Highland Park’s Donut Friend is the place to go for a “personalized” donut experience. A personalized donut experience? What the hell is that? Let’s just say that the donut is treated like a nubian princess here: pampered and bedazzled with decadent delights from the four corners of the Earth. Basically, it’s like a Cold Stone Creamery for the donut freak.
Walking into Donut Friend is like walking into a childrens book. The huge mural on the wall is colorful and resembles a demented forest where everything has come to life (this is what you see in your mind’s eye when you partake of 10 days worth of sugar in one sitting). The donut staging area is clean, and all of the delightful toppings/syrups/sauces are laid out in plain view (no funny business).
It can be a little overwhelming for your first time, since there are so many options and you are forced to reimagine – and relearn – everything you know about traditional donuts (or “cronuts”, or filled, jelly donuts… all of which are offered) – even the fact that their traditional donuts are vegan! Fortunately, they offer their own house donut experiments, most of them named after bands: “Bacon 182”, “Fudgegazi”, “GG Almond”… Being a fan of puns and things that rock, I found their menu to be irresistible (except for the donut named “Jets To Basil”, featuring Goat cheese, strawberry jam, and fresh basil with a sugar glaze and balsamic reduction – I will need to work up the nerve to try this one, although the combination seems so crazy that it just might work). Now, when I see a band name, I try to think of how I can “donut-ize” it (monetization for the fried masses). I tried the “Gorilla Biscuit” (bananas and dulce de leche, topped with powdered sugar) and the “Coconut Of Conformity” (coconut cream with a vanilla bean glaze, toasted coconut, and lime zest). Both were excellent, although they were out of bananas and I substituted strawberries for my Biscuit instead. The Coconut donut was a masterpiece, presented so artistically that I instinctively inspected it 6 inches away from my face for a full minute, as if I was at a museum and pretending that I knew what I was doing. I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like (coconut). I do regret not ordering the “Donut Pudding”, but I will be back. If possible, bring your own coffee. I’m sorry, this is very tacky – and I’m NOT a coffee snob (I’ve been known to drink any type of “free” coffee, whether it’s offered in a meeting, or in an instant packet. 6-hours old and cold? No matter, that’s just a vintage iced coffee… without the ice), but I must say: “Donut Friend”, stick to the donuts and don’t treat coffee like your enemy. I could see straight to the bottom of the cup, and worse, it tasted like crappuccino. Otherwise, these donuts will always have a friend in me. Donut Friend is located at: 5107 York Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90065.