During the spring and summer, I occasionally set out on my daily bike ride earlier in the day so I can beat the heat. But as fall and winter weather begins to set in, I have begun to again find myself waiting until later in the day when it has warmed up a little. On today’s ride, however, I took advantage of this week’s unseasonable warm weather and went out for what may end up being one of my last early rides of the year. Today Julius and I got an early start, and along the way stopped for breakfast at District Doughnut, located on Barracks Row, at 749 8th Street (MAP), in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
The origins of District Doughnut began with a couple of locals named Juan Pablo Segura and Greg Menna who became friends in middle school, in part based on a shared love for doughnuts. After graduating from high school, the two temporarily parted ways when Greg left to study philosophy at the College of William & Mary, and Juan Pablo went to the University of Notre Dame to major in accounting. Then after graduating from college their careers brought them back to D.C.
After their return, Juan Pablo met a chef named Christine Schaefer, a graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute’s Le Cordon Bleu Program, where she received a degree in Patisserie and Baking. And after trying her brown butter doughnut, Juan Pablo knew he’d found something special. So as Christine expanded and perfected her collection of doughnut recipes, Juan Pablo recruited his old friend Greg to manage the operations of the young company. And with the three of them working together, District Doughnut came to be.
In addition to the original Brown Butter signature doughnut, the menu includes an ever-changing and diverse variety of flavors. From staples like the Vanilla Bean Glazed and Salted Dulce de Leche yeast doughnuts, to cake doughnuts like Cookies and Cream and Apple Cider, I don’t think there’s a bad one on the menu. And I’ve tried quite a few of them. Of course, so may good options makes the decision of what to order that much more difficult. So you may want to take a look at their online menu and decide before you get there so you don’t hold up the line. Or just go, and choose whatever strikes your fancy. A couple of my favorites are the Key Lime Pie doughnut, and the Snickerdoodle cake doughnut. And for those of you who enjoy pumpkin, as do I, their seasonal Pumpkin Crème Brûlée and Pumpkin Spice are as good as any I’ve ever tasted.
But for the best selection, or to ensure they will still have what you’ve already set your heart on, you can use their online ordering portal. Otherwise, you will want to get there early because their doughnuts are so popular that on many days they sell out of one or more menu items.
Epilogue: Today was actually a “do-over” for yesterday. I rode to District Doughnut yesterday to check out their newest seasonal doughnuts. But I it wasn’t until after I got there and had begun to place my order that I realized I had forgotten my wallet back at my office and had no money with me. The friendly young lady waiting on me, apparently perceiving the crushing disappointment in my eyes when I told her I had forgotten my wallet, treated me to a couple of delicious doughnut holes. While that was sufficient to tide me over yesterday, I had been thinking about the Pumpkin Crème Brûlée doughnut ever since. And today I wasn’t disappointed. As if the flavorful pumpkin spice dough and creamy pumpkin pie filling were not already enough, I was able to watch the young lady taking my order get out a blow torch and create a freshly- caramelized sugar coating that provided just the right touch of sweetness and crunch. I can’t say that it was better than the Key Lime Pie, which up until now has been my favorite. But I can’t say it was worse either. I guess there is now a tie for my favorite at District Doughnut.