DK’s Donuts

DK’s Donuts and Bakery – Santa Monica, CA

DK has been a local favorite for many years now. One of my first visits was on a beautiful summer day (which in Southern California is about 250 days out of the year) after a night out in Santa Monica. One of DK’s main appeals is its 24 hours service. There is nothing not to love about a 24 hour joint, especially when they serve hot donuts all day and night. We walked about a mile so by the time we got there we were ready to grub and get all of those calories back. It’s a small family owned shop with a very homey feel. Plastic seated benches in tacky colors are a staple to any good donut shop. My gold standard when comparing any new place is evaluating the chocolate glazed donut. DK’s did not disappoint. They not only have very solid classic options like glazed, chocolate glazed, and buttermilk but it will always have a special place in my heart because it was here that I had my first cronut experience.

To clarify, NY pastry chef Dominique Ansel has a trademark on the term “cronut” so technically DK’s version is known as the “o-nut.” Whatever they call it, my first experience with this masterpiece was nothing short of magical.

Original
Original

(Shout out to my friend and fellow fat a** Rubin of Psych Connection for helping orchestrate this beautiful visit and photo)

As you can see, the original was simply airy perfection. We called in and gave them our order of a few different flavors and they had them made fresh for us, so when we got there we were met with warm, soft, flaky wonderment. Everything that you would imagine it to be, it is. DK also offers a number of different o-nut flavor variations as well. The flavored versions involve cutting the o-nut in half and adding a cream filling and topping. Each is also finished with a touch of cinnamon sugar.

The Spread
The Spread
Strawberry, Blueberry, Passion fruit, Nutella, Boston Cream, Original (clockwise)
Strawberry, Blueberry, Passion fruit, Nutella, Boston Cream, Original (clockwise from top left)

I personally was not a fan of the cream filling (tnwss). I thought there was a little too much going on in there and much rather preferred the simplicity of the original.

Since these first few visits, DK has gained a lot of popularity and upped its social media presences tenfold. They are now selling paraphernalia of all sorts including t-shirts and bumper stickers and have one of my favorite instagram accounts to follow (@dksdonuts). They have also introduced a number of new flavors of the o-nut and have additionally developed the “wow-nut,” a waffle-donut hybrid. A lot of these flavors are very unique (taro, guava, other tropical and chocolate sorts) but the options are overwhelming and quite honestly rather exhausting. I am much more of the less is more camp and would recommend the simple original over any of these any day.

That being said, I still frequent DK whenever I’m back home in the area and opt for their humble, more traditional options. With a lot of the hype came a lot of over-saturation and many new excessive unnecessary options, but at its core DK is still a simple donut shop that has the capacity to produce a great, intelligible donut (and o-nut).

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Fried and Frozen: the Perfect Treat

There’s nothing quite like learning that not only can you have a doughnut for dessert, but that you can have that same doughnut with delicious ice cream in the form of a doughnut ice cream sandwich. This is the delicacy that now awaits diners on the dessert menu at Umami Burger.

Our location of choice was the Santa Monica Umami. For the uninitiated to Umami Santa Monica, you’re in the right place when you see a door with a big red burger bun on the front door. Yes, it says “Fred Segal” below it — and no, there is no “Umami Burger” sign outside — but you’re in the right place. Head on inside and grab a seat and prepare for a tasty treat.

Umami Store Front
Umami Store Front
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior

The four of us decided to try every kind of doughnut ice cream sandwich combination we could! That evening they had two sugary delights for us; a maple donut with vanilla bacon ice cream and an apple fritter doughnut with vanilla ice cream. In order for each of us each to sample the doughnuts, we had them cut into quarters (and what tempting little quarters they were!).

Maple / Vanilla Bacon (bottom left) & Apple Fritter / Vanilla (top right)
Maple / Vanilla Bacon (bottom left) & Apple Fritter / Vanilla (top right)
Maple / Vanilla Bacon
Maple / Vanilla Bacon
Apple Fritter / Vanilla
Apple Fritter / Vanilla

The maple doughnut with vanilla bacon ice cream was extremely flavorful. The doughnut wasn’t quite as light and fluffy as we had anticipated, but the slightly firmer pastry paired well with the firm ice cream. The apple fritter variation turned out simple and just as scrumptious. I don’t see any reason why either doughnut ice cream sandwich couldn’t be had for breakfast in place of a regular doughnut…it’s basically a donut and ‘milk’, right?

Wanting more, we rounded out our dessert discovery adventure by going back to the basics: ice cream sandwiches. Specifically, The Chocolate: chocolate chip cookie with chocolate ice cream. Compared to the doughnut bites, the cookie ice cream sandwich was plain — unoriginal next to its doughnut cousin.

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip / Chocolate
Chocolate, Chocolate Chip / Chocolate

So next time you find yourself looking for a sweet treat in Santa Monica, why not swing by Umami and grab a doughnut ice cream sandwich? You won’t be disappointed.

For Chasing Doughnuts, this has been a special guest post by Rachel Corell, Veronica Fuog, Michael Kirkpatrick, and Emily Teitelbaum.

Veronica, Michael, Emily, Rachel
Veronica, Michael, Emily, Rachel

Special thanks to my ‘nut lovers for their scouting and contribution to Chasing Doughnuts!

Check out MEK Studios and A Whispered Wish for more cool stuff.