We’ve been on a matcha/green tea kick lately so when we heard of the Jasmine Green Tea Chiffon Doughtnut at BESFREN we had to try it. BESFREN is located on 5th Ave. in Koreatown right by the Empire State Building. It is a cute space with all their fabulous desserts on display, housing about five small tables. If you haven’t been to BESFREN before it may be safer to look for the Cafe & Ginseng sign since the company, Korean Red Ginseng, renovated their location to collaborate with BESFREN just last year. In fact, the other side of the cafe still sells red ginseng extracts and powders. Once you see Cafe & Ginseng you know you’re in the right place and you’ll soon see BESFREN’s rabbit logo.
If you’ve been keeping up with us or follow us on Instagram, then you already know how much we love doughnuts. I have to take this chance to link back to some of our old posts on Dough, Dun-Well, and Montclair Bread Co. so you can see how our artisanal doughnut hunt has gone so far. When looking up doughnut shops in Austin, I saw that Voodoo Doughnut had opened only two weeks prior in the Sixth Street District. I have been wanting to try their crazy looking doughnuts so this trip was the perfect opportunity! Since it is relatively new, the lines can get a little long but we got there early in the morning and beat the rush.
We absolutely love today’s feature with the amazing baker, Vickie Liu. We can’t get enough of her creative, adorable, and often funny cookies amongst other treats! She gives cookies such personality and her Instagram filled with cookie characters and shapes is sure to keep you looking and “wowing” for hours! We talked to her to find out more about how she found her baking talent as well as how she creates epic baked goods and a picture perfect Instagram feed.
: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in baking.
: Baking has been an interest of mine since high school, but back then I just made (un-appetizing looking) cupcakes for friends or family when I had the chance! After graduating university from courses I wasn’t passionate about and no full time job – I decided not to do my Masters in Architecture, and instead rekindled my love for baking and have been addicted ever since.
I’m currently working a part time job unrelated to my field of study, and baking part time. This includes taking custom orders, working with small businesses and brands, collaborating with other creatives, guest blogging and a little bit of styling.
Today we’re featuring the fun and bright illustrations of Ann Shen! We have actually been familiar with Ann’s work for awhile since we always come across her illustrations in different places online. We love how her designs have an aesthetic that makes it easy to recognize her work and we’re so excited to get the chance to learn more about her. From selling her pieces on Etsy and doing freelance projects, to working on her very first book (that will be released next fall!), Ann is one busy creative! Luckily she took the time to answer some of our questions and show us how much she really loves what she does. Read on to brighten up your Friday by seeing her illustrations!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: Hi! I’m Ann and I’m an illustrator, letterer, and graphic designer based in Los Angeles.
Lately, Tara and I have been on an artisanal doughnut kick. Like a serious one in which we hunt out the best, most unique doughnuts everywhere! After trying great doughnuts from Dough, Dun-Well Doughnuts, and Nibble Inc. (in Troy, NY) we headed to Montclair, NJ to try the fun doughnuts from Montclair Bread Company.
If you’re looking for some delicious doughnuts don’t look any further than Dun-Well doughnuts just off the Montrose L Train stop in Brooklyn. If you’re looking for vegan doughnuts also look no further than Dun-Well. Yes, you read that right. Dun-Well’s doughnuts are completely vegan and are more than comparable to a traditional doughnut.
Recently Cailin and I stopped by City Kitchen, a food market in Times Square for breakfast. I’m not sure if it is a generational thing, but almost everyone I know never makes time in the morning to eat breakfast at home. In turn, we are grabbing things to eat on the way to work or wherever we are headed. On Sundays, Cai and I always stop at a Dunkin Donuts on the way to church to snag a coffee and doughnut, which is literally the only thing we have time to eat before the service starts. We’re guilty of setting the alarm to the latest possible time to look half way decent before stepping out the door and running to catch public transport. Shoutout to all you fellow night owls!
We wanted to switch it up a little one morning and get a different doughnut, haha ok so not that different, but it’s New York City; there are like ten different doughnut shops I want to try. However, we didn’t have much time to get to a different part of the city so we were stuck in Times Square. Luckily we remembered that City Kitchen was up and running and that Dough is one of their vendors. I got the Lemon Poppy Doughnut and Cailin got the Cafe Au Lait. Both were delish as usual!
We’re super late to the game, but we hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Cailin and I used the day as an excuse to treat each other to basically anything either of us wanted to do. Cailin chose to go to A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which we will cover in another post coming up this week! We planned on going to the show on Valentine’s Day, but missed the rush tickets so we opted to extend Valentine’s Day to Sunday and Cailin treated me to breakfast at Dough and dinner at Umami Burger, which you’ll also be able to check out in an upcoming post. This post alone will make you hungry enough, haha!
We went to the Flatiron location of Dough which originally started in Brooklyn. It’s a small space with only one large table for seating, so you may have to stand around stalking out a seat for a little while if you plan on eating there. All the doughnuts looked absolutely delicious, so it was really hard to choose, but I ended up deciding on the Hibiscus and Dulce de Leche flavors. Cailin got a Nutella filled donut and their Chocolate Raspberry flavor. The Hibiscus and Raspberry flavors came in heart shapes to celebrate the holiday! How adorable is that?!
They were so delicious. The Hibiscus was really fruity and sweet tasting. I don’t know how to describe the flavor exactly as I’ve never had anything like it (it gets some of its flavor from actual hibiscus flowers), but if you’ve ever had any fruity flavors on doughnuts before, you’re sure to like this one. The Dulce de Leche was all the caramelly creamy goodness I thought it’d be and the toasted almonds added a great crunch.
Cailin loved her Nutella filled doughnut as it was the closet thing she’s going to get to the Nutella filled beignets we had in Nice, France. She just wished it was a little larger, since the size is much smaller in comparison to the non-filled doughnuts. Cailin is a lover of all things chocolate raspberry so she undoubtably loved that the raspberry flavor really held its own against the chocolate.
In addition to the innovative flavors what I liked most was how crispy the dough was on the outside and how light and fluffy it was on the inside. The crisp was similar in taste and texture to actual fried dough. YUM! They also aren’t stingy with the amount of glaze they put on, so you never have a bite that isn’t as good as the next. We can’t wait to try some more flavors on our next visit.