Jeff Smith 7 a.m., March 30
It Doesn't Need A Hole To Be A Donut
IB. I'm Baack.
Lookin' for the fabled donuts of Imperial Beach.
Was here (Stardust Donut Shop, 698 Highway 75, Imperial Beach) yesterday about four. Too late.
So today I get here about 1.30. And yes! "OPEN" signs all over the place.
Ed Arnold and his brother Cliff are there inside, and maybe half the donut racks have the famous rings filling them. Of course it turns out I was wrong about cinnamon jelly donuts.
Cliff and Ed
"We have jelly twists, but not cinnamon jelly donuts," says Cliff.
"No-one has donuts like theirs," says Melissa, the girl in line in front of me.
Customer takes the long view
Allan and Jan come down from Coronado to IB to fill up on cheap gas and donuts
Melissa gets two chocolate donuts and two cinnamon rolls. "I've been to every other donut place in IB, and it just doesn't taste the same," she says.
"Everybody starts off with the same commercial donut dough mix," says Cliff, "but we add things like eggs and shortening."
Cliff cooks up a batch of buttermilk twists
I'm looking at the buttermilk twists.
"I thought you only sold donuts," I say to Cliff.
"It doesn't have to have a hole to be a donut," he says.
These guys should know. They have been making and selling them since 1967, and before that, their grandma Kitty Keen had been selling donuts downtown since, wow, 1929.
"During WW2, she had a place across from Convair, on Pacific Highway," Ed says. "At Convair's request she stayed open 24 hours throughout the war, for all those Rosie the Riveters. She ran three shifts."
So right now, he has glazed, chocolate, cinnamon, old fashioned, and buttermilk twists, all of them 89 cents. Hmm. People turning up behind...decision time.
I go for a glazed, and a cinnamon, and a coffee ($1.20).
My cinnamon roll and glazed donut
Ed asks if I want sugar and milk in my coffee, and when I say "sugar," he mixes it in himself.
The donuts? They are delicately crispy on the outside and melty tender inside. Can see what people are talking about. I'm no expert, but you sort of feel you're eating a legend here. A CARE package for Carla, I think.