The whiplash love affair that New Yorkers have had with Dominique Ansel's famous Doughssant That Shall Not Be Named (first they can't get enough, then they bemoan the lines, then they listen excitedly as Ansel discusses his next confectionary mash-up) has only made mild waves here in Los Angeles. This has always been a doughnut town, but our own cross-cultural fusions normally don't extend much further than the occasional odd Chinese food and doughnuts shops.
Occasionally a new player enters the market, offering $3 rounds of glazed and fried dough in such unique combinations that the city rubs their morning eyes and takes notice. The latest such shop is Glazed Donut Bistro.
Billing themselves as "donuts for grownups"—ya hear that, little rascals?! No more standing on each other's shoulders inside your grandfather's trench coat and pretending to be adults!—this West Hollywood shop collected crowds instantly for their beyond-basic approach to doughnuts.
On any given day, the rotating mix might include the Bourbon Pecan Pie, pictured above, which litters a yeast doughnut with candied pecans and a sugary bourbon glaze. There's the Stumptown Coffee, a chocolate cake doughnut dipped in its own caffeinated glaze and topped with full coffee beans. Or the Carrot Cake Pineapple, which is topped with ribbons of candied carrot and injected with a pineapple cream cheese. For further effect, dipping sauces built on booze, like a hard cider reduced in brown sugar and butter or a Rogue double chocolate stout, can be added to an order.
But what's really been running up the wait times at Glazed Donut Bistro is the hand-written savory menu board. As a shop that aims to be all things for all people (assuming anything a person could want would somehow involve doughnuts) several lunchtime offerings bring meat, cheese and even shrimp into the equation, which reads roughly: salty thing people like + doughnut (???) = PROFIT!!!
The Missed Piggy is likely the tamest of the bunch, using a semi-sweet brioche mini doughnut to encase a few spoonfuls of BBQ pulled pork. The sauce is already slightly sweet and laced with vinegar, so a little more sugar doesn't seem too out of place. The same can be said for the Monte Cristo, which is close enough in its more traditional form that wrapping the affair in a doughnut just makes good business sense. But it's the fried chicken wrapped in beignets that seem to have everyone clucking. The idea—that thin boxes of delicate beignet dough could encase a perfectly crispy nugget of fried chicken—sounds like the stuff of mouthwatering science fiction, and has pushed Glazed Donut's hype to near Ansel-ian levels.
Folks come early and often for a shot at the savory conglomeration, though post-chow results are often mixed. It's hard to keep a perfectly crisp fried chicken exterior when it's held inside a quickly-frying bit of sweet dough. And the included side sauce, which one day might be a thick spicy honey maple and another a thin syrup dashed with too much cinnamon, tends to add to the mess of execution as much as the mess on your fingertips. Still, the idea that such a thing could exist has been more than enough to routinely cripple Glazed Donut Bistro's website and force them to close up shop early after completely selling out.
One final mention must be made of the Shrimp Roll, a shudderable blend of fresh shrimp soaked in dill, tarragon, onions and capers, then scooped into the split top of an untoasted Long John doughnut. Mash-ups are one thing, but trying to connect the dots between room temperature shrimp, briny capers, and a cold, sweet doughnut is a bridge too far. You show me an innocent grownup that likes this doughnut, and I'll hold them down and keep peeling away their rubber masks, Scooby Doo style, until the true villain underneath is found.