Federal Donuts in Philly
This past weekend, me, Dan, Can and Rich headed down to Philly for a no-reason adventure. I'd never been to the City of Brotherly Love before, but it's definitely one of my new favorite places. Not only is it a clean, friendly, nicely-sized town with lots to do and the feeling of historical significance wafting through the cobblestone streets, but we also ate A LOT of excellent food. Possibly the most notable was Federal Donuts... certainly it was the most notable donut shop/fried chicken joint (is that not the dream!?).
Candice and Rich are expert donut-eaters. The first time I met Rich, it was over donuts from Paula's up in Buffalo (also VERY MUCH worth visiting), and the two of them are known to spend their weekend on donut benders, starting at Nostrand Donut Shop, making their way to Dough, Peter Pan and Doughnut Plant. I've literally seen them buy 3 dozen donuts at once-- first dozen to eat now, second dozen to share with friends, third dozen for tomorrow. So, when we were thinking about what to do in Philly, the question was not "should we go to Federal Donuts?" but was "how many times will we go to Federal Donuts during those 36 hours?" (I could actually screenshot that exact email convo if you want proof.)
It was well worth it... blackberry walnut (cinnamon cake donut dipped in walnuts and doused in blackberry frosting), blueberry mascarpone (sweet, simple and summery), chocolate sea salt, s'mores, even the plain was perfect. The cold brew coffee was also pretty noteworthy, and the Korean-style fried chicken (which they serve at 11), is a great chaser to the sugar rush.
IF YOU GO: While we only visited the Rittenhouse Square location, I definitely think there is some strategy involved with visiting Federal Donuts. We got there at about 10:30. It wasn't too busy, but one of the special flavors of the day had already sold out. We could sit with some breathing room and hang out with our amazing donuts and awesome coffee.
Once 11AM rolled around, the place got standing-room-only packed; it's chicken time. I kind of expected a bell to ring or an announcement, but that never happened, so I recommend just hanging out and keeping an eye out for the first batch crispy legs coming out of the fryer. We tried one wet rub flavor and one dry rub flavor which were both great. Know that the chicken order comes with one plain donut, but they say that their "fancy flavors" usually sell out around the time chicken rolls around. The chicken sells out too pretty quickly, so balancing this 10AM - 11AM time slot seems to be the trick!