Renee Erickson’s new Capitol Hill place is a treat, but get there early.
Part of chef Renee Erickson’s new triptych on Capitol Hill, General Porpoise is already as popular as you would expect from one of Seattle’s favorite restaurateurs. They make one thing — filled doughnuts — but they make them very well.
“Many, many cultures have a version of a filled doughnut,” explained pastry chef Clare Gordon, who heads up the kitchen at General Porpoise. “From bombolone in Italy to packzi in Poland and everywhere in between. Ours are modeled after the English version specifically, with their tradition of jam making.”
The menu: The doughnuts are a constant, but the fillings vary, with roughly five varieties available daily. Expect more fruit and jam fillings in the summer months.
Doughnuts and coffee
1060 E. Union St., Seattle
Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. daily
Etc: major credit cards accepted; no obstacles to access; on-street parking
What to write home about: The doughnuts, of course, but particularly the texture and flavor of the dough, which is somehow both denser and more light-feeling than the usual. The exterior has a pleasing, toothsome quality — short of a crunch, but sturdier than what you’re used to. Inside, it is fluffy and delightful.
The lemon-curd filling has the perfect tartness to offset the sweetness of the doughnut and its sugar coating. The vanilla custard and cherry jam are delicious, too.
What to skip: Any hope of getting doughnuts later in the day, at least for the time being. Even with a reported output of “many hundreds every day,” two separate visits, one at 11 a.m. and another at 1 p.m., found the case empty. “We are currently hiring and training a larger team to increase production,” explained Gordon. “We’re limited in how much we can produce in a day, but we’re working on long-term solutions to supply Seattle with a gloriously unlimited number of doughnuts. Until then, visiting early is the safest bet!”
The setting: Like all Erickson establishments, General Porpoise has a bright, spacious feel, with a few cafe tables along the wall at street level and a few more on a mezzanine.
Summing up: Five doughnuts and an americano came out to $26.71, including tax and the automatic service charge included at all of Erickson’s restaurants.