In case you aren't familiar with Donut Friend, they are a Los Angeles-based donut shop specializing in custom, build-your-own donuts, as well as having many delectable signature donuts to choose from. Most have adorably clever names based on bands, like their Jets to Basil, S'Morrissey, Fudgegazi, etc. Fun fact: The creator of Donut Friend, Mark Trombino, is a multi-platinum music producer, drummer, and recording artist, who has produced, engineered, and mixed tracks for artists including Jimmy Eat World, Blink-182, Finch, Motion City Soundtrack, and All Time Low. As a drummer, he has also recorded and toured with Drive Like Jehu, aMiniature, Night Soil Man, and First Offense. So now you know where all the awesome donut names come from!
Donut Friend is a true vegan donut mecca in SoCal. I've been lucky enough to try their donuts on several occasions (at the Vegan Street Fair and when generous friends decided to share their Donut Friend haul), but I've never actually been to their storefront in Highland Park! Shocking, I know!! Well, the Saturday after Christmas that all changed, as I set out on a vegan food adventure! I've already talked about my first stop that day, at Ramen Hood in DTLA, and my second stop was none other than Donut Friend (and my third stop was Organix).
I arrived to Donut Friend around 1:30 PM or so, and found it to be full, but not too packed, with donut revelers. After ogling all the drool-worthy donuts, of which about 99% are vegan (the few non-vegan exceptions include Nutellavision [since Nutella isn't vegan] and the Angry Samoa, which has non-vegan caramel on it, along with a few others that contain honey or dulce de leche - just ask if you aren't sure which are vegan). Don't quote me on this, but I believe that these few non-vegan donuts can actually be made vegan if you ask. A little birdie also told me that Donut Friend is converting all their donuts to be 100% vegan, which would be amazing! They've already come a long way, since they've veganized the majority of their donuts!
Anyway, onto the nitty gritty - for my first Donut Friend order I surprisingly didn't go too crazy and ordered the following:
Jets to Basil - Vegan cream cheese, strawberry jam, and fresh basil inside a traditional donut, topped with vanilla glaze and balsamic reduction ($4.00).
Stiff Little Butterfingers - A traditional donut with peanut butter and Just Like Honey inside, and chocolate glaze and crushed Chick-O-Sticks on top ($3.50).
Custard Front Drive - Donut Friend's version of the classic Bavarian: their traditional donut filled with Bavarian cream and topped with a chocolate glaze ($3.00).
Fritter Seems Forever - Fresh fruit is mashed into traditional donut dough and fried a little longer to achieve a dark, crunchy, and extra delicious exterior ($3.00).
And a custom donut with maple glaze with Bavarian cream on the inside ($3.00).
I tried them all minus the custom donut, which went to my friend, and they were all fantastic!! There are a lot of donut places in Orange County that serve vegan donuts (The Donuttery, Donut Bar, Cafecito Organico, Poqet Donuts), but none of them even come close to the deliciousness of the donuts at Donut Friend! All of the donut bases themselves were fluffy, pillowy, and moist. And the toppings were insanely good.
My favorite hands down was Jets to Basil - wow, what amazing flavor! Maybe I like weird stuff, but I could not get enough of the jam, basil, balsamic and cream cheese flavor! My second favorite was Custard Front Drive. I love cream-filled donuts, and their vegan Bavarian cream was dreamy. I could order a dozen of just the Jets to Basil and Custard Front Drive and be completely content!
The Stiff Little Butterfingers and Fritter Seems Forever were really good as well. Vegan apple fritters are hard to come by, so I was delighted with this one, and it had the right balance of apple and donut flavors, with a perfect crispy shell on the outside and a soft, moist inside! The Stiff Little Butterfinger was awesome as well - I wonder why I've lived so long without adding peanut butter to a donut!
Donut Friend is a must-visit for all donut-lovers in the SoCal area! They make THE BEST vegan donuts I've ever tasted and I can't wait to go back so I can try other flavors! Donut Friend is definitely worth the drive.
For more info, including store hours, please visit Donut Friend's site!