From top left: Sticky bun, maple apple bacon, vanilla bean, cornmeal cherry rosemary
However you spell it, donuts or doughnuts, fried dough is delicious. In the past couple years I have become more appreciative (and more discriminating) of these fried treats. The Doughnut Plant in New York elevated my expectations for what doughnuts can be - serving up divine flavors like coconut custard and dulce de leche. In Hawaii, Leonard's introduced us to the portuguese version of fried dough, malasadas, with exotic fillings like passionfruit and guava.
I have been searching for a comparable doughnut out in California. Stan's doughnuts doesn't offer any fancy, gourmet flavors, but they make one of the best glazed doughnuts I've ever had -warm from the fryer. Still I had heard great things about Dynamo Donuts in San Francisco and wanted to give them a try before declaring the winner.
Dynamo Donuts was created by Sara Spearin, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, who wanted to bring her love of a well crafted donut to SF. These doughnuts are made with premium, organic, local, and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. And at $3 a pop they better be. The prices didn't seem to stop the yuppies and hipsters from forming a line at 9:30am on a Saturday morning. As I took my place in line (what does that make me?) I could smell the sweet dough hitting the oil. The menu is updated daily with offerings like lemon thyme and chocolate star anise. AJ and I ordered up a maple glaze bacon apple, cornmeal cherry rosemary, vanilla bean, and a sticky bun.
I took a bite of each doughnut before I declared the cornmeal cherry rosemary the winner. The cornmeal gave this yeasty donut some amazing texture, while the hints of orange zest and tart cherries paired well with the floral rosemary and honey glaze. Hello flavor! My only complaint (besides the hole in my wallet) was the temperature. These donuts were cool and would have been amazing warm. AJ declared the maple glazed bacon apple his favorite. I loved the maple glaze paired with the salty bacon, but I could've used more apple pieces.
The vanilla bean was rather tasty too - with flecks of vanilla bean swimming in the glaze and lovely lemon zest in the dough. The sticky bun was just that a sticky bun. I was hoping for some kind of fusiony doughnut - a doughnut that tastes like a sticky bun. Regardless of my expectations it was delicious with wide swirls of cinnamon and a caramel glaze. It didn't stand up to Flour bakery's version, but it was still tasty.
My final impression of Dynamo Donuts is that they have some amazing flavor combos and some great coffee that will top most donut shops in the Bay Area. But for $3 I'm not sure I would head here too often, when I can get a hot glazed donut for $0.80 at Stan's.