Boardwalk Donuts – Santa Cruz, CA

Overall Shop rating: 3 ½ Nadas
I have lived in the great town of Santa Cruz for many years, and one of my fondest memories and current traditions is visiting the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Monday or Tuesday evenings. I happen to be addicted to sales and discounts, and on these particular evenings during the summer the Boardwalk has decided to make an annual tradition “1907 Nights” where all rides, sodas, hot dogs, and cotton candy are only 75 cents! What a deal!
I have attended these beautiful evenings many times and have ridden the Giant Dipper (I highly recommend this ride) more times that I can count on my fingers and toes, but I had overlooked something special… until a few nights ago. I was walking from the mini golf course to the Giant Dipper with my friend Jimmie Adams, when I noticed something amazing, calling out and challenging me. I had never noticed this before and that could be because my donut radar is more tuned in these days, but there in the window of a food vendor was a glaze donut, about the size of my head!!!!! Oh my goodness, I was in heaven. The first thought that crossed my mind was, “Beauty is fleeting. It is the inside that counts.” What did this massive beauty taste like?
*Note* As I had just eaten a large dinner, I knew that my stomach would not allow me to indulge in a complete head-sized donut, so I shared it with my donut-critics in training, John and Dylan.
Vibe of Shop: 1 Nadas
This wasn’t a shop specifically dedicated to donuts. It is like a country fair at the Boardwalk. Snotty-nosed kids running around and people waking by with giant stuffed animals. It was entertaining but definitely not relaxing as a donut shop should be.

Outside Appearance: 3 Nadas
I love the Boardwalk.

Hours: 3 Nadas
10am to 10pm… It’s a good chunk of the day, but still not 24 hours as I prefer.

Service: 3 Nadas
It’s all business here. Under paid
Taste of Glaze Donut: 5 Nadas!!!
Oh My! When they sell you a donut, they put it in the microwave for several seconds. This really brings out and accents the moistness and flavor. Woo! I loved it.

Blueberry Donut? Unfortunately, NO. But this was about one thing only Giant Glaze Donut.

Coffee: N/A
I forgot to taste it.
For an eventful exhilarating evening I suggest this.
1. Buy 1 or 2 massive donuts.
2. Walk to the Giant Dipper while consuming the donuts.
3. Ride the Giant Dipper 3 times back to back.
4. Puke.

Now that’s what I call fun. ;-)

Star Donuts - Lodi, Ca

Overall Shop rating 5 Nadas!!!

“Always Fresh”
It’s rare that sequel to a movie is as good as the original. In the same way, Mom’s cooking is usually our default to what we love and what we are used to. Simply put, Star Donuts blew me (and my taste buds) away. My favourite hometown donut shop is Ferrell’s Donuts in Santa Cruz. If I lived in Lodi, I’d be comparing all donut shops to this place.

Vibe of Shop: 5 Nadas
I loved the florescent lights inside. They reminded me of a 50’s diner. The tables were perfectly spaced and placed. It was homey, comfortable, and fun.

Outside Appearance: 4 1/2 Nadas
I have 2 things to say: 1.) I love the “Star” part of the sign. It’s genius. 2.) Three florescent “Open” signs. Wow. That’s commitment to letting customers know that they are open. I love it. The only thing I dislike is the location being in a strip mall, but that is donut culture, I guess.

Hours: Weekdays 5am – 1pm, Weekends 6am – 1pm
It’s not 24 hours… but I don’t care. They taste and service outweigh the lack of available donut consumption hours.

Service: 5 Nadas
The staff was super friendly and accommodating… and Asian.

Taste of Glaze Donut: 5 Nadas
Amazing. Moist. Sweet, but not overpowered with glaze.

Blueberry Donut? Unfortunately, no. But when there’s an amazing glaze, you need nothing else.
Coffee: 4 Nadas
It was tasty. It wasn’t a gourmet espresso drink from Italy, but it was still great.
Special: This has nothing to do with donuts, but everything to do with Lodi. If you happen to find yourself in Lodi, CA, please visit the Serpentarium. It is a reptile shop with amazing creepy creatures. I really enjoyed it.

Yum Yum Donuts - Madera, CA

Overall Shop rating: 1 1/2 Nadas
“With a Donut in each hand, anything is possible.”

Live. Love. Donuts. Upon researching this shop I found some amazing facts about chain donut shops in relation to Yum Yum Donuts! Here are some trivia questions:
1. What donut shop chain did Yum Yum Donuts purchase in October 2004?
2. The President of Yum Yum donuts used to work with the President of another large donut chain before he started Yum Yum Donuts. What Donut chain was it?

I love donuts (A). I love experiencing weird unique places (B). I don’t necessarily like Madera, CA (C). This donut shop was in Madera (D). A x B does not equal C, But C equals A x D. And if C is negative, it ruins it all.

Vibe of Shop: 3 Nadas
The inside was normal, but kind of cramped. The tables were super close to each other and the whole time I was there, there was a little girl yelling and crying. Not a very peaceful way to critique a donut. At least they are family friendly.

Outside Appearance: 3 1/2 Nadas
I really appreciated the familiar 1970’s donut shop appearance as I approached the shop. The Yum Yum sign is fantastic.
Hours: 24 Hours

Service: 1 Nadas
Truthfully, I felt like the guy working there had better things to do. It was all business and he was bored.

Taste of Glaze Donut: 3 Nadas
It was just ok. Nothing especially good or bad about it. Middle of the road.

Blueberry Donut? No. But they had super cute princess donuts! That’s great for little girls. Now I want to see some manly He-Man or GI Joe donuts!!!

Coffee: 2 Nadas
Tasted like dirty water.

Special: They had the most inspiring poster I have ever seen… Anywhere… ever… Period. It has become the quote of my life.

Trivia answers:
1. Winchell’s Donuts
2. Krispy Kreme Donuts

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts – Mountain View, CA

Overall Rating: 3 Nadas On the eve of July 4, 2009 I ventured to the Shoreline Amphitheater to watch my good friend, Jimmie Adams iii, play drums in the 4th of July celebration put on by Bethel Church of San Jose. It was a very impressive production with hundreds of people involved in singing, dancing and playing instruments in front of a crowd of about 7,000. My favourite part, of course, was the 10 minute drum solo Jimmie compiled. That guy is a maniac. Please go see him live if you have a chance. Anyway, this blog is about donuts, not Jimmie Adams so let’s get to it.
After the show, as I was driving back home to Santa Cruz with my girlfriend a familiar glowing sign caught my eye. I remember a few years ago, pre-Atkins diet craze, there was a donut craze where Krispy Kreme’s were popping up like Starbucks Shops. Atkin’s hit, and the Krispy Kreme’s began to go out of business. I didn’t realize that there were any still around so I had to stop and re-live the experience I had about 10 years ago when I first tasted a Krispy Kreme Donut.
*Side note: Krispy Kreme has been around since 1937. Sounds pretty stable.

Vibe of Shop: 4 ½ Nadas
The shop was very clean and sterile, with corporate written all over it. The redeeming factor is that you can watch the donuts assembly line, the whole process of “the life of a donut” from dough to mouth.

Outside Appearance: 3 Nadas
Just average and slightly corporate.
Service: 5 Nadas
The people were very friendly and helpful. When I was taking pictures they would wait to walk in front of the shot. I was pleasantly surprised with their consideration. They weren’t Asian, I expected this of corporate donuts, though.

Taste of Glaze Donut: 1 ½ Nada
I’ve had a 5 plus Nadas glaze here before, but that is when the donut is warm and fresh off the assembly line. This glaze donut was old and cold. It wasn’t very moist or soft. I was disappointed. Their sour crème glaze donut off the line was fresh, warm, and delicious on this night. I think the quality of taste will change depending on what is fresh. In other donut shops, I believe that the quality of the glaze donut will last longer than a few minutes…

Blueberry Donut?
Sort of... They had regular donuts with blueberry frosting and blueberries in it, and it was delicious!

Coffee: ½ Nada
Jenn Allen put it best after tasting it. The coffee tasted like “burnt dish water.”
Special: On this festive night they had patriotic donuts with Red, White, and Blue sprinkles. Also, they had a delicious cinnamon apple filled donut that sent me over the edge. I ate too many. Ha.
Happy 4th of July Everyone. Go eat a Donut.
This is America!

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