I first heard about Donut Panic from a post CC made on her blog about it. I read “fancy gourmet flavors” and “reasonable price” and I was instantly interested! After a ho hum experience with Donut Bar, I’ve been wary of any gourmet donuts with high prices but the reasonable price part struck a cord with me and I wanted to check it out. I told Jake about it and he actually stopped in here without me and talked to the owner, Linda, and found out a little more about the business. She runs the shop with her dad. Jake asked her what made her and her dad decide to open the shop she said simply, “We were unemployed!” They found the shop for sale on craigslist (seriously, is there anything you can’t find on craigslist?!) and decided to just take the plunge.
The fancy pants gourmet donuts here are vegan which is a bit of a popular trend these days – either for health reasons or lifestyle reasons. Normally “vegan” would make me cringe but the flavors sounded so intriguing that I just had to check it out.
There’s Jake at the counter. On the right side are the “regular donuts” and on the left are the specials when they have them.
The signage, which still has prices still listed as the old name of the shop (“Sunshine Dozen Donuts”).
There are more vegan options than just donuts and they gave Game Night every Wednesday! Very cool.
There’s also a record player playing some tunes. A little hipster, eh?
Here’s a closeup of the regular non-vegan donuts. We didn’t partake of any of the normal ones this time around. Jake had actually gotten me some to try but then left them in his car and so I didn’t get to try them… I forgive him.
[vegan donuts / $1.50 each]
Okay here’s the donut porn you came here to see – the fancy, gourmet vegan donuts! They had six special flavors for that day. The flavors rotate on the days they are offered (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday). I’ve read that Linda’s stated she has around 40-ish different flavors on rotation – crazy!
This is the vanilla bean one. I loved the bright, happy looking (yes, happy!) sprinkled donut.
Here’s the inside. It’s yeast based and you can see specks of vanilla bean in the donut (it’s tiny). The texture of these vegan donuts is a little different from traditional – they’re light and fluffy but also a little chewy. The donuts are made with soy milk and potatoes so there’s definitely a different texture and chewiness to these that you don’t get in regular donuts – but they are delicious!
Here’s the vegan chocolate donut. The chocolate tasted a bit dark – I should have asked what they used for it (if it was just plain cocoa or carob). Same lovely chewy texture though, but one of the plainer flavors. Still, if you need a chocolate donut fix and are vegan then this is definitely for you, my friend.
One of my favorites was the Orange Almond flavored vegan donut. It has a glaze that’s got orange bits and zest in it and topped with almond slivers – yum! The orange flavor is quite potent – there is NO mistaking you’re eating something orange flavored – and the bits of crunchy almonds helped give it a little bit more texture. Jake didn’t like this one because he doesn’t like orange flavored things but I loved it. It tasted bright and almost refreshing – if donuts could be refreshing.
The other favorite of the day (for Jake, T and myself) was the Earl Grey donut. I love the specks of tea flakes on top and that you can taste the flavors of earl grey without it being super overwhelming. So light and fluffy and completely covered in glaze! I love that the glaze dripped all the way down to the bottom on this one – it made it look more dramatic and you got more delicious glaze in each bite. The more familiar chew was present that I was really starting to enjoy (almost more than regular donuts…. almost!).
Here’s a cross section of the earl grey – you can see it’s got a bunch of hollow points. This makes it taste similar to a cruller as well – but not quite as airy.
This is the Maple “Bacon” donut. The faux bacon is actually coconut that’s been cooked with soy sauce and liquid smoke to give it that smoky flavor. T really liked this one a lot and thought it tasted a lot like bacon. I thought it had a similar smoky component but didn’t really taste or have the same mouthfeel as bacon (obviously). It was still a very creative way to do a bacon flavor and I liked the combination. I’d probably just want a plain old maple one next time though but it was fun to try it!
The last of our donuts was a jelly filled.
Hellooooo, jelly! This was filled with raspberry jelly. I’m not usually into jelly donuts because the jelly tends to uh, get all over my shirt, but I like them from time to time. I liked this well enough though it wasn’t one of my favorites.
I’ve heard about/read about so many other interesting flavors like rosewater-cardamom, lemon-lavendar, saffron pistachio, chocolate espresso Bavarian creme, Mexican chocolate, coconut lime, matcha, salted caramel… with a line up like that, I’ll definitely be back so I can sample them all!
The vegan donuts at Donut Panic are made ONLY on the weekends (around 9AM) and Wednesdays (in the evening around 6PM). They also now offer vegan cupcakes on Fridays and sometimes do other specials (I spied “Donut Bread Pudding” on the Facebook page (linked below)). Don’t be afraid of the vegan donut: just go and check it out already and prepare for deliciousness!
6171 Mission Gorge Rd Suite #113
San Diego, California 92120