So sometimes I have short conversations with myself. Yesterday I was looking through my photos and I though to myself: "Wow, I have a lot of pictures of donuts."
My next thought was: "Yeah, no shit, you love donuts."
And let me tell you, I really do. I am 1000% on team yeast doughnut--cake donuts are ok, but they just do not compare to a perfectly risen, light and airy doughnut covered in a crackly glaze. Although I have not done a ton of work with yeast--and am a little scared by it--donuts are now on my list of desserts I need to make. So, sometime in the future, be on the lookout for that post. In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the pictures of delicious donuts I have eaten in the past few years.
The Donut Man is located in Glendora, CA--about 45 minutes from my house in Glendale. A couple weeks ago on national doughnut day I made the mistake of trying to go there to get donuts. Donut Man is kind of an institution, and I definitely was not the only one with that bright idea.
There must have been 200 people in line when I got there. By the time I got my donuts, that number had grown to about 250. In addition to my 45 minute drive, I waited almost an hour to get my donuts.
Plus, it turns out that they had lost power the night before and hadn't been able to make as many donuts as they needed to for national doughnut day. That means I have to give some props to this guy (and the other four or five guys not pictured)
These guys were just throwing down, making donuts as fast as they could. We basically had made to order donuts--as soon as a batch came out, it would sell out. The down side of this was that they did not have their full complement of donuts. In fact, when I was about halfway through the line, they made the sad announcement that they had run out of their signature doughnut--the fresh strawberry doughnut. If you are ever within 100 miles of this place and it is strawberry season, you MUST make the trip there for it.
Instead, I had to settle for some of their other doughnuts:
And by settle I mean immensely enjoy donuts straight from the fryer. Pictured above are two of their cream cheese donuts--one with raspberry and one with blueberries. The other one is their giant tiger tail--yeasted regular and chocolate dough intertwined before being fried and glazed. Even though I didn't get the donuts I wanted, these donuts were amazing.
The awesome and awful thing about Donut Friend is that it is about 10 minutes from my house. I am glad I have at least a tiny bit of willpower--otherwise, I would be here everyday.
Donut Friend is sort of a hipster-y take on the doughnut. Their big draw is their make your own donut--you can choose between cake, yeast, or a fritter. Then you have dozens of choices of fillings, glazes, and toppings.
Even though it is fun to make your own doughnut, I've learned to just stick to the pre-made combinations they have. They ALL work perfectly.
This first picture was from one of the first times I went to Donut Friend. I can't remember exactly what we got, but I believe it was a blueberry lemon and a strawberry basil. Judging by the picture, I believe the lemon blueberry also had some mint in it. The fresh herbs really add a lot.
This most recent time I went with my friend Hemly and we just went kind of crazy. I believe we got a blueberry cake (best cake doughnut I've ever had), a peanut butter and jelly, a strawberry, a S'Morressey (must have for any Chicano who loves the Smiths), a boston creme, and a coconut creme (amazing toasted coconut flavor).
It is a real toss up for me as to whether Donut Man or Donut Friend is better. At the end of the day, I think they are just slightly different but equally good. Donut Man is more traditional but perfected, while Donut Friend is out of left-field but incredibly well done.
Last year a few of my co-workers all went up to San Francisco for a Giants game. As I drove up on my own, I had a couple days to just hang out in San Francisco by myself. Therefore, I had to go out and find a good doughnut. I ended up landing on Doughnut Dolly in a tiny alley in Oakland.
Doughnut Dolly is sort of artisanal. They basically only do filled donuts and have a really small menu (four filling when I went). Each doughnut is hand-filled to order using these incredibly cool old-school machines. You can also choose a glaze/frosting on top of your filled doughnut.
I had one of each of their flavors when I went. They were all good, but the berry jam with lemon frosting really stood out as my favorite. Maybe that's just because I love jam. The great thing about these donuts was how absolutely light they were--almost as light as a krispy kreme straight out of the machine (but oh so much better tasting than krispy kreme).
Donuts in Chicago
On my Chicago trip last month (when I went to Roister), I got a chance to check out Stan's Doughnuts. Really solid donuts, but unfortunately not quite as good as my LA favorites.
My picture taking skills were really lacking, but that cinnamon sugar doughnut was incredible. We also got a regular glaze and a chocolate glaze, some kind of peanut butter doughnut, and I think a jelly filled doughnut.
Just to highlight how bad my picture taking was on that trip, I actually visited another doughnut place while in Chicago--Doughnut Vault. I'm really disappointed I did not get pictures because those donuts were incredible (blew Stan's donuts out of the water). In fact, I think they rivaled my favorite LA donuts. But in the blogging world, if there are no pictures, it didn't happen.
After I finished law school, I took one final road trip from Illinois to California. On the way, I stopped for a night in Boulder to revisit the town I had lived in for a month as an organizer. On my way out of town, I stopped at Dizzy's Donuts.
They had an incredible selection of donuts. My favorites were their maple bacon, the salted caramel, and the lemon meringue. Unfortunately, I just found out that they actually closed their doors last year. I'm glad I got to try them while they were still open.
Home Made Cronuts
Even though I have never tried my hand at real donuts, I actually made a facsimile of a cronut a few years ago. A friend and I used store bought puff pastry and store bought crescent dough, deep fried it, and, if I remember correctly, made a simple orange glaze for it (powdered sugar, milk orange zest, orange juice).
They were delicious and a great, quick dessert. However, you could tell that it was store bought dough. As I'm posting this I'm actually having visions of my homemade rough puff deep fried and glazed. Yeah, that's also going to happen soon.
So this only barely qualifies as a doughnut, but for my brother's birthday earlier in the year we ended up going to this place called Afters in Long Beach. Their specialty is called a Milky Bun, which is essentially a doughnut stuffed with ice cream. I went with the salted caramel ice cream in just a plain doughnut, and it was glorious. The doughnut was still warm, the ice cream was soft and creamy. It really worked.
So this is definitely not a doughnut, unless you count the fact that it is made from dough that is deep fried. But asI put Afters in here, I figured I'd throw in a little shout out to Churro Burough. They are this new-ish shop in LA specializing in churro ice cream sandwiches. They were absolute geniuses to come up with this idea and, if you're ever even close to their shop, I'd recommend you make the trek over.