy stomachs and a stack of half-eaten goodies, Aasimah and Sarah concluded their Fastnaught Day search with one inarguable fact: The best way to fulfill your Lent resolution is to give in fully to Fat Tuesday. Eat as many carb-loaded pastries from everywhere possible and--trust them--you’ll never look at sugar the same again. At least, not till tomorrow.


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