The Muppets' Swedish Chef Makes Donuts

The Original Ferrell’s Donuts – Scotts Valley, CA

Overall Shop rating 2 NadasI usually don’t wake up before 8:30am. Today, I had an appointment to have my car’s oil changed at 7am so I had to be up and out early. After the oil change I found myself with a couple hours before any of my friends would be awake so I thought I would go check out a new donut shop. I found out some Santa Cruz Donut Shop history.

In Santa Cruz there are 5 shops toting the name “Ferrell’s.” I found out that they were originally all owned by the same guy, or by him and his family. According to my source he sold off 2 of them or gave them to a family member who then sold them off. There are the Ferrell’s on Ocean Street and Mission Blvd. After a few years, the original owner wanted to distinguish his shops from the others so he added “The Original” in the name. Too bad for him, the “un-original” shops make better donuts.

Vibe of Shop: 4 Nadas
There was plenty of seating. It felt like a small breakfast café. I wish there was a little donut pink in the mix though.

Outside Appearance: 3 ½ Nadas
I must say that this shop definitely is cute. It is awkwardly located in a lot with auto detailers and auto shops but it sticks out nicely, throwing out a very welcoming vibe.

Hours: Weekdays 5:00am-11:30am, Weekends 6:00am-12:00pm

Service: 1 Nada
The lady seemed grouchy, she wasn’t Asian, and she smelled like smoke. I don’t think I saw her smile once the whole time I sat there and ate my donut.

Taste of Glaze Donut: 2 Nadas
Making the claim, “The Original Ferrell’s” I would expect extreme quality and superiority in the most basic things such as the glaze donut. Instead, I found the donut to be lacking moistness, fluff, and the glaze was slightly too thin.

Blueberry Donut? Yes!!!
The selection is slim and diminishes quickly as they have the donuts delivered so get there early if you want a specific donut. The Blueberry donuts didn’t look as scrumptious as the ones I have found in other Santa Cruz shops but these ones had something special: blueberry icing.Coffee: 3 Nadas
It was just average. Nothing special.

Special: Not much special about this place… although I met a guy who runs the gun shop around the corner. If you need guns, ammo, or archery stuff, it’s real close by.

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Sunny Donuts – San Jose, CA

Overall Shop rating 3 ½ NadasHappy Holidays! On this cold, blustery, rainy day, I found a warm ray of light in the dark storm clouds. It was a donut shop called Sunny Donuts and it truly brightened my day. I was glad to get out of the rain and dry my bones while enjoying a donut and sipping coffee. I felt right at home as the donut pink counter tops and tables surrounded me like blankets on my bed and an unfamiliar, yet oddly familiar at the same time, asian man hovered behind the counter slinging donuts and coffee. If there was a donut club for men, I guarantee this would be one of the more popular chapters.

Vibe of Shop: 4 Nadas
Great layout. Long shop with plenty of seating highlighted in donut pink. As this is December, there were cute Christmas decorations and a little Christmas tree. I feel like I could spend a lot of time here.

Outside Appearance: 4 ½ Nadas
The appearance of this shop is what originally drew me to this place. I drove by a few days earlier and I made a mental note that I had to come back. I was highly impressed with the location as it is the corner shop in a strip mall, and having wonderful use of donut pink outside as well as in. My most favorite part was the bright donut pink picnic table outside.Hours: Monday – Saturday 5:00am to 10:00pm, Sunday 6:00am to 3:00pm

Service: 3 Nadas
Often when I walk in to a donut shop with camera phone blazing I get suspicious looks from the owners/workers. I wish I knew what they were thinking. Like… “Is he trying to steal our donut secrets?” or “Oh no! Is he from immigration? Act normal… act normal… act like you are legal…” Ha. Anyway, these guys weren’t that friendly. I guess I should be more lenient for some one who has been up all night baking so that I can come pay 75 cents for a donut.

Taste of Glaze Donut: 3 Nadas
The glaze didn’t fully envelop the donut and it was pretty thin. The dough was fluffy, but pretty dry. This was just an average donut. You could find the same quality at 7 Eleven.

Blueberry Donut? No, but they had blueberry filled donuts…. Not the same. ☹

Coffee: 3 Nadas
I ordered a coffee and the man helping me told me it would be a couple minutes until he could fill my cup. I noticed he was making a new pot for me and I had high hopes for greatness. I was only slightly let down when I found that the coffee tasted just average.

Special: This is one of the only donut shops that I have visited that is living in the age of computers and smart phones. I saw posted throughout the shop and they also offer free wifi! I while eating my donut I surfed my way to and I was impressed at all the helpful information. For example, their donuts have “0 grams of trans fat per serving!” And, they used to be a Dunkin Donuts until they changed their name to Sunny Donuts in 2001. They best part of the website is “Deals” page. They offer multiple coupons, one being a free donut with purchase of a Hot Coffee!!!

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Trish's Mini Donuts - San Fransisco, CA

Dave's note: occasionally I like to have a guest critic check out a shop and share their thoughts. This blog is by Andrew Penniman, my house mate. I read through this, and though it's hard to believe that he found a donut worthy of 5 Nadas, I can't hold him to my standard of expertise. I have mostly likely tasted hundreds, if not thousands more donuts than he. Still, thank you, Andrew, for taking the time to invest in this blog. We all appreciate it. :)

Overall Shop Rating: 4 1/2 NadasAlthough I have experienced a fraction of the donut shops that Mighty Dave has conquered with incredible valor, I was pleasantly surprised to run into this unique and tasty shop while walking back from a classic San Fransisco dinner of clam chowder in a bread bowl. I could smell the fresh baked mini donuts from two piers away and I followed my nose right to Trish's Mini Donuts.

Vibe of Shop: 3 1/2 Nadas

The shop is walk up only, although there are a few tables outside if you want to sit and enjoy the fresh, hot donuts. It doesn't carry the feel of a tradition shop (no donut pink to be found anywhere) but the donuts they serve up more than cover for the street stand feel.

Outside Appearance: 4 Nadas

They did have a cool sign that was well lit at night, making it easy to spot the source of the delicious smell. The tables outside were clean and provided a good people watching location while we enjoyed the tasty treats.

Hours: Didn't see a sign, although it was around 9 PM that I got the mini mouthfulls of donuty goodness and they didn't look like they were closing down anytime soon.

Service: 4 Nadas

This place was pretty crowded and rightly so, which meant the service was brief but effective. They did go out of their way to make me a fresh batch of coffee.

Taste of glaze donut: 5 Nadas

So they only carry one donut here at Trish's Mini Donuts: The Mini Donut. It is exactly as the name implies. A small version of a regular sized donut, complete with the hole in the middle. As for the taste, it was melt-in-your-mouth, should-have-ordered-more, they-refill-the-bag-for-$2.50 delicousness. I can't recommend enough stopping by this place if you happen to be cruising Pier 39 in San Fransisco. If you have friends, they have a bucket option that could prove tempting if you were one person on a mission to consume as many mini donuts in a day as possible.

Blueberry Donut: Nope

Coffee: 3 1/2 Nadas

It tasted great and as I mentioned before they made me a fresh batch. It was some standard Starbucks drip, but it complimented the minis quite well.Special:

The cool thing about the shop is that you can watch the donuts being made and when they serve them up in the bag, you watch the final process of the cinnamon and sugar being applied right after the donuts are made.

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Brethren Christian High School – Huntington Beach, CA

Overall Morning Rating: 5 Nadas!!!This is a special blog. If you have read all my previous blogs I have mentioned that I am a traveling, working musician. This profession takes me all over the world and I thought I would combine all my traveling with my love for tasty donuts in order to better the world with the knowledge of the location of the greatest tasting donut in the universe! I’m not sure that this adventure will ever end because there is an almost endless supply of donut producers and a limited amount of time in this life, but I vow to do my part so that you may glean my knowledge. And as we all know, knowledge is power.
This brings me to this special donut blog occasion. On this day, Brethren Christian High School invited my band, Kokua, to come and play at their event. The event was a spiritual emphasis day, complete with an all school potluck-style breakfast followed by our music and a special speaker. When I heard “all school breakfast,” I originally thought that there would be a giant grill making pancakes and sausage. Boy, was I wrong! Each class sponsored a table and provided the theme and the food. Lucky for me, many students share my love of donuts!!!

The donuts were tasty! What a great morning! Thanks Brethren Christian H. S.!

This is Dan. He loves donuts.

The Golden Donuts – San Diego, CA

Overall Shop Rating: 2 NadasThe Golden Donut was a golden let down. Today I was craving a donut so my roommates and I went on a search. Upon arrival, this shop was swarming with Senior Citizens like flies on dog poo. Usually this is a sign of tasty donuts and delicious coffee, but today that was not the case. My only explanation can be that, in their old age, these Senior Citizens’ taste buds have died and they are content with eating crap.

Vibe of Shop: 3 Nadas
I sincerely liked the vibe of the shop. Though small and crowded, there was some decent use of “donut pink” and I liked the décor. Visually, it was a little noisy and over-stimulating but I liked the use of foliage to soften the feel.

Outside Appearance: 4 Nadas
Perfectly hidden in the corner of a strip mall, I appreciated the lawn chairs and tables outside. If only they could talk, I’m sure they would have heard some great stories from all the older people who convene there.

Hours: Sun – Fri 4:00am to 3:00pm, Sat 4:00am to 6:00pm

Service: 4 Nadas
The people serving us seemed genuinely nice, but were “all business” when it came to ordering. I think that’s due to the high volume of Senior Citizen customers (they tend to be cranky).

Taste of Glaze Donut: 1 Nada
I was very, very disappointed in the taste. It was dry, not very fluffy, and the glaze was bad.

Blueberry Donut: Yes.

Coffee: 2 Nadas
I have some advice: “Do at least one thing right.” Golden Donut needs to take that and run with it. If you want to be a donut shop and you can’t make good donuts, at least make good coffee. Maybe their strength is in their ability to bring people together… well, this is a donut shop, not Bingo Night at the YMCA.Special: Marketing. This was the first shop that recognized the potential in promoting to churches and schools. “Quantity, not quality” must be the way they operate.

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Donut Den – Crestline, CA

Overall Shop rating: ?This trip brought me and my band to the mountains of Crestline,CA near Lake Arrowhead. The town was a cute mountain town and I did not expect to find a donut shop in such a small community town. I was so pumped to see the Donut Den as we drove through town. We couldn’t stop at that time so we made a special trip later only to find the shop closed, looking as though it’s been closed for business for years. I asked a local about it later and he said that it’s still open but run by a crackhead. I don’t think I’ll be going back for a donut there. Who knows what finds it’s way into the dough….

Vibe of Shop: Creepy

Outside Appearance: 1 Nada
This place looked like an old, forgotten run-down log cabin with all the windows boarded up. I wonder what really went on inside… We may never know.Hours: ?

Service: ?

Taste of Glaze Donut: ?

Blueberry Donut: ?

Coffee: ?

Special: There were really cool benches made out of tree logs outside. They reminded me of Lincoln Logs.

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It's somewhere around there...

K D Village Donuts - Ventura, CA

Overall Shop Rating: 3 NadasI am continually amazed at the consistent success of the donut industry. No matter where I travel I always seem to spot multiple donut shops in every town, usually one in every strip mall. On this day, I was traveling through Ventura and had to pick up my friend, Daniel LaPoint. This shop was an easy and obvious rendezvous so we decided to enjoy a donut in the process.

Vibe of Shop: 2 Nadas
Some shops feel like “home.” This shop was a home converted into a shop, but without the “home” feeling. Although, I believe the owners actually live in the back, so it is a literal home, and it probably feels like “home” to them…. Just not to me. That could be due to the fact that we visited at 11pm and had to walk through the drive through.

Outside Appearance: 3 Nadas
This store wasn't located in a strip mall. It had a lot all to itself, conveniently located on one of the main roads in Ventura. There were plenty of homes and apartments within walking distance, a desired location for any local business.

Hours: 24 Hours
Though the inside area of the shop is not open past 10pm, you may conveniently walk or drive along the side of the building for 24 hours service.

Service: 5 Nadas
Even in the late hour when we visited this fine establishment the person helping us was helpful and cheery. He even threw in a couple free donuts in the bag! What a great guy!Taste of Glaze Donut: 4 _ Nadas
I was pleasantly surprised at the blend of moist, fluffiness of the dough and the nearly perfect light sugary glaze. To tell the truth, I wasn't expecting such a delicious donut!

Blueberry Donut: Yes!

Coffee: 3 Nadas
Not much to say about it. It was average. On a cold night, it will warm you, and it didn't cause a gag reaction upon consumption.

Special: My favorite part of the shop is the drive thru. I loved the “Please Honk for Service” sign and I couldn't stop laughing at the drive-thru menu. It was grassroots and classy, to say the least. They served coffee drinks and smoothies and highlighted the new flavors well. Ha. I wonder if they would let sponsor a new outdoor menu for them… Hmmmm….

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Kelly’s Donuts – San Clemente, CA

Overall Shop rating 4 ½ NadasIn the year 2000 A.D. I was introduced to a man who would change my life forever. His name is Peter Culp. During the summer, Peter and I taught surfing to high school students at a camp called Mount Hermon in Santa Cruz, CA. It was here, on these 5am early mornings that we would consistently head to Ferrell’s Donuts after dawn patrol surf sessions, and it was here that I began to develop my pallet for donuts under the supervision of my friend and donut mentor, Peter.
Now, Peter lives in San Clemente, CA and has a hand full of favorite shops that he regularly enjoys. On this day I was passing through town and asked him to show me what donuts San Clemente has to offer.

Vibe of Shop: 5 Nadas
The shop came with everything I’d want out of a good donut shop… classic donut posters, some good seating for donut consumption, a bit of donut pink in the décor, some signed surf posters of pros who love the donuts, and the most important staple: Old men enjoying donuts and coffee while telling stories of the way things were in the old days. I glimpse into my future every time I see men like that.

Outside Appearance: 4 ½ Nadas
Any donut shop that has a neon sign promoting everything but donuts must be confident that their donuts need no promoting, other than by taste. I found that to be true here. Also, the shop is located in a large strip mall-style plaza that has ample amounts of parking, just in case people rush to donut shops for their donuts just as they rushed to banks for their money during the great depression.

Hours: 5:00am to 5:00pm

Service: 5 Nadas
Asian, friendly, and helpful. Here I don’t so much as see into my future, but I’m given something to strive towards.

Taste of Glaze Donut: 4 ½
The glaze donut was so close to donut perfection. Great glaze, great moistness, and great fluffiness… but for some reason it was just shy of the mark. I would actually give it a 4 7/8 Nadas but I don’t get that advanced in my fractions for scoring donuts for the sake of readability for the younger donut enthusiast readers.

Blueberry Donut? No

Coffee: 4 ½ Nadas
It was a tasty cup of Joe. It wasn’t bad or old tasting which impressed me since we were visiting later in the day.

Special: They serve Dreyers ice cream, which facilitates potential for monumental donut greatness: A donut-ice cream sandwich!!! Doesn’t that just make your taste buds dance and your stomach turn?

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Solana Donuts - Solana Beach, CA

Overall Shop rating: 4 NadasMy name is David Matsumura. I love donuts, I love Jesus Christ, I love surfing, and I love music. Everyday, I try and fill my day with these four things. I want to inspire and help others do the same. Today, is venturing into a new area. We are proud to announce that we have sponsored our first musical artist, Tyson Mostenbocker. He is currently working on a new EP that should be released in November 2010. I’ve heard it, and it is sounding great. He mixes cool guitar parts with smooth vocals and great story telling… and he has a killer mustache! Check it out for yourself (the music, that is)! Solana Donuts is his local donut shop. Together we visited and talked music and surfing over delicious donuts.

Vibe of Shop: 4 ½ Nadas
I loved the classic feel of this shop. Great use of “donut pink” and plenty of space for seating, or a dance party. There was a disco ball hanging above the donut case making me wonder what goes on in this shop after hours… I also really loved the amazing painting of a tropical beach on the wall.

Outside Appearance: 2 ½ Nadas
It was kind of tucked away in a 2 story strip mall. The outside wasn’t very inviting but I did like that there was the Fish House right above. Fish and Donuts…. Mmmmm.

Hours: Mon – Thurs 5:00am to 9:00pm
Fri – Sat 5:00am to 10:00pm
Sun 6:00am to 12:00pm

Service: 4 ½ Nadas
I believe the lady who served us was named Thim. She was fantastic. She was the perfect asian donut shop owner who runs the front of the store while her husband bakes donuts in the back. I’ve seen this “set up” often and it seems to work well.Taste of Glaze Donut: 3 ½ Nadas
The donut was nice and fluffy and the glaze was great but overall it was a bit dry.

Blueberry Donut: No

Coffee: 3 Nadas
The coffee was just average. It did the job, but didn’t impress me.

Special: 2 things:
1. I love it when donut shops make giant donuts. I would never eat one, but I love looking at them. Here they had a giant raised sugar donut.2. On this day I ordered an apple pastry. It was amazing! The glaze was perfect and the apple filling blew my mind.

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Baker Tom's - Hilo, Hawaii

Overall Shop rating: 4 ½ Nadas Hilo, Hawaii is a town that blends perfectly the hometown country feel and island paradise. There are so many “mom and pop” shops owned by locals that you would never need to go corporate for any meal… or donut.
I spent 2 months hanging out in Hilo with my Grandma, Uncle and Aunty in the Spring of 2010. I searched but could not find a donut shop in this town. Instead I was blown away when I was introduced to the Hawaiian version: the Malasada (originally the Portuguese version of the donut).

Vibe of Shop: 5 Nadas
I loved the vibe. It’s so local and friendly, filled with Aloha.

Outside Appearance: 5 Nadas
This is one of the most unique bakery shops I’ve ever seen. It’s a few miles out of town on the country highway on the way to Waimea. The shop is a converted auto repair shop turned bakery. One garage bay has become the store front and the other has become the lounge.

Hours: 6am-6pm Weekdays, 7am-6pm Weekends

Service: 5 Nadas
I loved that Baker Tom’s mom was the one that served us. I love the personal family touch. Baker Tom’s dad hangs out in the garage turned lounge next door. Amazing.

Taste of Glaze Donut: 4 Nadas
Technically this wasn’t a glazed donut, and they didn’t even have glaze in the traditional sense, but I didn’t care. I loved the Blackberry, the PB&J, the Canadian Bacon & Cheese, the Lilikoi, and more. Wow!

Blueberry Donut? No, but who needs a blueberry donut when you have a plethora of filled malasadas. You could have breakfast, lunch, and dinner all here inside this wonderful dough… if you can handle all the grease…

Coffee: 3 Nadas
The coffee was good but nothing special. There is a great local shop down the road called Sharky’s that I suggest if you want quality coffee.

Special: I’ve already talked about all the special donuts/malasadas. Instead I want to point out the special advertisement posted on the board at the shop. It’s for the Neuter Scooter. It comes to Spay/Neuter your cats right at your own home.

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