The Bay's best new (and classic) bagels and doughnuts
Downtown Oakland's Donut Savant serves essentially glorified doughnut holes, its Twitter feed making me crave flavors like key lime, pumpkin, or an Old Fashioned with Bulleit bourbon glaze, Angostura bitters cream, and a twist of lemon, which Savant introduced at Oakland's Art Murmur in August. This led to disappointment when first crossing the Bay Bridge weeks after the store opened only to be met with a sign during regularly scheduled morning hours saying there were no more doughnuts left. When I was able to trek back to the humble shop and find actual doughnuts, I bought every one in sight. Flavors were straightforward, rather than the interesting aforementioned. Chocolate coconut doughnuts holes won out over basic chocolate or vanilla, though a dark chocolate doughnut with a light dusting of sugar was plain but more satisfying. One topped with butter cream stood out with creamy-dry contrast and candied ginger strips.
Doughnut Dolly charms in an alley off 49th Street. Pastel-striped walls and a friendly woman graciously attending each customer makes it feel immediately like a beloved neighborhood secret. By the bottle or glass, Jittery John's Cold Brew Coffee (www.jitteryjohns.com) is bracingly strong, New Orleans' style chicory coffee, made by an Oakland local — adding cream or milk makes one $10 bottle stretch to four-five glasses of iced coffee. Dare I say it's almost worth stopping in just for this eye-opening brew that reminds me of Nola?
Doughnuts are the filled kind (no holes), the strawberry jelly doughnuts superior to a childhood favorite with fresh jam inside. On my visits, flavors were a little basic for my tastes, the "naughty cream" merely a standard vanilla, the chocolate was pudding-like rather than dark and seductive, but the doughnuts themselves have a soft, gratifying texture. Bringing additional doughnuts home, a few seconds in the microwave ensured they melted warm in my mouth.
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