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Snared by a few of San Diego’s Finest Donuts

How a late-night craving leads to a New Year’s resolution

Churro donut sandwich with custard center and cherry on top
Churro donut sandwich with custard center and cherry on top
Place

San Diego's Finest Donuts

3458 University Ave, San Diego

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

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

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

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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Churro donut sandwich with custard center and cherry on top
Churro donut sandwich with custard center and cherry on top
Place

San Diego's Finest Donuts

3458 University Ave, San Diego

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

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

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

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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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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