Category Archives: Donuts

Great Cheap Eats in Los Angeles

Finally -- the elusive fresh strawberry donut at The Donut Man!

Finally — the elusive fresh strawberry donut at The Donut Man!


On a recent trip down to Los Angeles, I had a chance to try some new favorite eats. All satisfying. All affordable, too. The best kind, don’t you, think?

Donut Nirvana

I’d heard about it, seen pics online and salivated over it on the Food Network. But try as I might, I never seemed to be in Los Angeles at the right time of year to snag a fresh strawberry donut at The Donut Man in Glendora.

Until this trip.

Let me tell you, it was definitely worth the wait and lived up to all the hype.

Imagine a fresh brioche donut split in half, then stuffed to the gills with fresh, juicy whole strawberries that have been macerated in just a smidge of syrup.

What I love is that it’s not overly sweet at all, thanks to the fact that the donut, itself, is not glazed. As a result, the flavor of the berries shine through.

It’s sort of like strawberry shortcake. Only better.

Of course, after making the drive, you've got to get more than one donut. You've got to get a box-load.

Of course, after making the drive, you’ve got to get more than one donut. You’ve got to get a box-load.

A beloved institution for more than 40 years, The Donut Man is sort of in the middle of nowhere. It’s essentially a humble kiosk with a walk-up window in a parking lot shared by a martial arts school, of all things.

If you’re anywhere in the vicinity, do make the drive.

Now, if I can only make it back one later in the summer when the fresh peach donut is available. Yes, same as the strawberry one, but with fresh slices of yellow peaches instead. That’s definitely worth making a return trip.

Grand Central Market is Plenty Grand

Think the Ferry Building in San Francisco — but a version that keeps it a little more real.

That’s Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, a market arcade that originally opened in 1917, but was infused with new life two years ago.

Sure, there are upscale food vendors now such as Belcampo Meat Co., and Bombo, esteemed Chef Mark Peel’s seafood-centric cafe.

Inside Grand Central Market.

Inside Grand Central Market.

But there are also old-school, ethnic outposts such as China Cafe, which dishes up chop suey and egg fo yeung; Valeria’s, which offers a well-stocked Latin pantry of items, including fresh mole pastes to take home to cook with; and La Casa Verde, a large produce market with very down-to-earth prices.

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Four Places To Nosh in Los Angeles

Addictive Short Order spuds.

Addictive Short Order Spuds.


On vacation late last year in Los Angeles, my husband and I were all about spontaneity — meaning we dined without reservations or a specific game plan in mind. And yes, that made it feel like a real vacation, indeed.

Here are some of my favorite eats from that excursion:

Short Order

Often referred to in shorthand as “Nancy Silverton’s burger place,” Short Order was created by Silverton, who started an artisan bread revolution in Los Angeles before opening her now famous Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza with celeb Chef Mario Batali and restaurateur Joe Bastianich.

Silverton planned to open Short Order in 2011 with Amy Pressman, once her former assistant pastry chef when the two worked together at Spago. But tragically, Pressman died of cancer shortly before the restaurant opened.

Today, Executive Chef Christian Page carries out Pressman’s vision of a gourmet diner serving food with top-notch organic ingredients.

Located in the popular Farmers Market on W. 3rd Street, Short Order is tucked in a quieter back corner of the complex. It’s two stories with seating both inside and out around glassed-in fire-pit tables.

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Clear Skies with A Chance of Great Chicken at the New Fog City

Chef Bruce Hill cutting up a chicken cooked with his patented method at Fog City.

Chef Bruce Hill cutting up a chicken cooked with his patented method at Fog City.


Fog City Diner has a most storied past in San Francisco.

Long ago, the establishment nourished sailors before they shipped out to do battle in World War II. Then in 1985, Chef Cindy Pawlycn opened the doors there to what was then called Fog City Diner, serving up burgeoning California cuisine in the shiny Airstream-like restaurant.

A month ago, after an extensive remodel by owners Bill Higgins and Bill Upson, it reopened with veteran Chef Bruce Hill at the helm. It jettisoned the “diner” to become just Fog City.

The whimsical artwork on one wall.

The whimsical artwork on one wall.

With Hill’s vast experience as co-owner also of Bix, Picco, Pizzeria Pico and Zero Zero, it’s no surprise that the restaurant charged out of the gate with an impressive showing, as evidenced by the media dinner I was invited to there the week it opened. All around me, booths were crowded and seats at the bar filled with patrons enjoying specialty cocktails such as the gingery “Inside Job” (James E. Pepper Rye, Nocino, Orgeat, ginger shrub and lemon; $11).

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Three Sweet Treats in Los Angeles

Fonuts "Hawaiian'' donut (front) and "Banana Chocolate'' (back).

LOS ANGELES & VICINITY — During a quick weekend trip down to Southern California recently, my sweet tooth got a major workout at three stellar places.

First up, Fonuts, the donuts that are almost guilt-free. That’s because they’re not fried, but are baked or steamed. Moreover, many of them also are vegan or gluten-free.

Fonuts of Los Angeles is the creation of Waylynn Lucas, formerly pastry chef at  The Bazaar and Patina, both in Los Angeles; and voice actor Nancy Truman.

The donuts, about $3 each, have a moist, tender crumb and a texture akin to a tea cake or muffin.

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After Hours in the Bakery at Baker & Banker

"XXX Chocolate Cake'' -- one of the perks of dining after closing at a bakery.

For anyone with a sweet tooth like mine, it’s a fantasy come true to eat to your stomach’s content in a bakery after it’s closed for the night.

I wasn’t exactly let loose to scour the pantry, though. Instead, I was invited recently to dine as a guest of the restaurant with a few other food writers in what is essentially the private dining room at Baker & Banker in San Francisco.

The acclaimed restaurant in Pacific Heights, owned by husband-and-wife Pastry Chef Lori Baker and Chef Jeff Banker, also has an adjacent bakery. After closing each night, the bakery is available for private parties. It has to be a small one, though, as there’s enough room for only eight at the one table set up right by the bakery counter. There’s also a minimum of five diners required.

The 8-person table in the private dining room (in the bakery) at Baker & Banker.

A reminder that you're inside a bakery.

To get to it, you walk into the restaurant, head to the back, go through the small kitchen, and walk down a few stairs right into the heart of the bakery.

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