This restaurant review is from 2011 and was originally published on "Hot, Fast, Dirty", a website I'd intended to be for 500-word-or-less reviews of independent and lesser-known fast food joints. HFD has long since been closed and I've gradually been migrating the content to this site. As with all my food writing, you'll be able to find this and other reviews on the Restaurant Review Index.
Every time I pass through the town of Kamloops another outcropping of buildings has sprung up along the highway like mushrooms after a rain storm. Mostly big-box stores and chain restaurants, they share other qualities with mushrooms as well: for example, local pulp mills mean that the areas in which they grow smell not unlike excrement and eating at the wrong one will twist your stomach into such knots that you will beg heaven for the sweet deliverance of death. Sadly for you, God does not hear prayers in the desert.
The Donut King in Kamloop's Sahali neighborhood isn't far from exit 369 (Columbia Street) off the Trans-Canada Highway and when I arrived there after a long day on the road I felt I had earned a treat. The look of the building isn't miles off that of Tim Hortons and, if I recall correctly, the building which houses this Donut King (there are 2 more in other parts of town) was once home to the Kingdom of the Rolled Rim. Inside, the comparisons were hard to ignore and I had to assume that the owners had chosen "Donut King" because "King Tim's" was a bit too obvious, as was the slightly more inflammatory "F*ck You, Horton".
|Somebody gonna get sued|
The selection was a good deal more varied than Tim Hortons, with butter & raisin tarts, small round cherry cheesecakes & three kinds of cream tarts (banana, lemon, blueberry). They had more standard offerings like cruller, longjohns, and a TimBit knock-off called DK-ee's, among other things. I went with a cherry cheesecake ($2.99), something called a "What Am I?" (90¢) which looked like a Boston Cream donut wearing a golf cap, some kind of vegetable wrap served with hoisin sauce and one Old Fashioned Glaze DK-ee (I'm on a diet, man).
|What the hell are you?|
The DK-ee was dry and unpleasant - like eating a mothball - but the "What Am I" and cherry cheesecake were both solid choices. "What Am I" had a cream filling of pleasant but indeterminate flavour which was, I suppose, the point and the cherry cheesecake - a New York-style cheesecake in a tart shell - was too rich to finish on my own but was enjoyable nonetheless. As for the vegetable wrap - I don't know what the hell it was doing there or, more to the point, what it was doing on my plate but it was good as far as these things go. Still, it was more out of place than Carrot Top at the Apollo Theatre.
Tim Hortons has, for some reason or another, become enmeshed with Canada's national identity. I don't think the empire of the Donut King poses a serious threat to that but with better coffee and donuts made fresh in house they're a nice alternative.