LA: It’s About the Doughnuts

Doughnuts and LA go together about as well as candy bars and diet pills, at least that’s what I used to think. To me, LA conjures up images of beaches, bikinis, movie stars and Malibu Barbie. A recent trip to LA was anything but a suntanned and slender experience. We stayed inland, about an hour from the beach with my hubby’s family. Early mornings were spent in search of coffee, my hubby and me, while everyone else slept. Much to our surprise, it was the start of a 3-day doughnut fest.

 

Hometown Doughnuts.

Hometown Doughnuts.

At the neighborhood Starbucks, we looked longingly at scones, breads and croissants while waiting to order coffee. I’d fall off the healthy wagon for a freshly baked goody; make those calories earn their keep. Unfortunately,  this is not the place. I’ve witnessed banana bread slices shedding cellophane-sealed wrappers, before going on to the ceramic plates in the display case. Google led us to a four-star bakery about 5-minutes away. 85°C had lines of people out the door. A quick look and we learned it was an Asian pastry place with treats like green tea cake and macadamia tarts, beautiful but not breakfast-like.

 

Doughnut Oasis.

Doughnut Oasis.

A hundred yards across the packed parking lot, I spotted Sunrise Donuts. I’ve come to like doughnuts as my hometown turned me into a connoisseur of glazed and raised at Johnny’s. Grocery stores, Krispy Crème, Winchell’s or Dunkin’ Donuts can’t hold a candle to the local Artisan doughnut makers. Sunrise turned out to be just like home. We packed a pink box with a mixed dozen of wrapper-free, freshly made chocolate old-fashioned, chocolate frosted cake with rainbow sprinkles, apple fritters, maple bars, jelly filled and a glazed-raised that never made it out of the store. I ate mine on the spot and complimented the chef. He smiled wide. I bet he rarely sees his work in action. Mmmm. Traditional American doughnuts kicked off our 4th of July holiday,

 

Old Fashioned Style.

Old-Fashioned Style.

Our first morning experience was so delicious we repeated our coffee and doughnut adventure the next day too. We were not hanging with the skinny beach people, so who cares if we eat a doughnut instead of floating in one. We met the Mrs. at Sunrise Donuts on Saturday morning. She wasn’t as enthusiastic as her hubby—English was limited. We tried every way to ask, “What flavor is the pink one?” Finally I guessed, “Strawberry?” She smiled and repeated in perfect English, “strawberry.” Her hubby popped out from the kitchen as we were leaving.

 

“We made it back! It’s our last day. We leave tomorrow.” He did not recognize us. Surprising as I dressed in the exact same outfit and stood with the exact same husband and we are not exactly a typical American couple: Irish and Chinese descent. And we filled another pink box, two days in a row. “We LOVE your doughnuts!”

 

The wife offered, “Happy July 4th!”

 

Hubby’s family caught on to our addiction and suggested we try the king of doughnuts in all of LA for 40 years running. A man from Thailand called “Donut Man,” on Rte 66 is THE doughnut guy. The Food Network likes him too. We could be old LA nostalgic on Rte 66 and get our freshly made “fried bread” on the way home.

 

Donut Man does not look like this guy.

Donut Man does not look like this guy.

On day three of our doughnut fest, we visited Donut Man, open 6 AM to 6 AM, Monday through Sunday. Demand is that good. At 7:30 AM on a Sunday, LA is still sleeping so we stepped right up to the window. A veteran customer waiting for a box order spotted our lack of menu confidence. “Get the strawberry if this is your first time. The strawberries are REAL.” Whole, glazed strawberries fill a softball-sized, glazed-raised doughnut, split open like a treasure chest of rubies–all mine. An apple-crisp stuffed version suited my older son. Hubby and the youngest son went traditional, chocolate old-fashioned and jelly-filled. Our white box came with napkins and forks. Signature fruit-stuffed doughnuts cannot be eaten with hands.

 

Real Fruit Filling, for REAL.

Real Fruit Filling, for REAL.

Apple Crisp.

Apple Crisp.

As we hit the highway, we dug into our prize. As pretty and famous as the real fruit-filled doughnuts are reputed, we didn’t love them. We could taste the grease. Hubby says it’s because the grease is old and not hot enough. We must have been on the tail end of the doughnut making cycle. Or maybe our doughnut cravings were satiated. They were the best looking doughnuts of all time, prettier than the crazy flavors of Voo Doo Donuts in Oregon with their colorful Fruit Loop or puffy marshmallow clad confections. It was still worth the stop.

 

I like my new image of LA. Fitting a good-looking doughnut into my mouth is much easier than fitting a good-looking me into a bikini.

 

Note: Doughnuts are doughnuts in the dictionary and Donuts if you are Dunkin’ Donuts (saw it there first) or Donut Man or Sunrise Donuts.

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