Sugar Rush: Doughnuts at Abbe's Donuts in Port Charlotte, FL
As much as I love a complicated, multi-component, modernist dessert, it's really tough to beat a fresh, old-school doughnut, and that's what you'll find at Abbe's Donuts. The North Port location of the family-run pair of shops has been serving up sugary deep-fried dough and friendly conversation for over three decades, while the second location, in the Port Charlotte Square shopping center, recently celebrated its 1st anniversary.
Inside, they've got all of the standards: jelly-filled powdered doughnuts, glazed cake varieties, and raised doughnuts with maple and chocolate icing. But once I locked eyes on the apple fritter ($1.25), ordering one was a foregone conclusion. It dwarfed everything else in the case, and practically glistened with glaze.
The fritter (which was still warm) contained big chunks of apple, and, most importantly, had the ideal texture: soft on the outside, with a crunchy crust. You could pull off sugar coated chunks of dough, in search of the soft, baked apple bits, or just attack it in big shark-sized bites and hope to land on an apple nugget.
Another worthy option is the peanut butter cream (90 cents), a yeast doughnut that is fashioned like a whoopie pie, with a sweet peanut butter spread between the two doughnut halves and some chocolate glaze on top.
It's a bit like eating a super-sweet peanut butter sandwich, so much so that I was craving a little bit of grape jelly to squeeze on top.
The shop also whips up a special "doughnut of the day". In the past, flavors have included pumpkin eggnog, carrot cake, cinnamon french toast, and cranberry orange. With so many doughnuts to choose from, I'd go in prepared to try at least three different flavors—and don't be surprised if you can't get out of the store without an even dozen.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax