I don't know a lot about baking and I've never made donuts myself, but I'd say I'm a pretty good judge of a good donut. Let's be honest, it's not that hard to be. What is hard is to score higher on my personal donut meter than a Marvel's Market donut.
Let's Venture Back in Time a Little...
There may be a part of me that is biased towards things and experiences that remind me of simple days. Maybe I am biased by saying that Marvel's simple cinnamon sugar donuts are the best I'll ever have. Maybe it's because they remind me of mornings on summer break from grade school when I woke up to find an oil-spotted white paper bag on the kitchen table and I only had to think an hour ahead into my day.
But then I remember another reason why these donuts have had a lasting impact on me.
It's All in the Journey
I know it's a cheesy phrase and this story gets even cheesier so don't expect anything less. What I'm referring to is the journey the dough takes from the oil to the cinnamon sugar and then basically straight to my mouth. At Marvel's Market you can literally watch the donuts that you will eat being made. It's like a tiny delicious factory where you watch as a donut-shaped punch-out of the raw dough gets extruded from a funnel-shaped metal container, dropped into the tub of oil and lifted out at the perfect time on a conveyer belt. These hot, crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside dough circles are then dropped in a marvelous amount of cinnamon sugar and are set to wait patiently (don't worry it won't be long) until the next patron orders half a dozen, a dozen, or, let's be honest, two dozen of these couldn't-be-fresher masterpieces. Am I trying to sell you? Maybe a little. But, like I said, these are the best I'll ever have so I don't know any better.
Let's Talk About Friends, Baby
Growing up on an island is a small world. My graduating class from grade school was eight. Including me. That world gets even smaller since my dad lived on the same island for most of his life and knows everyone by one degree. Not only was my dad friends with Tony, the owner of Marvel's, but it was also a two-block walk away from my dad's art shop where I spent a large chunk of my time growing up. So it's safe to say, I saw many an oil-spotted white bag throughout my childhood years.
Long Beach Island, like so many other regions will be experiencing a hard summer season due to COVID-19. Most businesses on the island only open for these few months as the summer rental houses get booked and the beaches get busy so they rely heavily on the summer to make most of the profit for the year. I encourage the LBI community to keep up with any updates from Marvel's and other small businesses in the area by checking their social media/websites to see how you can make this hard time a little brighter. Like Tony said himself, "Marvel’s is more than just a place to buy a donut."
The Best I'll Ever Have
I understand that Marvel's is probably not the only bakery to see donuts being made fresh and in a town where there is a sense of community, but it is the only place where I can have my dad call up the owner to ask how he's doing, order half a dozen donuts and walk down the block to eat them on the beach after watching them be lovingly made and placed into my own little white bag.
Like I said, it's all in the dough.