Devon doughnut shop a Frickin' Delight, says food critic Twyla Campbell
'We were eager to explore, and oh, how we did — to the point of gluttony'
In July 2017, Mandy Woytkiw and her husband Cory opened Frickin' Delights Donuts, a vegan coffee shop in a nondescript bay in an out-of-the-way strip mall in Devon, a blue-collar town southwest of Edmonton that owes its existence to Leduc No. 1 — one of the world's largest oil discoveries that took place in 1947.
Of course, there's nothing that says "Alberta" like vegan food.
But Mandy Woytkiw is a powerhouse and I would have trouble believing her incapable of achieving her dream of making wholesome, flavourful plant-based food in a community she has called home for the past nine years.
Woytkiw, a former nurse, wasn't raised on a vegan diet but adopted it to contend with her husband's diabetes issues.
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You'd never know the food coming out of this kitchen at 102 - 3 Superior St. is free of anything animal.
A bowl of soup, a pasta salad and a sampling of doughnuts left me and my dining companion — a well-known carnivorous food blogger named Bacon-something-or-other — satiated to the point of groaning.
The maple-cayenne cornbread doughnuts, still warm from the oven, had much to do with the pleasure. Served alongside a hearty dill-pickle soup, the hefty circles were subtly peppered with hot flakes and licked with just enough maple flavouring to make it a sweet-and-savoury bready experience akin to a carnival corn dog — minus the dog, of course.
The dill-pickle soup was so thick, the spoon nearly stood on its own, and relishing that broth — plump with potatoes, carrots and tangy dills — was like wrapping oneself in a big comfy quilt.
But of course, it was the roster of six doughnuts — this week's offerings of mango cream, fudge sprinkles, hazelnut tea, blueberry, chocolate coconut, and bananas Foster — that we were eager to explore, and oh, how we did — to the point of gluttony. Not one disappointed.
The key ingredients to Woytkiw's deep-fried wonders are coconut milk and applesauce, which is why these vegan doughnuts are so rich, flavourful and not dry as is so often the case.
On this chilly Sunday afternoon, two more parties from Edmonton arrived in the hour we sat in this kitschy, cozy barnwood-accented room; both parties told Woytkiw they'd heard from friends that Frickin' Delights was worth the 25-kilometre drive.
You won't get any argument from me. Snow is in the weekend forecast … a dozen of those cornbread doughnuts should get me through till Monday.
I'm on my way.