Vegan donuts on display
6171 Mission Gorge Road, San Diego
Six months after taking over the old Sunshine Donuts, Donut Panic still doesn’t have a proper sign. One was delivered, but it didn’t fit, so it had to go back to the manufacturer. Nevertheless, the Grantville donut shop has managed to foment underground popularity by way of vegan donuts.
Vegans often take their religious fundamentalism to extreme, championing any vegan food, no matter how inelegant or artless the preparation. But Donut Panic’s eggless, butter-free loops transcend being vegan for vegan’s sake, with a texture and flavor all their own. Neither better nor worse than conventional donuts, they have their own thing going on, and it works.
Maple bacon, Early Grey, raspberry filled (clockwise from right)
Potato flour plays a central role in the genesis of a vegan donut. It lends a gummy sweetness to the dough, reminiscent of potato bread, but with an almost custardy edge that hints at eggy French crullers. The starchy dough doesn’t always fry the way it should, and the donuts display occasional structural issues, but the overall effect is more lovely than anything else.
Flavors run from normal glazed, to clever ideas like Earl Grey, or a maple-bacon donut that uses surprisingly tasty coconut bacon strips.
Donut Panic sells regular donuts every day, but the vegan ones are only available on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Even then, you really ought to call first just to make sure.