Churro donut sandwich with custard center and cherry on top
  • Churro donut sandwich with custard center and cherry on top
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San Diego's Finest Donuts

3458 University Ave, City Heights

How many times can you drive past a donut shop without going in? That’s the question I ask myself in the waning moments of 2019, as I once again roll past the little pink shop that’s been teasing donuts here longer than I’ve been rolling down University Avenue.

Raised donut specials: including Fruity Pebbles, Oreos, and S'mores

Raised donut specials: including Fruity Pebbles, Oreos, and S'mores

That is, I almost roll past. Today is the day. I fell asleep thinking about donuts two nights ago and haven’t been able to shake the craving. I can’t be alone in this. There’s got to be a reason little donut shops like this can display seemingly endless racked assortments of donuts day after day, decade after decade.

It’s the variety that gets me. Sure, the desire for a maple cruller is what parks my car in the tiny lot, and sends my sneakers scuffling across graying asphalt into the shop. But that could be satisfied for an easy $1.15, grab and go, back out the door and on my way. But there’s always a chocolate glazed, a sugared twist, a cake donut frosted and topped with crushed peanuts. It’s only $6.50 for a half dozen, my mind reasons….

A few more than the planned half dozen donuts

A few more than the planned half dozen donuts

There’s not always a buttermilk donut, which has more of a brick shape with ridges on the top, cutting even through the glaze. I have to ask what it is, and then of course I have to try one: it’s similar to the cake donuts, except with a texture that turns creamy as you chew.

All of the above are within the glass counter, just like any donut shop counter. But the real showpiece donuts sit on top. Such as the raised donut specials: vanilla glazed coated with Fruity pebbles cereal or Oreo cookie crumbles. These must be a nod to the kitsch and creativity of modern donut shops, which some might call hipster (though maybe that term finally dies with 2019?). Whatever you call it, San Diego’s Finest has also offered the occasional cronut.

A pink donut shop long serving City Heights

A pink donut shop long serving City Heights

Of the $3 specials, the one that catches my eye is the s’mores donut: chocolate glazed with a smattering of graham cracker dust and charred marshmallows. But even it is outdone by the $4 churro donut: what looks like a couple of small cinnamon-sugar crullers, stacked into a donut sandwich with a custard center, the top donut’s hole filled with a swirl of whipped cream and a cherry. Or Oreo crumbles if you prefer.

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