If you were wondering what I have been doing the past few months, the title of this post covers a lot of ground towards the answer. In addition to visiting a slew of mostly newly-opened, but also older, donut shops in Los Angeles, I’ve also moved jobs twice which has compromised my commitment to blogging.
Donuts have a special place in my heart, even though I am not a true sweet tooth, but more of a savory tooth. When I was a child, on Saturdays my mom used to drive a mile or so down Montana Avenue in Santa Monica to Carl’s Bakery, a small bakery that carried very basic donuts. My donut of choice was the glazed twist. Occasionally I would get a chocolate glazed, raised donut instead. We were not cake donut eaters, we stuck with the yeasted, raised donuts. So donuts signaled a departure from the normal daily breakfast which usually, at our house, involved either pancakes, french toast, waffles, date bread, biscuits, sometimes some bacon, and occasionally cold cereal with milk. Fruit may have been offered, but I don’t remember much beyond orange juice. Clearly, not bad, but still donuts were better!
As I got older I developed a fondness for Trader Joe’s bran muffins and into my later teens I was drinking smoothies and shakes for breakfast, with some fruit. I spent one summer trying very hard to slim down before college by drinking Herbalife shakes (my mom tried them too) until my father, after watching a late night exposé on the company that revealed in his opinion some nefarious practices and possibly quackery, purged our cupboards of all the shakes and supplements and that was the end of that adventure. But back to donuts.
These days our donut tradition is on Christmas Day. Nearly everything is closed, but Stan’s Donuts in Westwood, CA, home to the UCLA campus, is not. And so we go. Some years my beautiful (and . . . vegan!) neice Katy is in town and she accompanies us. Stan has been making donuts for forever, and he’s 86 and still shows up to work every day. What’s neat about Stan’s is he’s named various donuts after local icons, for example, the late Huell Howser donut is a VERY thickly peanut butter stuffed chocolate bar and the Bruin is glazed cake donut covered in blue and yellow sprinkles.
First let’s take a look at Stan’s and some other classic, iconic Los Angeles donut shops and their creations:
Now on to some newer donut emporiums:
The best new donut shop in LA in my opinion is Blue Star Donuts. They use brioche dough and fry in rice bran oil. Yum.
We met the “Duke of Donuts” on opening day at Sidecar Donuts in Santa Monica. He explained that his mission in life is to eat and report on donuts. I said, “what about biscuits,” and he said, ” . . . eh, peasant food.”
I’d love to hear from you and your donut opinions. Are you a cake donut gal? Raised? Apple fritter? What are some of your favorite donut shops where you live? Have you ever made donuts at home? Any tips or cautions?
Have a very happy holiday season, y’all!!