The market has been saturated and competitive for decades, but new shops keep coming with offerings like a taro doughnut from Hawaii.
Holey Grail, a Hawaii-based business with two Los Angeles locations, sells taro doughnuts fried to order in coconut oil.Credit…Maggie Shannon for The New York Times
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.
By Tejal Rao
Tejal Rao reported from Los Angeles, where she lives.
The Donut Hole, in La Puente, doesn’t sell the very best doughnuts in the Los Angeles area, but I love going there. Driving through its absurd, gigantic fiberglass doughnut — a pristine example of mimetic architecture — is a brief, giddy and almost spiritual experience. It is half the joy of being there, and it gives the doughnuts a bit of an edge.
An edge, architectural or otherwise, is practically required in the unusually saturated, competitive doughnut market of Southern California.
A shop’s extra attraction might be the availability of lottery tickets or Vietnamese sandwiches alongside properly crunchy, darkly fried old-fashioneds, as at Pronto Donuts in Monterey Park. It might be a glamorous seasonal doughnut, like the strawberry-stuffed beasts you can find at the Donut Man, in Glendora, from February to September.
I am consistently pleased by the simple chocolate glazed at Colorado Donuts — though if I’m with my nephews, the chewy, pull-apart, rainbow-colored mochi doughnuts from Mochi Dochi are always the stronger choice.
Alone, I will happily drive 45 minutes out of the way to Oliboli, in Tustin, for the Meyer lemon-glazed doughnut, and the singular ham-and-cheese-filled doughnut with its finely bubbled surface and sweetly perfumed center, made from a dough raised slowly over 40 hours. If I’m anywhere near a Sidecar Doughnuts location, I have to go in and get one of whatever happens to be just out of the fryer, so recently garnished that the glaze is still wet to the touch.