Ever since I heard about the epic donuts from The Donut Vault, I've been jonesing for one. The stories of long lines and blink-and-you-miss-it inventory made them even more appealing. We had been downtown with the girls on a couple of Saturdays, but by the time we got our act together, all that was left were taunting crumbs on the Twitter feed: "Sold out. Thanks everyone. See you next week."
But I was bound and determined, so a couple of weeks ago, we got up early, bundled up, put the girls in a taxi and found the line snaking around the corner from Franklin to Kinzie in the shadow of the mammoth Merchandise Mart. There were kids and a dog and a beautiful wrought iron fire escape stair, but not enough to keep Mia and Nora amused and happy for what looked like an hour wait.
"There's a McDonald's across the street!" I say, just loud enough to bruise the tender sensibilities of the hungry hipsters standing behind us.
The girls and I leave stalwart Hubby stomping his cold feet on the pavement and run across the street to grab some oatmeal, etc. at the Mart food court. Revived by the warm calories and wowed by the ceramic gown we saw in a fancy tile store window, we return to find Randy within hoping distance of the donut door!
"What if just before we got in, the people right before us got the last donuts?" asks Mia.
"Pick me up! Pick me up!" demands Nora.
We shuffle into the tiny white tent protecting the front door from the cold winter wind and it feels like a victory. Almost there!
The closet sized space has a vaulted ceiling and chandelier, a water pitcher and cups for thirsty pilgrims and heat.
The girl behind the counter barks questions, fills dollar coffee cups and makes change in a blur of efficiency. She is hemmed into her tiny space by a rolling cart of stacked donut trays; today, there is chestnut, birthday cake, glazed and regular cake.
We step up to her in a glaze of glory (get it? get it?) and stumble over our well-practiced order, of course. Emerge with that plain cardboard box, an ink image of a single red (velvet?) donut stamped on the cover. Loaded with sugary goodness.
Were they delicious? Were the glazed light and airy and the cake chewy and substantial with a crazy wonderful sugar crust? What do you think?
Worth the wait? Sure. But for me, currently counting each calorie until our March trip to the Mexican beaches, it was the wait itself and the laughing and the thrill of victory that made worthwhile the sugar hangover.