It’s a big day here in America, for today, June 3rd, is National Donut Day. Truly a High Hole-y Day for those who celebrate. It’s such an important date on the calendar that even Dunkin’, who dropped Donuts from its name, has come groveling back on hands and knees to the donut, doing its best Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Secretary impression, hoping that we’ll all conveniently forget they turned their back on the sweet breakfast pastry. But we haven’t forget and we never will, Dunkin’.
But for those of us who have remained steadfast in our love for the donut see it for what it truly is, coffee’s best and dearest of friends, its ride-or-die sidekick, a dynamic duo whose sum is greater than its parts. The donut is, without question, the greatest coffee sweetener on the face of the planet. You take a bite of donut before sipping your coffee, and it adds a pleasant sweetness to cut through the bitter. You take a sip of coffee before having a bite of donut, and the coffee helps tamp down and bring into perfect harmony the sugary sweetness. They make each other better, and frankly, theirs is the sort of relationship we should all strive for.
So on this most important of days, National Donut Day, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite donuts from around the country. Be it a classic glazed at your favorite mom and pop or a fancy kitchen sink at your boutique donut emporium, we love them all.
Boxcar Coffee Roasters – Lemon Poppy Seed Lavender Donut
Boulder, Colorado’s Boxcar Coffee has been a specialty coffee institution and helped put Colorado coffee on the map over a decade ago. Turns out their donut game is just as strong. Behold the wonder of the lemon poppy seed donut, finished off with a lavender glaze and bits of lavender flower. Or, if you are looking for something a little different, Boxcar’s strawberry basil cream donut looks otherworldly.
The Donut Man – Strawberry Stuffed Donut
For many, the amount of sugar in a donut can be a bit too much. For those there is Los Angeles’s The Donut Man, who takes a classic donut and stuffs it full of fresh strawberries, adding that perfect bit of tart and sweet while not getting too sugary. The Donut Man also has a peached stuffed donut that I would do so many untoward things for just a single bite of.
Randy’s Donuts – The Classic Glazed
For everything one could—and indeed have—put on top of a donut, no combination too weird, there is a simple beauty to the classic glazed donut. It needs not adornment, it is unfucked-with perfection. And for many across California, Randy’s is the place for the simple joys of the glazed donut. What else really needs to be said?
Mikiko Mochi Donuts
You would be forgiven for not knowing what you want when visiting Portland’s Mikiko Mochi Donuts. Standing in line agog at all the many, many options is almost a rite of passage. All gluten- and dairy-free, options like the passionfruit (with passionfruit curd), horchata pudding, and ube and li hing, will certainly make it hard for you to choose just one. My advice? Get them all.
Doughnut Plant – Sourdough Donut
Remember at the beginning of the pandemic when everyone was growing their own sourdough starters and people were having trouble finding flour in stores because the whole world decided to make their own bread? It was a wonderful time for naturally levained bread, but the world of sourdough is not limited to just crusty loaves. The sourdough donut is truly a thing of beauty. Sweet, but with a hint of ferment, it is a personal favorite, and the Sourdoughut at New York City’s Doughnut Plant is hard to top. Coming in all sorts of flavors—vanilla, chocolate, even cacio e pepe!—the sourdough donut is truly a wonderful vehicle for flavor exploration.
Honorable Mention: Morningstar Donuts
No list of donuts within a coffee context is complete without at least a mention of Morningstar in Houston. Gone too soon, the cafe/donut shop from Greenway Coffee‘s David Buehrer was one of my favorite cafes in the entire country. It closed due to the pandemic, but I still think about it often. RIP Morningstar.