Our favorite dessert destination of 2017
Dan Matutina’s love for doughnuts can only be rivaled by Homer Simpson. Now who’s Dan Matutina, you may ask. Unless you’re immersed in the fields of digital art and brand development, Dan’s name may not be as familiar as Homer’s, but in the fast-growing global industry of animation and graphic design, he’s one of the most highly-respected and in-demand Filipinos. He’s done artwork for Google, the Washington Post, Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, Havaianas, Coke, Heineken, and most apt, the campaign for the launch of Pinterest in the Philippines. He’s brilliant. And he positively beams when he talks about his passion for doughnuts.
He impressed me right off the bat when we found common ground in our love for San Francisco’s Dynamo Donuts & Coffee. I was actually instantly reminded of my Bay Area favorite when I saw Poison’s line-up, and Dan proceeded to enthuse about his favorites there, as well as his top tire-shaped preferences in New York and London. We reminisced about the Filipinos’ almost salacious passion for doughnuts/donuts, however they’re spelled. Dan’s from Leyte, so he closely observed how every new doughnut brand eclipsed the previous one in popularity, as evidenced by the hand carried dozens for “pasalubongs” in flights to Tacloban: from Dunkin’ to GoNuts to Krispy Kreme to J.Co and in the future, perhaps, Poison?
Why not? “Doughnuts so good, they’re deadly” is an irresistible pitch. And indeed, they are. I consider myself a connoisseur, and Poison’s definitely are killer. No surprise there, because Dan found the perfect conspirators in developing his dream doughnut shop: Kristine Lotilla and Miko Aspiras, the pair behind the #1 cookie store in the country, Scout’s Honor, and the progressive French-Japanese pastries of Le Petit Soufflé. Together, this new trio bounced idea after genius idea off each other, until they were satisfied with their initial line up of 7 variants, each bursting with flavor, and overflowing with creativity.
The common sugar-sprinkled doughnut is elevated into an exotic creation, dusted with Garam Masala, the spice mixture from India. Their egg custard doughnut is filled with a luscious Brazo de Mercedes cream. The blueberry doughnut? Stuffed with tart lemon curd and a jam of with whole blueberries.
It’s funny though. There are seven variants, all unique and all exceptional, but the Poison take-home boxes are only made for six. It seems that Dan, Kristine, and Miko are also adept at sales strategies.
Oh, and the coffee is pretty damn good too. There’s a micro-creamy Flat White of course, made from Yardstick beans, using top-of-the-line La Marzocco espresso machines from Italy. The whole vibe is dramatic and almost, well, dangerous. The mood is all dark and purple and neon and the late great rock star Prince would have loved it here. Doughnuts and Art. Doughnuts as Art. It’s my kind of poison.