April 18, 2013 | by Jonathan Howard
Bacon, butterscotch and bourbon
Astro Doughnuts, dining, gay news, Washington Blade

Astro Doughnuts (Photo by Scott Suchman; courtesy Astro Doughnuts)

The long awaited opening of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (1308 G Street N.W.) arrived last week.

Astro Doughnuts had been operating over the past few months as a catering and pop-up establishment but now it has a permanent home. This establishment was co-founded by Elliot Spaisman and Jeff Halpern, the first native Washingtonians to play for the Washington Capitals. They brought on gay pastry chef Jason Gehring to help them deliver fun interpretations of two well-known comfort foods. Gehring will be serving up a rotating array of gourmet doughnuts as well as his family’s fried chicken recipe. I had the pleasure of asking Gehring some questions, as well as bringing some of Astro’s doughnuts to work to share with some of my employees. Both were enjoyable.

Gehring enrolled in culinary school with the intention of becoming an executive chef specializing in savory food, however, a few weeks into culinary school they started doing pasty, and when he made a beautiful vanilla chiffon cake he knew he had found his calling. He immediately switched over to the baking and pastry program. Some of Gehring’s favorite dessert flavors are “salty with sweet and sometimes a little smokiness,” and his favorite doughnuts on the menu are the Lemon Passion Fruit and the Crème Brulee. I had the passion fruit doughnut and thought that the simple sweet and tart flavors were delightful; it was even enjoyable the next day after a few seconds in the microwave. One of my co-workers enjoyed the creative presentation of the crème brulee doughnut and she loved the “delicious ‘surprise’ when she hit the cream filled center.”

Gehring has a simple philosophy behind all the food he serves: to make people happy. There is a look people get when they bite into something that is truly delicious,” Gehring says. “This glimmer of ecstasy is what I want everyone to experience when they eat my food.”

A majority of the feedback regarding Gehring’s creations was positive, and my employees enjoyed these special sugar filled treats. Several enjoyed the Maple Bacon Doughnut (which was one of Gehring’s challenges when opening Astro because he kept eating the bacon before it made it onto the doughnut).

Others popular are the vanilla bourbon glaze doughnut and the pecan with butterscotch glaze.

With about 30 varieties on the menu now, there’s always a reason to go to Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, and that is just with the doughnuts; add in the fried chicken varieties and there is a reason to be there daily. And it seems that the Metro Center area is happy to line up, even in the rain, to try Gehring’s treats since there was a line out the door as I turned around with my boxes of doughnuts, and man did I get angry eyes from customers who must have been afraid that I had taken the last of their favorite doughnut. I am personally going back Thursday when Gehring’s take on a certain black and white cookie is available.

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