A man, far greater than me, once said: “Donuts… is there anything they can’t do?” (It was Homer Simpson, in case you didn’t know. But you knew. You knew.) I staunchly agree with this quote and frankly base my life around it. Now perhaps donuts can’t actually stop a runaway monorail, like one did directly preceding the uttering of the above quote… but they are undeniably delicious. Few other sweet treats come in as many extravagant varieties (save maybe for the exception of the holiest of holies – ice cream).
Even in Los Angeles, where surviving on nothing but celery and glutton-free water is a point of pride, donut shops abound. The problem is most of them are nothing special. They’re generic. But fear not because I have put my body in great health peril to examine some of the finest LA donut dispensaries, just to help you find the most delicious of decadent delights.
Featured on countless TV shows, the Donut Man has ruled the Glendora area for nearly a half century. That’s like… a long time. One of the secrets to their success is that they use potato flour instead of regular flour (thank you Food Network), which does give it a slightly unique flavor and texture – but not so far gone that it’s no longer a donut. They also, like all other’s on this list, don’t stop at the usual stuff – they go outside the box – and one of their most famous donuts is the fresh strawberry stuffed donut. It’s pretty self-explanatory folks. They split a hole-less donut like a taco and cram it full of fresh strawberries, only when in-season.
So should you go there? Well, it’s way out in Glendora, which is quite far from main-land LA and honestly, it’s good but all the national hype is too much to live up to. But if donuts stuffed with whatever-fruit-is-in-season is your thing, they’ve got it.
Ok, hear me out. Yes, the fonut shop is all about a “healthier” donut experience. They have many gluten-free and vegan options. That said, I dived head-first into virtually all their many flavors and 90% do not taste healthy, if you know what I mean. I would recommend steering clear of the salted caramel, maple bacon, and cinnamon sugar – they are just too dense and bread-like. Everything else is sugar, cakey bliss. Though I must admit, the one that stuck out to me most was a more subtle flavor – rosemary olive oil. It was kinda like if a cake had a baby with a corn bread (but still more cake-like) with just enough sweetness to not overpower the flavors.
The downside here – they’re a tad expensive. But it’s Beverly Hills, what did you expect. If you go for a more outrageous flavor, it’s worth the price.
Lastly, we visit the humble SK Donuts – not but a few blocks from Fonuts. They’re tucked away in an unassuming outlet mall. Blink and you’ll miss it. Hell, they don’t even have a website. But none of that matters, because they can walk the walk. The big draw here – they have cronuts! Yes, they’ve replicated the NYC-originated croissant donut fad, only you don’t have to wait in line at 7 in the morning to get one (yes, that’s true – I’ve done it). Now having they original cronut in New York, I have to say SK’s aren’t quite up to that level… but they’re a delicious attempt. The real gem of SK is much simpler. A plain old blueberry donut. Heavenly. And since they sell out a lot, they’re always making a fresh, warm batch.
It’s cheap (cronuts are a little more). They people working there are nice as can be. This is the closest I’ve come to LA donut heaven. Next destination – ice cream heaven (if I don’t have a stroke and end up in actual heaven first).