I don’t know a single person that doesn’t like donuts. Whether you are a simple glazed donut girl, or a getting-fancy-with-your-toppings (I’d like the maple, bacon crunch please) boy, everyone can find something that they enjoy about the deep-fried sweet dough.
I set out one morning with the boyfriend to try to find the best donut in the South Bay (South of San Francisco). Our donut tour consisted of four places: Stan’s in Santa Clara (http://www.yelp.com/biz/stans-donut-shop-santa-clara), Psycho Donuts in Campbell (http://www.yelp.com/biz/psycho-donuts-campbell), Donut Wheel in Cupertino (http://www.yelp.com/biz/donut-wheel-cupertino) and Roger’s Deli in Mountain View (http://www.yelp.com/biz/rogers-deli-mountain-view).
We started at Stan’s because we’ve heard from friends that the lines would be long and they run out of their famous glazed donuts. When we got there, there was a line through the back of their class diner style restaurant. We heard grumblings of we’re out of this, but there were two guys at the front of the shop working away at making more fresh donuts so hope was not yet lost. When we got up to the front, we ordered a glazed. They were out. Oh No! This is why we came! Fortunately, it was only going to be a 20 minute wait before they were ready (yes, I was absolutely going to wait 20 minutes for one glazed donut! This is what food tours are about!). We sat down, drooled while they were freshly frying the next batch and then finally got our hands on one of the best donuts I’ve ever had.
Stan’s fresh glazed donut is like the first time you have something so good that it redefines your expectations of what something tastes like. I’ve had this experience a few times, most notably when having sushi in Japan, but this was a bit different. You grow up having donuts; you know what they are supposed to be like in your mind. Then you have this. It’s hot. It’s soft, but has a bit of chew on the outside. The glaze covers just enough to give you the sweetness that you crave, but doesn’t overpower you. It’s that good.
Sadly, we had this first. It ruined the rest. We went around to the three other places and collected some from each.
Psycho donuts has the novelty factor won, fair and square. Each of their donuts are clever and psychotic. With huge pieces of oreo or bacon/maple topping their donuts, you’re sure to find something off the wall that you’ll love. We stuck with the basics though for this trip: a banana glazed and a cruller.
Donut Wheel, located right beside the Apple campus in Cupterino, was a small traditional donut shop with a friendly owner who offered us milk or coffee with our order. I really liked the place for how unassuming and cozy it was. They turned out to be my second favorite, and had we not had such an amazing donut from Stan’s, would have been the winner for me. They were all light and tasty, with really good chocolate topping. The cake donuts weren’t too dense, which is what I found to be the case with Stan’s Banana Buttermilk one. They were just solid donuts that I would go back to any day.
After all of this, Roger’s Deli was nothing more than your run of the mill donut shop. They were good donuts, but nothing special. I wouldn’t wake up saying ‘Hey – let’s go get a Roger’s donut!’. They were still fresh and tasty, a good choice above any of the chain places around.