Sweets: Destination Donuts at the North Market

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From the January 17, 2013 edition

“I have loved donuts since I was a kid!” explained Heather Morris, her infectious energy sizzling out in grins, her fish and bird tats flashing from T-shirted arms. Morris was working the table of her pop-up donut shop — which currently brightens the north end of the North Market two weekends per month — and articulately fielding batteries of questions from a gathering crowd ogling her distinctive sweets and curious about her out-of-the-donut-sack set-up. Joining the swarm and checking out options like Thai Peanut (peanutty and peanut buttery) and Blueberry Sage (with evidence of genuine fruit) that recall Jeni’s Splendid more than that memorable Tom Waits description (“All the donuts around here have names like prostitutes”), I tossed back a Maple Sausage sample. Chewing through its pure and pronounced maple flavor, puffy yet dense texture and faint echo of sausage (Destination’s many savory accents are generally understated), I thought “Who is this dynamo?”

After earning a culinary degree from Columbus State, the C-bus native Morris landed prestigious gigs that included sous chef at Alana’s and in-house pastry chef for Limited Brands. Moving up through the corporate ranks brought about burnout and the need for a culinary-world break, which culminated in her present dayjob — coordinator for a private maintenance facility (translation: leaky ceilings are her). But, as Morris informed me, hand-crafting decadent pastries has always been her burning passion.

Long story short, Morris still ached to create the kind of love and art-filled donuts she recalled from childhood, but no longer tasted in too many modern day, mass-produced iterations. So after studying her butt off and graciously being allowed to shadow Sara Spearin of San Francisco’s pioneering Dynamo Donuts, Morris started her own, on-the-side (for now!) dream business selling scratch-made, locally sourced (when possible, of course) donuts whose widespread inspirations include cocktails.

Priced at $2 and $3 per, you can’t go wrong with any of Destination’s fresh selections — which come in either delightfully crispy (almost crunchy) “hole”-style, or extra-high-raised rings whose light icings are glaze-like. Along with those other aforementioned winners, I was especially fond of the deep and dark frosting-ed Strawberry Chocolate, the mildly spiced Pumpkin Pecan and the wholesome Duelling Vanillas.

Photo by Tim Johnson