A letter from a fellow donut connoisseur

*Note* Ben is my good friend and trusted donut critic. He and I have visited a few shops together and discussed the intricacies that make up a great donut, so I give my validating approval to whatever he says. Ben, I'm sorry to say that you really missed out. I recently visited Trisha's, and though the smell was not strong, the taste nearly drove me crazy. These little guys are "Lightning in a Bottle." We'll just have to go there together sometime soon and share in the donut experience.

From an email Ben sent me....

I read Andrew's guest donut blog about the pier 39 donuts, and I'm kind of angry.

When I was in New Zealand, the mini donuts were a life changing experience. Between the two islands, I only found them in the very first city and very last city I visited. And believe me...I looked. I only found the second mini donut shop because I smelled it. Kristen and I were walking through a mini-mall and the smell hit me. I got so excited I nearly lost bowel control. We were right next to a bakery, so I turned and stepped inside...and the smell ceased.

"They're not here...we must keep looking!"

I returned to the promenade and followed my nose a few doors down. Heaven again. Lightning in a bottle.

Then, on Kristen's birthday (last Thursday), I went to pier 39. I saw the mini-donut shop. And I didn't buy them. Because that smell was absent. I walked all around the shop, searching for that haunting fragrance. Nothing. I stuck my head as close to the window as I could, and still nothing. I saw some people buying and eating them, and they didn't look quite as sparklingly brilliant as the New Zealand ones. So I didn't buy them, because I couldn't risk putting mediocre mini donuts in a mouth that had tasted such sublime excellence.

And then today I checked your blog, saw that post, and wondered if I had missed out on more lightning in a bottle. And now I'm conflicted and therefore, as I mentioned above, angry.

Miss you brother. Take care!


Dunlap’s Donuts - Santa Cruz, CA

Overall Shop Rating: 4 1/2 NadasDunlap’s Donuts, known to my friends and I as 38th donuts, is perfectly located on the corner of Portola and 38th Ave. It’s a few short blocks from the popular surf spots known as the Hook, Pleasure Point, and 38th Ave, which makes this the regular stop after surf sessions for my friends and I. Honestly, there’s not much better than tasty fried sugary dough after paddling around for a couple hours in 50 degree water. I’ve always loved the servers there. I believe it’s run by a cambodian family and I’ve enjoyed seeing some of their kids grow up over the years (I’ve been going here for a long time).

Vibe of the Shop: 5 Nadas
This is the perfect donut lounge scenario. donuts in the middle, seats all around. No matter what time you get there, there’s a big possibility 2 to 3 older guys will be sitting in the corner talking about the good ol’ days. On this day my friends, Travis, Josh and I were trying testing out our "old man" legs... The gentlemen next to us weren't very keen on us sitting so close to them while the rest of the shop was empty. :)

Outside Appearance: 4 1/2 Nadas
I love the quaint look, the location, and ample parking, but I wish there were some tables and chairs outside so that one could soak in the sun while enjoying a sugary morsel.

Hours: I’m not sure the exact hours, but I do know that they are open earlier than you want to be awake, and they stay open til at least 8 at night. Definitely not 24 hours.

Service: 5 Nadas
Every time I go in the lady named, Linda, serves with smile… either her or her son, who is also super cool.
Taste of the Glaze Donut: 4 Nadas
Honestly I’ve had better, but these donuts are still really tasty. It has good moistness/fluffiness/density ratio and the glaze is not too thin and not too overbearing.

Blueberry Donut: Yessssss!!!! And actually this is the blueberry donut that I use as the standard for all others. I believe that this is their strength. It could be that a blueberry donut is the perfect post-surf snack, though.

Special: The decorations in the bathroom are interesting.

View Larger Map
advertise here
advertise here
advertise here
advertise here