Chai Brioche Doughnut at Arlequin Cafe, San Francisco

[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

Usually I don't buy doughnuts at coffee shops—when you're relying on delivery or a once-a-day kitchen preparation, they're almost inevitably dried out and stale. But the treats at Arlequin Cafe in Hayes Valley are typically top notch, and the Chai Brioche Doughnut ($2.50) looked pretty moist from where I was standing. Not to mention chai, brioche, and doughnuts are three of my favorite things. How could I not?

The doughnut didn't disappoint. The dough was soft and squishy with buttery layers—explaining the name, this is a tender brioche that's shaped like a doughnut and fried. The exterior had a light sanding of sugar which, to my happy surprise, leant the treat most of its sweetness. That's right: no cloying cream middle here. The interior chai-flavored cream was milky and spicy but not particularly sweet. The spiced flavor was undeniably that of a chai mix, and I might steal this idea to make a similar sweet at home. Arlequin serves excellent Sightglass coffee and I'd recommend getting a cup to pair.

Arlequin Cafe

384 Hayes Street, San Francisco CA 94102 (map)
415-626-1211; arlequincafe.com

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