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May 15, 2001 11:19 PM

Berkeley donut memories

  • c

In a wide-ranging donut discussion on the Outer Boroughs (NY) board, Melanie posted:

"Caitlin, I bet you're the girl who can help me remember the donut place on Berkeley's northside. We used to go there about 1am to get them hot out of the fryer when I was an undergrad."

Melanie, I've been racking my brain trying to remember a northside donut place, but I'm coming up empty. Was it on or right near Euclid? If it was on or around Euclid, I really should know, though! The only donut place I can think of near campus is King Pin on Durant, across from Top Dog, and they are most definitely open late at night (or were, years ago).

You reminded me of tales a friend of mine in high school told about ending late nights out at Dream Fluff on Ashby at College at 2 or 3 AM, when the night guy would be there cooking up the breakfast donuts; they'd knock on the door and pay him for a few fresh from the fryer (and I'm quite sure he pocketed the money).

My mom--who is not at all a donut eater, although she'd make homemade ones once in a long while when I was a kid (mmm!)--claims that the ones sold at a shop at the summit of Pike's Peak are amazing. I told her it must have been the altitude [g].

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  1. Sorry to put you through the mental gymnastics, Cousin Caitlin!

    Yes, I'm pretty sure it was near Euclid if not right on it. One of the girls on my floor would eat a dozen then do her bulemic thing in the bathroom. King Pin I know, since I was in the apt. building right across from the Durant Ave. Top Dog.

    Pike's Peak donuts --- Maybe the higher altitude makes them more fluffy?

    13 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Wasn't there a Colonial Donuts on the corner of Euclid and Hearst at one time? They had another branch somewhere in Oakland also. Dream Fluff was very good back in the old days....haven't been there in years. They did change ownership many years ago, tho. I read about a place called Johnny's Donuts in Lafayette on Mt. Diablo Blvd. - the article built it up pretty well - anybody vouch for them?

      1. re: gordon wing
        Jennifer Fish Wilson

        I've lived in Lafayette for 3 years and must have passed by Johnny's 100 times but never went in--how could a Lafayette strip mall have donuts worth the calories? Finally tried an old fashioned last week after reading column Gordon referred to--it was surprisingly good (although I'm not sure if it's worth a trip to Lafayette!) If you decide to try them, the shop is only a few minutes off 24 on Mt. Diablo--take the central Lafayette exit. They are inbetween a big fairly new Trader Joe's and a very decent small grocery store--Diablo Foods.

        1. re: Jennifer Fish Wilson

          thanks for the report on Johnny's donuts. I'll stop by and try it next time I'm out there. I've been to the Trader Joe's once before and couldn't believe how few folks were shopping there! The Emeryville Trader Joe's is always a zoo! Maybe I'll combine the two on my trip.

          1. re: gordon wing

            I had to see what all the fuss was about the Krispy Kreme donuts, so took a ride to Union City to try them. The place is gorgeous and so clean, fifties style decor. Lots of employees so if there is a long line don't worry you get waited on quickly. I highly recommend the raised donuts, I was not thrilled with the cake, but the raised donuts are just delicious. The are very clean tasting, not like old burnt oil, very fresh, airy...yum yum yum!

          2. re: Jennifer Fish Wilson

            I woke early this morning and decided to go out to Lafayette for a donut at Johnny's. Liked the glazed donut best - very light with a clean taste. Didn't have that crispy "bite" that is so good, though. The jelly donut has rasberry filling and was pretty good. The chocolate old fashion was OK -

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          This doesn't really belong on this board, but...

          The donuts on top of Pike's Peak aren't really all that (or at least they weren't a few years back when I was last there). It's true that they make them frequently and they're relatively fresh, but they're not, in my mind, spectacular examples of homemade donuts. The cafe up there is a monopoly-- the only place for a very long ways around to eat anything. Plus, they cater mostly to tourists. The cafe is really too far away from anything to attract regular customers. So quality isn't really all that important to them. If you've been walking around for a while on the top of a freezing cold mountain suffering from mild oxygen deprivation, anything hot and fresh is going to taste good.

          There used to be a donut place enroute (from Colorado Springs) in one of the small towns near the mountain pass that was very good. I think it was called the Donut Mill. At 4 pm they used to sell bags of day-olds that were really only hours old, and they were still yummy the next morning. Cheap, too. But it's been a long time since I was there.

          1. re: Beth P.
            Caitlin McGrath

            Like I said, I think it was the altitude. Even more so because she used to go to run the Pike's Peak Marathon. They'd go to the top and jog around the parking lot to get acclimated. After you've been *running* at 13,000+ feet, I imagine a fresh, hot donut of any caliber would taste heavenly...

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              I went to Dream Fluff a couple of years ago and wasn't very impressed. I also don't know what the big deal is with Bob's Donuts in SF--didn't taste any diff from the usual chain fare. BUT awesome donuts can be had, at Larkspur's Donut Alley. Beautiful fresh donuts, not too sweet and not greasy. Alas, they're only open 6 a.m. til they run out, which is between 10:30 and 11 .am.

              1. re: Dixie Day

                Dixie, thanks for this contribution to Bay Area donut fans. I'll check it out soon. I've added a link to an earlier discussion on this topic.

                Bob's raised glazed donuts are so fluffy but with a chewy toothsomeness at the same time, not the airy puffballs of KK. On the otherhand, I don't think the old fashions there are up to snuff, not crunchy enough. Obviously made from scratch and not from de-natured mix.


                1. re: Dixie Day
                  Brandon Nelson

                  Tanya adores Donut Alley!

                  Sadly the 1 or two times we were going to stop there we got sidetracked. I'll have to make a run to check it out!


                  1. re: Dixie Day

                    Dixie, I had the chance to check out Donut Alley this morning and those are very good donuts. The French cruller is the best I've had in recent years - good egginess and not too wet. This was quite a find for me because this seems to be a lost art. The chocolate old-fashioned is also terrific, ranks high on the crunch-o-meter. I still prefer Flakey Cream in Healdsburg for this one, but only because of some secret spice they put in the glaze there. The donut holes were only fair. Just doesn't match the slow-rise yeastiness of Bob's in SF.

                    This was a double header today, because I had the chance to stop across the street and pick up a delicious savory torta from Emporio Rulli for my lunch today. Yum!

              2. re: Melanie Wong
                Caitlin McGrath

                Gordon's post put the glimmer of an image in my head, and I do vaguely remember the donut shop on the corner of Euclid and Hearst. Wasn't Colonial Donuts in Oakland on Telegraph a bit north of 40th St.? I seem to remember it from when my dad lived near there for a while when I was a kid.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I went to cal in the 80s. That donut place has been gone for nearly 10 years...