Honesty: I hated my neighborhood when we moved in. We came from the gentle hum of the West End of Vancouver, where the only night time atrocities were squirting skunks. We landed in a hood where my kid gets to practice her proper pronunciation of “police car” about every hour.
There is no grass so we dodge puddles of vibrant dog piss on the sidewalk. We are in the turf of what was once solely squatters and homelessness, and they are still there. They ask you everyday for help. It’s a juxtaposition of an old neighbourhood with some new rich neighbours, the lost and lonely mingling with the new and flavourful.
I have been trying to suck it up and not get all “trapped in a concrete box of tantrum” about where we lay our heads at night. You know what really really helps?
Doughnuts. Mother f-cking doughnuts. Gluten free doughnuts.
Cartem’s Donuterie spells them differently. They also make a gluten free doughnut that’s so spectacular they could call it a punchintheface-nut and I would be totally okay with that.
The shop is at the corner of E.Hastings & Carrall. A few blocks from our apartment. To get there, it’s not attractive. You will feel white guilt. If you’re from the ‘burbs, you will hold your purse flat across your front like a tourist. But there is no danger here. There is a lot to take in - the downtrodden and the yells and whispers and whistles.
What can a neighbourhood do when it’s been left for dead? Condos? Sure. Art? Absolutely. Well-meaning neighbours and societies to take good care of the people we usually ignore? Please.
But never doubt the presence of a good business, plump and proud, to put a little rouge on a scarred block. The businesses are clumping together. Multiplying. There are good things happening. We are living in an area that screams “Creativity and thoughtfulness, my God, you will be rewarded.”
So, yes, a doughnut shop. They make the gluten free ones first thing in the morning. (Check their site & Twitter for the ridiculous wheat-y variations. Bourbon & bacon? Hoo-rah.) They understand how celiacs work. That was made clear by a perusal of their site and a brief but informative chat with the gentleman (owner too, I believe) behind the counter. I took the educated risk. I know not all my love is found and created in a dedicated gluten free facility.
My risk was a reward in the form of a light, fluffy, crispy, chewy, citrus and sugar infused dandy of a doughnut. There is no picture because I ate it too fast. Walking back home, through the people and traffic and dander that hold that ‘hood together there was sun on my back, a doughnut in my mouth and it was a goddamn good day.