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Best Donuts shop lives up to its name

Mount Helix go-to stands out thanks to its swirling “Charlie Brown” donut

The Charlie Brown: a twist of raised and chocolate donut doughs, swirled with a sugar glaze
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.

Place

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!”

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The Charlie Brown: a twist of raised and chocolate donut doughs, swirled with a sugar glaze
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.

Place

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!”

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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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