Recently, I stopped by Pittsboro, NC to get a new library card. Pittsboro is such a classic example of Mainstreet, USA that I felt it deserved a brief spotlight so I could share a few things I really enjoy there.
Pittsboro is located about 45 minutes west of Raleigh, not far from Jordan Lake. It’s not a large town, but there’s a nice collection of small, family owned businesses. If you’re in the market for reasonably priced antiques that make good hipster home décor (e.g. wire bird-cages, typewriters, rococo mirrors, etc.), then you should visit Pittsboro. I like Reclamation Home Furnishings and while I was there I nearly bought a set of bar glasses that had this fun fox pattern, but I’m trying really hard to not fill my house with too many “things,” books not withstanding…
The Phoenix Bakery is on the main drag (Hillsboro St.) in Pittsoboro, actually right across the street from Circle City Books & Music. The doughnuts are baked, not fried, but the dough tastes more akin to croissant than cake. They are chewy and snappy and usually filled with some delicious crème. They’re not completely glazed like a Krispy Kreme doughnut, so it’s not a sodden bite of corn syrup. There’s just the right amount of icing or ganache on top. The Phoenix Bakery has a lot of options as you can see below. There are also cupcakes and bread, and I believe they bake cakes for special occasions, but I’ve only tried the doughnuts so far.
…because there’s also an excellent used bookstore in Pittsboro, called Circle City Books & Music. This is a classic used bookstore. You walk in without any expectations and walk out with three or four books you had no idea you wanted to read until you saw them sitting there on the shelf. I love used book stores. They break you out of reading ruts and expand your sphere of influences. The last time I visited I picked up Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove and Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, two classics I've always wanted to read.
Books and hipster-ware aside, the thing I may like the most about Pittsboro is the doughnuts. My god, these doughnuts. I’m not even a real fan of doughnuts, but these are just so good that I’ll make an exception. If you are in the area, you must go to the Phoenix Bakery.
My favorite is the boston crème. The filling is not like the usual syrupy custard you usually find. Phoenix’s uses more of a whipped crème filling, so it is super light and fluffy. I bought this doughnut ($2.75, totally worth it) after checking out my library books. I wasn’t actually that hungry at the time, but I still wanted a taste. So I had two bites of this boston crème and was originally planning to throw the rest away. But then those two bites turned into half the doughnut. And then I couldn’t help it, I ate the rest. That may sound a little gluttonous, because as I said I really wasn’t that hungry, but the flavor and texture was so good that I just focused completely on it and enjoyed every bite. I finished it without any guilt because it was such a high quality pastry. Normally, I tend to engorge myself on food without really tasting it. This was the totally opposite, mindful experience.