Bay area pastry purveyor Psycho Donuts became the latest target of animal rights groups after it doled out free foie gras donuts on National Donut Day. Though the sale of foie gras was outlawed in California last year, free giveaways are not illegal – a tactical maneuver many restaurateurs throughout the state have creatively embraced. Psycho Donuts and its chef Ron Levi, surprised by the degree of outrage generated by the duck-liver-laden confectionery freebies, say they’ve been fielding a barrage of death threats.
Focus of the wrath is the Foie Bomb, a raised donut filled with buttery foie mousse, and impaled by a slender pipette filled with honey, fig, and balsamic gastrique. The Bomb is topped with a sage leaf, delicately fried to a crisp.
“Your taste buds are just gonna explode,” Chef Levi gushed prior to the Foie Bomb giveaway.
Despite all the recent anti-foie gras activism, at least 100 customers were in line when Psycho Donuts opened its doors at 6am on National Donut Day.
The donut day death threats were not the shop’s first encounter with outspoken dissent – its very name and unique branding has drawn fierce objections since opening several years ago. From their website:
“Psycho Donuts is the world’s first and only light-hearted asylum for wayward donuts and the patients who eat them…the Psycho Donuts experience includes an asylum-themed wait staff, a padded cell, and a stress-relieving square of bubble wrap for each customer…A trip to Psycho Donuts is a sensory experience, designed to bring out the crazy in all of us.”
An inventive menu draws a loyal following – donut choices include the Suicide Squeeze, the Cereal Killer, the Bipolar, and the Dead Elvis…”Cream filled, bananas, bacon, peanut butter and jelly… you’ll think you died on the throne!”
Or for something really different try the Buttermilf…”How does dis muddah go down? She’s like hot knife through buttah. Take one home and get your just desserts!”
Enjoy a rather unusual video tour of Psycho Donuts here.
A local CBS affiliate reported that the restaurant’s Facebook page absorbed the bulk of the indignation. Though violent comments have been scrubbed from the page, some comparatively innocuous ones remain:
“Nothing says trendy, progressive hipster like ramming a metal rod down a duck’s throat to enlarge an organ 600+ percent.”
“I guess you have to stoop to the shock promo campaigns like this foie gras ridiculousness. Wow. Animal cruelty is so edgy.”
“What’s next? Fried puppies?”
Chef Levi has not been fazed by the hate, and vows to continue breaking the donut mold, “We’ve picked up a lot of PR and press and honestly, it’s been good for business.”
Whether the shop’s concepts are right or wrong, some find it hard not to love a business that promotes Mother’s Day with the slogan:
Is your mom Psycho? You know where to bring her!