The Charlie Brown: a twist of raised and chocolate donut doughs, swirled with a sugar glaze
With any luck, my quest to try all of the best donut spots in San Diego will never end. But for a moment there, it looked like it might have, and in an unlikely spot. Over on the far side of La Mesa’s Mount Helix, a little shop turns out some of the county’s tastiest donut creations. The place even spells it out on the sign in front: Best Donuts.
4636 Avocado Blvd, La Mesa
Certainly, the most memorable donut spots do something to stand out. Donut Bar makes ‘em extra large. Devil’s Dozen in Little Italy starts with an excellent brioche dough. Nomad Donuts embraces interesting flavors such as ube and lemongrass.
At Best Donuts, what really caught my attention was chocolate. It doesn’t merely offer a standard chocolate glazed, or chocolate glazed bar — it also offers versions made with chocolate dough. Which sounds simple, and it is, but it’s gratifying because the chocolate dough still tastes light and flaky in donut form.
Assorted donuts, including maple bar, chocolate old fashioned, and sugar glazed
On weekends, Best Donuts mixes it up a little, beginning with a weekend special it calls the Charlie Brown. Though not strictly speaking donut shaped, it basically combines a regular sugar glazed donut with a chocolate sugar glazed donut, by twisting the two doughs together, then wrapping them into a spiral shape. Or helix shape, if you think about it. It’s as delicious as it looks.
A chocolate glazed bar, made with chocolate raised dough
I don’t want to give the impression the chocolate donuts are the best thing going here. Everything I’ve tried so far has been wonderful, including a warm cinnamon roll that’s effectively a sugar glazed donut rolled into a cinnamon swirl; cinnamon twists dressed with maple, chocolate and other glazes; and an assortment of old fashioneds that rival the raised donuts in quality.
Adding to the experience is a friendly and welcoming owner who appears to recognize his regular customers despite everybody wearing masks. He tends to toss a couple of free, glazed donut holes in with each order — and on weekends, even the donut holes are half chocolate. I can attest: kids love that.
Assorted donuts, including cream filled chocolate glaze, and sugar glazed cinnamon roll
And also we adults following the line of social distancing tape across the glass donut counter. Best Donuts closed for two months during the winter shutdown, only returning to business in late January. Still, in March, and I’ve spotted a couple returning customers, who show up for a mixed dozen, say as they walk out, “So glad you’re back!”