Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Man and His Donuts

Driving from a suburb in the Valley with my my girlfriend all the way to Glendora for a donut sounds ridiculous. Doing it twice sounds like we’re a glutton for punishment. Gluttonous maybe, but looking for punishment hardly.

Along Route 66 in an area of Glendora that looks frozen in a 1950’s time warp is the “Donut Man.” On boards like Chow and Yelp it gets a lot of buzz for their fruit filled peach and strawberry donuts, more notably the strawberry, that only fry up seasonally. This limited availability has given the donut almost cult like status, sought out by many when this time of year rolls around once more, when the scent of sweet strawberries permeates the air.

On our first visit Jenn and I came only for the donut that based on reviews sounded like an apple growing on a tree in the Garden of Eden. This time however we were going to be in the area for the Renaissance Faire, so driving to the “Donut Man” sounded a bit less insane. We also tacked on a visit to a nearby breakfast place, “Flappy Jack’s Pancake House”, which I’ll get to posting about soon.

Returning felt like returning home. The business was still a small hut shaped structure with large glass windows displaying their doughy wares in metal trays. I detected no exterior fading, I saw the same donuts, and I was still greeted with smiles from the teens working the registers. The only change was the addition of the store being built next door, which according to the banner will be a gym. Perhaps they’re hoping to take advantage of those suffering from donut guilt.

At the window I ordered my usual strawberry donut for the both of us, but suddenly I found my eyes drawn to another heaped with what looked like white frosting and some sorta red drizzle.

“What’s that?” I asked. The cashier bent down to see where my hand was pointing. “It’s a plain donut topped with a premium cream cheese and given a raspberry drizzle. It’s my favorite.” It’s those last three words that got me. “I’ll take that as well” I said quickly.

Three dollars and some change later we were sitting in the car looking at the donuts. I tried the strawberry and it was still exactly the same. A sliced glazed stuffed with large strawberries given an additional strawberry jelly sheen. I had the same reaction I had one year earlier, it was good bordering on great. A greatness that I’m sure would be revealed only if the thing was hot. According to the staff hot donuts only show up around midnight, so keep that in mind if you prefer hot donuts.

Next I picked up the second, took a bite, and put it back. I hadn’t thought about what the man said when he described the donut. A “plain” donut with added cream cheese is basically just that. Sure the cream cheese was good for cream cheese, but I don’t really want to feel like I’m eating a tub of cream cheese. As for the raspberry I found its taste weak and the consistency off putting. It came off stringy and had a somewhat gummy texture. Jenn liked it more, likening the taste to a cheese danish. But we both were in agreement this is a donut not worth the drive.

Surprisingly all was not lost. Seeing the two donuts together gave me a brilliant idea to cut my losses. I took the cream cheese off the donut and started putting it on the strawberry. Suddenly the “good strawberry donut” was really starting to taste “great”. If I returned in the future I might bring my own premium cream cheese to smear on top of the strawberry. Maybe "Donut Man" should think about making their own cream cheese strawberry donut.

In the end the “Donut Man” for me is not really worth the drive and only worth a stop if you're in the area. Still, I can understand why for many this place gets raves. The place is friendly and small, and distant enough to feel like a donut quest. Sometimes the adventure in acquiring a much talked about food can turn anything from just good into greatness.
Donut Man
915 E Route 66
Glendora, CA 91740
(626) 335-9111

1 comment:

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