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live. love. surf. eat (donuts).

-Dave

Donut Factory – Sonora, CA


Overall Shop rating: 4 Nadas

This weekend I am doing music for the Golden Hills Church Junior High winter camp near Sonora. One afternoon we decided to get away from the camp to see what the wonderful town of Sonora had to offer. As we headed to Perko’s Café for lunch we passed a pizza shop called the Pizza Factory. As we continued to drive, making a few smart remarks about the production of pizzas in the factory, my internal donut radar started going off and my eyes were drawn to none other than “The Donut Factory.”

Vibe of Shop: 3 Nadas
It had a typical 70’s to early 80’s feel, but there was one thing missing. There was not enough “donut pink” in the décor.

Outside Appearance: 3 Nadas
The name says it all. That’s what drew me in. “Donut Factory” What a great name. I’d like to have a shirt with that printed on it. Other than that, the outside was bland, like a good Sonora strip mall. Off in the distance were snow-capped mountains. Precious.

Hours: Week 3am – 3pm, Weekend 3am – 2pm
I don’t know who would arrive to buy donuts at 3am but I appreciate the effort. Maybe Sonora wakes up early.

Service: 5 Nadas
The lady was friendly, happy, and Asian. I had to hold back from calling her “Aunty.”

Taste of Glaze Donut: 4 Nadas
At 1pm in the afternoon the glaze donuts still tasted fresh! I love it. AND... they were only $0.69!!! That's the best deal ever.

Blueberry Donut? Yes, but they were sold out. That’s a good sign… I deduct that if they are sold out, they must be tasty.

Coffee: 3 ½ Nadas
The coffee wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It did the job, washing down the donut and glaze.


Special: They had a morsel which they called an apple burrito. It was sooooooo amazing. It was similar to a Home Run Pie in that it was filled with apple goo, but instead of pastry it was wrapped in some sort of tortilla, then deep fried and glazed. It was simply heaven!








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Dinkel’s Bakery and Starbucks Coffee – Chicago, IL

Dinkel’s Bakery overall shop rating: ???
Starbucks overall shop rating: 4 Nadas

Sometimes to survive you must adapt.

In September 2009 I was driving cross-country from Rhode Island back home to Santa Cruz, CA and I made a short stop in Chicago to visit my cousins. They told me that I absolutely had to try a donut from Dinkel’s Bakery. Unfortunately when we visited, it was closed that day due to a holiday or something like that. I respect a business that is not afraid to take a day off from work to observe a holiday. Life is not all about work, work, work. It’s all about enjoying some time to yourself and about eating donuts. ☺

Since Dinkel’s was closed and I had worked up an expectation for a donut, I walked across the street to Starbucks Coffee to fill the craving. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.

Vibe of Shop: 4 Nadas
I like the Starbucks corporation. Just like all good donut shops, all Starbucks Stores are the same. I love the familiarity. This particular Starbucks was in a really cool building on the corner of 2 streets.

Outside Appearance: 5 Nadas
The location on the street corner was the perfect location

Hours: 5am – 9pm

Service: 5 Nadas
People who work at Starbucks are friendly and helpful 95% of the time. These guys working today were great!

Taste of Glaze Donut: 3 Nadas
It tasted processed, over-sugared, and like it had too many preservatives in it… but it totally filled my craving for a donut.

Blueberry Donut? No, but I didn’t have many expectations from Starbucks. They are a coffee shop, not a donut shop.

Coffee: 4 Nadas
Just like anything large and corporate, when moving to a larger scale of distribution the quality of the product tends to diminish. The coffee was good, but not amazing like some of the smaller local coffee shops in Santa Cruz.



Dinkels Bakery

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Starbucks

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Beans, Bytes, and Websites – Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas

Overall Shop rating: 5 Nadas
My interest in donuts is not purely domestic. I am interested in the importance and commonality of the donut internationally. I recently had an opportunity to visit my friend and fellow donut lover, Jennifer Allen. She is working on an Ocean Classroom Schooner currently anchored in Saint Thomas, a US Virgin Island in the Caribbean. She and I had a few days to explore the islands of Saint Thomas and Saint John, and we searched for donuts. Our findings came up short because we kept getting distracted by crystal clear water and long white sand beaches. We did find a couple of places that sold donuts but they were closed on Sundays… I like places that are not all about business. I like it when they take time off to enjoy life. Life is not all about working and making donuts, it’s about enjoying friendship and good donuts.

Vibe of Shop: 5 Nadas
I agree you may be thinking: “This is not a donut shop,” but it is the only place I found that was open and served donuts. That being said, this is one of the coolest coffee shops I have ever seen. The vibe of the building was great! The walls were old brick and rock and the layout was amazing, from the arch entry way to the comfortable couches and tables for lounging. Jenn and I visited here a couple times.

Outside Appearance: 5 Nadas
It may be a little bit of a challenge to find this place because it is nestled in a cute little alley way. It has a nice patio area with tables right out in front of the arch doorway.

Hours: I forgot to check, but I assume sometime from 6am to 7pm.

Service: 5 Nadas
The lady working reminded me of my mom. She was super friendly and a hard worker. If you go there, give her a big tip. She deserves it.

Taste of Glaze Donut: 4.5 Nadas
To tell the truth, I didn’t try a glaze donut because they didn’t have a raised glaze.

Blueberry Donut? No. But, beggars can’t be choosers.

Coffee: 5 Nadas
This was the best espresso drink I found on the islands.

Special: This is a great place to sit and play cribbage, or read a book. Take your time and enjoy!











I'm sorry that this map is not very helpful. The shop wouldn't come up on google maps, so just go to this spot near the Vendor's Market and search the alleys!

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The Right Bakery - Hoskins, Papua New Guinea

Overall Shop rating: 5 Nadas

In November 2009 my friend, Daniel, and I took a trip out to Papua New Guinea to do a couple youth camps for Missionary kids. I did not expect to find a delicious donut in such a remote destination.

Vibe of Shop: 4 Nadas
Not your normal coffee shop… It was actually just the Wright house in PNG. It had a very home-y feel. The best part was the warm tropical air the came through the slatted windows as we enjoyed our donuts.

Outside Appearance: 5 Nadas
There are not many more beautiful places than this. It’s tropical and warm and fairly under developed.

Hours: Whenever she is awake, she can cook.

Service: 5 Nadas
Teresa is the best!

Taste of Glaze Donut: 4.5 Nadas
I was so impressed with the flavor and freshness. The donut had a slightly fruity and sour taste, like a hint of lemon.

Blueberry Donut? Upon request, yes.

Coffee: 5 Nadas
PNG coffee is ridiculously good.

Special: One afternoon the Wright’s had us over for lunch and Mrs. Wright made the most wonderful delicacy I have ever tasted! They were just like cinnamon rolls but instead of cinnamon and sugar, it was made with ham, cheese, and pasta sauce. Mmmmmm… video


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Donut Heaven - Sacramento, CA

4 Nadas

After playing a gig in Sacramento, Dan and I decided to stop and treat ourselves to a post-gig donut. I hadn’t done a donut blog in a while so I thought it would be a good time to venture out and continue my search for the perfect donut. Unfortunately, this was not the day that I would find it. I was, however, grateful to the the sign in the window acknowledging that the store had passed it's food inspections. This donut shop is healthily safe!

Vibe of Shop: 4.5 Nadas
I walked in and instantly I felt at home. That warm familiar donut-pink lined the counter and display, while the ugly, hard, orange seats and tables called to me like a couch in my living room. Home Sweet Home.

Outside Appearance: 3 Nadas
Nestled comfortably in the back of a strip mall in Sacramento, there wasn’t much special about it. It was just normal and average. Actually it was a bit hard to find since it didn’t stick out.

Hours: Mon – Sat 5am – 6pm, Sun 5am – 4pm

Service: 5 Nadas
The guy behind the counter was happy, friendly, helpful, and Asian. Again, it felt like home.

Taste of Glaze Donut: 4 Nadas
The donuts

Blueberry Donut? No.

Coffee: 3 Nadas
The coffee tasted like… complimentary coffee that you get when you wait for your car to get an oil change at Jiffy Lube.

Special: They had mini Cinnamon rolls. How cute...




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Psycho Donuts – Campbell, CA

3 Nadas

This donut shop is “Crazy!” Some people take themselves too seriously, and some people not seriously enough. Shortly after Psycho Donuts opened, some people took offense to the irreverent theme and began protesting. I assume the motive of making donuts with names like “Bi-Polar (a donut with 2 separate flavors on each side)” and “Massive Head Trauma (a donut that looks like a head with an injury and jelly oozing out)” was just to be silly and fun, but the problem lies in the fact that there are people out there who have family members, friends, or they themselves have had to deal with these infirmities. The funny thing to me is, that by all the protesting and the ruckus made, it has only made this shop more popular. Even television news programs have highlighted the shop and the resistance against these deliciously and inappropriately themed balls of sugar and dough. I had to check this place out for myself after seeing a news clip on the protests. This is what I have found.

Vibe of Shop: 4 Nadas
This is not a place where I would want hang out, unlike the common donut shop décor that makes one feel welcome and warm in a weird 70’s tile, florescent light kind of way. This shop didn’t have many seats and the X-rays of broken bones and weird spiky-haired skulls made me feel a bit uneasy. They had a cute miniature padded room with an amp and guitar available for shredding on, although there is one stipulation: No Stairway. I must admit: This place was fun for the eyes.

Outside Appearance: 2 Nadas
The location is good and visible in a small corner strip mall, but it is kind of hard to navigate into the parking lot.

Hours: Weekdays 6am – 8pm, Weekends 7am – 11pm

Service: 4.5 Nadas
The girl who helped us was in uniform, an old style nurse’s outfit. She had great pink and purple hair, and her sharp tongue made for fun banter while ordering. Taste of Glaze Donut: 2 Nadas
I tried the most simple donut close to a raised glaze. I wasn’t impressed. It was in the afternoon when I stopped by, but the donut tasted dry and stale. On the other hand, I tried a Key Lime Pie donut and it was great. Also, the cookies on the Nutty Cookie Monster we ordered were all soggy and stale. I like donuts that have a shelf life of freshness of at least 16 hours…

Blueberry Donut? Uhhhhhh…. They had too many weird donuts that I was distracted and forgot to look for the blueberry.
Coffee: 3 Nadas
It was average. I was half expecting it to be spiked with some sort of tranquilizer fluid or something.

Special: Everything is “special” about this place. It would complete the theme if they would offer rides in a short yellow school bus around the block as you ate your donuts.

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Caribbean!!! I've been out and about. Full blogs coming soon.

For the last week I've been relaxing in Saint Thomas and Saint John, US Virgin Islands. I went in search of a donut shop to blog about so that when you, my loyal donut blog readers, make it out to the Caribbean Islands you would know exactly where to go to fulfil that urgent donut craving. Sadly, I was unable to find a complete shop dedicated solely to donuts. I must admit, though, that I am man with other interests like surfing, sitting on the beach doing nothing, eating sushi and so on, so I didn't do a complete and thorough search of every street of the islands. I did however find a beautiful coffee shop with the best coffee on the islands, in my opinion. And they did have donuts!!! I will do a full blog on them soon. Thank for reading.

Live. Love. Surf. Eat.
-Dave
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