Downtown Los Angeles is full of history and good food.  Nickel Diner is popular amongst the urbanites as a breakfast spot, though they serve lunch and dinner as well.  Located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, and neighboring the Skid Row Housing Trust, the atmosphere can cause a bit off-putting.  Anyone not used to Los Angeles might a bit turned off by the transients and solicitors.  But come on – you are in Downtown. This is my city, and I love it.  The buildings a bit worn and the sign is ancient, but once you enter, it is a whole different story.  They offer burgers as well as breakfast items.  What they are known for, more so, are their bacon maple donuts.  Bacon on top of a maple donut, that is indigence upon indulgence.

It didn’t surprise me when I ate the bacon maple donut first.  More so a dessert item, I figured the bacon on it gave it enough of savory status to make it an appetizer.  Never having tried it before, it was a novelty.  The taste though worked.  Bacon with pancakes and syrup immediately came to mind. The sweet and savory really worked, though I would have liked the bacon to be crispy.  It was a great start to my Nickel Diner experience.

I heard much rave about their mac and cheese.  I am on the never ending hunt for the best mac and cheese in Los Angeles, so ordering was a must.  Theirs, named Smac and Cheese came with roasted tomatoes and bread crumbs on top.  The top layer was crispy and crunchy, and the inside was piping hot.  After a bit of cooling off, the cheese and noodle concoction was tasty. It wasn’t creamy really, but it was cheesy it its own way.

I ordered the Hangover Helper, and no, I did not have a hangover.  A play on the hamburger helper, this dish had everything you can ask for in one pile.  The pile included scrambled eggs, bacon, Italian sausage, potatoes,and was topped with pepper jack cheese, avocado, and salsa.  Yeah, that is a lot of stuff all on one plate — delicious too.  My favorite though, was the salsa.  Something about the salsa on top was addicting. It rounded out the meats and cheese very nicely.  Without that salsa, this dish would have been missing something.

My Nickel Diner experience was a pleasant one.  The food was on point, and the bacon maple donut was memorable.  It was nice to have breakfast in Downtown as there aren’t too many places to choose from.  Looking at the buildings and absorbing the history of Downtown Los Angeles was comforting. Locals living inside Downtown are lucky to have such a down to earth establishment inside the city.

A little spot on Diners Drivers and Dives. Here is the clip.

Nickel Diner on Urbanspoon


So a donut shop is a donut shop is a donut shop right?  Donuts from this mom and pop shop is the same as this other one.  Well, in this case, no.  First of all, what kind of donut shop opens only at 9PM?  Kind of sketchy right? On weekends, this Disneyland neighbor opens at 9PM, all the way through the morning till before noon.  What kind of donut shop is this?  Maybe it’s all a front and it actually is a secret CIA hub, or maybe some kind of crack dealing operation.  No, probably not.  Though, the crack dealing operation accusation is only half false.

So what are all these people in cars, and people standing around waiting for?  They all get one thing, the blueberry donut.  Yes, I am one of many who made it an event to wait over 2 hours for donuts.  Before you start to judge me, I would like to say that “everyone was doing it”.

It all started with a tip I got saying that the drive through window is faster.  All lies!  I waited and waited, I was basically stuck.  Not by any means of a disabled car or a road block, but all because of me and my stubbornness. 45 minutes in, I couldn’t leave.  I could have just left, cut my losses and be comfortable at home.  I am the type of person who finishes what I started.  In the end of it all, it was all worth it.

There is no way I am waiting this long and just getting 1 dozen.  I got 2 dozen and a croissant sandwich.  Yeah, random, I got a sandwich too.  I wanted to get more than just donuts.  This was nothing compared to the car behind us who ordered 5 dozen. Yes, if you are thinking crack, we are on the same page.

You get your donuts, in a pizza box of all things.  It is warm and straight right out of the fryer.  I took a bite, and all the stresses of waiting were gone.  It was so crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside.  The donut wasn’t overly sweet and the blueberry flavor was amazing. This tops all other donuts and is in a class of its own.  The best donut I ever had?  Maybe.  Even leftover days later were nice after a little trip to the toaster oven.  Amazing I tell you.  Amazing.

Some people might be turned off by the long lines and wait.  I agree, it’s idiotic and ridiculous to wait that long for donuts. But I promise, after the seemingly never ending wait, there is a glorious donut(s) with your name on it.

M & M Donuts on Urbanspoon


Donuts are without a doubt bad for you.  That is what your doctor would say.  Well, good thing I’m not your doctor.  I am telling you, right now, and you may quote me on this — “donuts are good for you.”  Nothing this delicious can be bad for you. Strawberries inside a donut?  You had me at strawberries.  With strawberries being one of my favorite fruits, and donuts being one of many of my guilty pleasures, I was surely in for a treat.

Think of the most delicious strawberries you ever ate.  Imagine that drenched in some of the sweetest and stickiest syrup you can think of.  Split open a perfectly glazed donut.  Stuff those gooey, whole fresh strawberries inside, and devour. That’s it.

The mistake was the creme puff. This was neither tasty not something texturally pleasing.  Though they offer so many flavors, pass on this.

I do hear that their tiger tails are good.  It is the twisty striped donuts.  And look out during peach season for the peach donuts. A definite must when I go back.

Donut Man serves  plenty of donuts, but their signature creation is the reason people drive there for.  Serving world famous donuts on the famous Route 66 is what they do.  Sadly, they are all the way in Glendora.  Have you ever been to Glendora?  I don’t mean Glendora near the freeway.  I’m talking about Glendora way north of the 210, and in between two of the farthest exits from the freeway. It is basically not as central as can be.  It is not on the way to anything, at all.  Why would I, or anyone else drive out of their way for any reason?  Donut Man.

The Donut Man on Urbanspoon

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Sparky’s – Donuts & Doughnuts

by Franklin on May 12, 2011

Sparky’s.  Sounds like a dog grooming salon or some kind of dog accessory store.  This place is far from that.   They sell donuts!  It’s not just a regular donut shop, it’s THE donut shop if you ever were to visit Universal Studios, and is located in Universal City Walk.  For all those who aren’t from Los Angeles, that is the shopping strip right outside of the theme park, which means you don’t have to be inside the park to get your hands on these.

I like to think there are 2 types of donuts.  The cakey kind and the doughy kind.  The cakey kind has the consistency of a crumb donut (cake-like), and the doughy kind has the chewiness of a Krispy Kreme donut.  The ones at Sparky’s interestingly are like a little bit of both.  They are cakey in texture, yet they melt in your mouth.

What if I were to tell you I can fit a whole donut in my mouth?  Impressive?  I think so.  Before I start sounding like a freak donut monster, I want to let you know that these donuts are tiny.  But these little things are so good.  You can’t eat these right after you get them either — they are hot right out of the fryer!  Do you know how hard it is to keep yourself from eating these tasty little things?  There I was with a bag full, and couldn’t eat a asingle one.

The sugar and cinnamon mixture sticks to the hot donuts, and each bite leaves a sugary mess all over your mouth.  To avoid this, I eat each mini donut in one bite — that’s how they should be eaten.  Who takes more than one bite to finish a mini donut anyways?

It is pretty cool how they make these things.  They have a little donut maker that does it all for them.  It squeezes out mini circular donuts into a vat of hot oil.  Then the little donuts flow through a conveyor and get flipped mechanically.  The clerk stuff these hot mini morsels into a bag, sprinkles a generous amount of cinnamon and sugar, and is ready to be destroyed.  Check the video below to see how the fresh donuts are made.

These things are amazing, and can be addicting. Though Sparky’s is a candy store, I only come here for the donuts.  I will probably get these every time I visit Universal City Walk. These are the best mini donuts, hands down!

Sparky’s Donut

Sparky's on Urbanspoon

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