Breakfast | Dynamo Donuts, San Francisco

Before you sit & read through all the detail, all you really need to know is that today I ate the {single most delicious donut I have ever eaten in my life} (credits at the end).  The surprise was that it wasn’t the donut that I expected to win the prize, but you will have to read on to find out which one did.

It was another one of those weird moments in life.  I was in a hospital room in New York City watching the little white puffs of cloud skip across the blue sky when 3 unexpected visitors showed up at my bedside.  Unexpected because I was 3000 miles from home in Seattle, and I have no family in the US.  Anyway, there I was languishing in a ridiculously clever & absurdly comfortable bed (it was rather like a transformer in that with the poke of a button here & the push of a knob there it would contort into all manner of shapes that didn’t resemble any kind of bed I had ever seen before) when the 3 guys rolled up to see me.  Turns out that a friend in Seattle had called some friends in Manhattan, and let them know that I was there, so they came round to cheer me up.  They didn’t know me from a bar of soap, but they came anyway.  How cool is that?!  For the next 2 hours we hung out, exchanged life histories, told stories, and shared what we knew of our next adventures.  For me, the next adventure (once I’d escaped the magic bed in Lennox Hill Hospital) was a trip to San Francisco in just a few days.

“Well”, said Mike.  “If you are going to San Francisco, then you have to go to Dynamo Donuts & have their Bacon Maple Donut”.

So that was that.  I was still in New York & already I had the Best Donut on the menu for my trip to San Francisco, and from someone I had only known about 60 minutes.  Weird.  Coincidence?  Nah, I don’t believe in those.  Clearly I was meant to eat Dynamo Donuts’ Bacon Maple Donut.

Dynamo Donuts is in the Mission District of San Francisco, in the bottom right hand corner where all those freeways converge & right by the San Francisco General Hospital.  It’s not the most salubrious of areas & I admit I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to park too far away.  I could see I would be dodging a fair few street folks & since it was ridiculously early in the morning, there weren’t a lot of other people around.  I managed to get a free (hurrah!) parking spot outside the hospital, which left me a block & a half to walk to the famed donut emporium.

Dynamo Donuts has a serving hatch that opens right onto the street so you don’t even have to go inside to get the goodies.  And most people don’t.  They just zoom right up, grab their coffee & donuts and zoom off down the street again.  I, however, didn’t want to zoom.  I wanted to sit & sip on a hot chocolate & nibble my way through a donut or two (or three, as it turns out) before my day really got going.

Hot chocolate at Dynamo Donuts

So, standing on the sidewalk, peering into the hatch & having decided that 3 donuts seemed to constitute a breakfast-sized portion, I asked “If I eat 3 donuts will I die?”  “Oh no”, came the response.  “3 is perfect”.  My server was adorable.  He reminded me of Jack on Will & Grace.  He was unbelievably bubbly at such an early hour & was by far the friendliest person I had met in San Francisco.  So I told him that along with my hot chocolate, I had to have a Maple Glazed Bacon Donut (because Mike said so), I wanted to try a Caramel Sel (because Salted Caramel is one of my favorite flavors) & then for the third I said “Surprise me”.

After conferring with his donut-and-coffee-serving comrade for several minutes of serious deliberation, they settled upon a very pretty looking donut.  I didn’t even ask what it was.  I love surprises.  Then I went and sat out on the back patio & spent the next 45 minutes just contemplating life & eating donuts.  Is it possible to have a better start to one’s day?

The Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donut

I was a teeny bit disappointed with the Maple Bacon Donut.  Not because it wasn’t delicious (it totally was delicious) but because I had set my expectations SO high for this donut that it would have been impossible *not* to have been a little let down.  I think had it still been warm it would have been utterly divine.  The texture was fantastic, it had that adorable little white stripe around the middle, it was a perfect balance of sweet & savory.  And these are not your “cakey” donuts.  They are light, airy mouthfuls of yumminess.  And there’s no palate-cling to these babies.

The Caramel Sel Donut

The Caramel Sel Donut was my least favorite.  It was denser than the others, almost like it had proofed too long & collapsed…it even looked a little collapsed.  It still had that magic white line around the middle though, so there was enough air in it when it hit the hot oil.  It was also extremely sweet…a bit more salt would have made it a bigger hit with my mouth.  Having said all that, it was still better than just about every other donut I have ever had in America.

 And now, here it is:  the single most delicious donut I have ever eaten in my life.

The Apricot Cardamom Donut

I don’t think I even have the words to describe this donut.  If I never eat another donut in my life I can die happy in the knowledge that I ate the best.  In fact, I am so inspired by this donut I am going to honor it by creating an Apricot Cardamom Ice Cream.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

If you are ever in San Francisco, near San Francisco or even just passing by down the I5, please swing by Dynamo Donuts & eat donuts.  They deserve your patronage and your mouth deserves their donuts.  You also deserve to be served by the friendliest servers in San Francisco, in a city where “warm & fuzzy” can only be referring to a sweater; never an attitude or a person.

America, the donut bar has been raised.

San Francisco, the friendliness bar has been raised.

Mike, my taste-buds are indebted to you.

Dynamo Donuts & Coffee on Urbanspoon

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Foodie Favorites of 2010 » Foodie Footnotes - [...] Dynamo Donuts (San Francisco):  Apricot Cardamom Donut [...]

Apricot Cardamom Muffins » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane - […] first rendezvous with this glorious donut-of-all-donuts came after a chance encounter with a stranger at Lennox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, long before Mr. Bailor came charging into my life with all this talk of eating more and exercising […]

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