In Search of a Quiet West Side Coffee Shop

Intelligentsia Coffee
Intelligentsia Coffee in Venice

Although I work mostly from home, a large residential construction project next door this summer has pile-driven me out of the house. Therefore, I’ve been searching for the perfect West Side coffee shop in which to work. While this subject has been picked before, and others have their own considerations, I have a challenging qualification to add to the  basic requirements of tasty coffee and free WiFi: the place has to be kind of quiet.

Before you ask, I’ll answer: (1) Yes, I’ve tried local libraries. Have you  been to one lately? Loud talking and even cell phone chatting is now standard practice. (2) Yes, I own noise-cancelling headphones, and use them frequently. (3) Yes, I realize that coffee houses have a long history as places of lively conversation. (4) A real office or shared workspace? Yes, I’ve thought about it. But how’s their coffee?

Here’s what I’ve tried so far:
Continue reading “In Search of a Quiet West Side Coffee Shop”

Donut Summit 2011 Postmortem: Limerick Edition

Author of winning donut limerick
James P and his Jesus clock award, which keeps both accurate time and your immortal soul

As part of the second annual Donut Summit yesterday at Elysian Park, we continued in the tradition of fine pastry-inspired wordsmithing in the form of haiku and limerick. With more than a baker’s dozen of submissions to the contest, Donut Summit attendees had ample opportunity to savor each other’s images and rhymes. We asked for a show of applause to select from the top three submissions (two haiku and a limerick), and a the limerick entitled The Babysitter by James P won out by just a few confetti-colored sprinkles. Click past the jump for a taste of this delicious fritter.  Continue reading “Donut Summit 2011 Postmortem: Limerick Edition”

The Pinnacle of Donut Summits

Joker Beethoven
Joker Beethoven, Jesus, and Justin Bieber all showed up

How awesome was yesterday’s Blogging.la 2nd Annual Donut Summit? A picture is worth a thousand words, so you can look at the pics after the jump and judge for yourself.

We had enthusiastic attendees (I estimate at least 100). We had the creative Blogging.la crew, especially Alexandra and Lucinda whose production and organization were off the charts. We had expert celebrity judges. And we washed it all down with stellar Intelligentsia Coffee. Yeah, it was something special.
More pics after the jump

Donut Summit 2011: THE WINNERS!

There will be more post-Summit posts (with lots of photos!) to come, but first, a few thanks, and then the winner!

Thank you to the whole team here at Blogging.LA who helped put together a fabulous Donut Summit, and also to our friends and family who helped out at the event as honorary Donut Marshalls!

Thank you to everyone who came and made the event a HUGE success.  We had about 55 entries in total, from donut shops all around LA county, and we want to thank everyone who came and contributed to the donut feast.  YOU made this event awesome!

Thank you to our celebrity judges, Jenn, of JustJenn Designs; Shelley, the Frygirl; and Billy, the 99 Cent Chef, for sharing your donut expertise!

Thank you to Intelligentsia, our coffee sponsor, for providing delicious iced coffee to temper the sugar shock of SO MANY DONUTS.

And now…the winners!

Donut Summit 2011
Golden Donut Awards! Courtesy of Frazgo

 

Best Raised Donut:  Monterey Donuts (5930 Monterey Rd, Highland Park)

Best Cake Donut:  Philippe’s The Original  (1001 North Alameda Street)

Best Donut Filling:  The Donut Man’s fresh peach-filled donuts (915 E Rt 66 Glendora)

Best Fritter:  Earl’s Donuts (20429 Devonshire St, Chatsworth)

Best Frosting or Glaze:  Monterey Donuts

Best Chocolate Donut:  California Donuts’ Chocolate Chip Bar (3540 W 3rd St)

Most Visually Appealing:  California Donuts

Most Unconventional:  Homemade vegan donuts, baked and brought by Jill Rogers

Roundest Donut: Philippe’s the Original

Worst Overall:  Tang’s Donuts (4341 W Sunset Blvd)

Best Vegan Donut:  The Righetous Fryers

Judges’ Choice Award:  Stan’s Donuts’ peanut butter-filled (10948 Weyburn Ave)

Best Overall Donut – THE 2011 DONUT KING: Babycakes (130 East 6th Street)

Timelapse: Donut Summit

Well, hell yeah: Blogging.la put the DO in donut again with its second annual Donut Summit, taking place in Elysian Park this afternoon. I’m a bit light on most of the details like winners and such, but I do know there was an awesome turnout, an amazing array of excellent donuts to taste, along with games to play and poetry to enjoy. Coveted frosted golden-donut trophies were given out for a variety of donut categories (included the California Donuts Chocolate Chip Bar I submitted that won Best Chocolate Donut) as determined by the eaters and this year the event also welcomed an esteemed panel of foodie experts who voted Stan’s Doughnuts of Westwood its Judge’s Favorite (Stan’s peanut butter-filled chocolate donut is just simply an amazing and inspired confection).

While most of my timelapsing comes from a POV of the front of my bike as I pedal whereever I go, but for Donut Summit 2011 I decided to memorialize the bulk of the afternoon by setting up the cam overlooking our stomping grounds, condensing roughly the three hours between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. down to about six minutes of donuttiness. Hope you enjoy.

There Will Be Donuts

Forklifted a dozen of California Donuts’ famously infamous Chocolate Chip Bars this morning from the Koreatown branch on Third Street to be entered into the unofficial Most Decadently & Unabashedly Chocolatized Donut category  at today’s Donut Summit (only half of the 12 pictured; Ranger dog included for scale):

California Donuts' Chocolate Chip Bars
Crap photo courtesy my iPhone's cam with the Blur This app. Biggably blurable when clicked.

Wanna taste? Make haste!

Donut time: SO CLOSE!

I ate a donut,

It filled me with sugary joy!

Yummiest food group.

I am up late practicing my donut poetry skills, and I hope that you are doing the same, because much glory and honor will be bestowed upon the one who delivers the most wonderful donut haiku and/or limerick at the Donut Summit.

We are super excited for you to join us tomorrow for our donut potluck feast!  Bring your friends, bring your family, and, most importantly, BRING YOUR DONUTS!

Donut o’clock is 2pm.  We’ll be at picnic area 6 in Elysian Park.   See the map below – we’ll be near Grace E. Simons Lodge, at the intersection of Chavez Ravine Rd. and Elysian Park Drive.  Once you’re in the park, look for our donut signs, or follow the signs to Grace E. Simons Lodge, and we should be easy to spot.  There’s a parking lot right next to our picnic area, but be sure to arrive early to make sure you get a spot!

View Donut Summit, 2011! in a larger map

Juuust In Time For Donut Summit: Chowhound Controversy!

So a Chowhounder whose screename is “kauma” posted a topic earnestly titled “Donut Summit: Who’s Going?” yesterday. It and the ensuing short if surprisingly snarky and dismissive comment thread was discovered and passed on by one of my fellow B.la contributors.

When I checked it out I found the first commenter, “Mattapoisett in LA” who decided to get critical equating a few typos found in one of our posts as somehow indicative of a lack of organizing skills. His skills at spotting mistakes was promptly applauded by “kauma.” Then commenter “sushigirlie” responded to that saying it seemed “pretty telling that they couldn’t get the donuts shops to donate donuts.”

In defense of the awesomeness of tomorrow’s event and the triple-deckered phenomenality of everyone here at Blogging.la who’s chipped in and pitched in to put this thing on, I posted what I considered to be a fair and untrollish rebuttal, replete with wink at the end in the form of a typo-laden twist on a biblical reference, because, yeah, that’s how I roll. Sometimes.

Checking back awhile later to see if anyone responded I found something magical must have happened because my comment was nowhere to be found in the thread. A dubious poof: had it been a posting failure on my part or had someone in that thread closed to opposing points of view (and/or snarkily cliché’d twists on bible quotes) intentionally deleted it?

So I decided to re-post, trying to get as close as I could to my original thoughts. After it, too, successfully posted, I took a screencap (after the jump; click it for enhanced readability).

Continue reading “Juuust In Time For Donut Summit: Chowhound Controversy!”

The Second Annual Blogging.LA Donut Summit: BRING IT.

Lemur Eating a Donut
via eclectech.co.uk

With the donutpocalypse rapidly approaching, we all know you don’t want to be left holding your crullers. So tell us, dear readers: which donut shops will you be passing by on your way to this summer’s hippest event? Here’s a brief list of some of the places we hope to see represented:

  • Randy’s Donuts (Inglewood)
  • Dale’s Donuts (Compton)
  • DK’s Donuts (Santa Monica)
  • Kindle’s Donuts (Westmont)
  • Donut King II (Gardena)
  • The Donut Hole (La Puente)
  • Tasty Donuts (West Hollywood)
  • Bob’s Coffee and Donuts (Farmer’s Market)
  • Stan’s (Westwood)
  • Angel Food Donuts (Long Beach)
  • WenDy’s Donuts (Venice)
  • California Donuts (Mid-City)
  • Spudnuts (Canoga Park)
  • Primo’s Westdale Donuts (West LA)
  • Gladstone Donut House (Pasadena)
  • SK’s Donuts (Mid-City)
  • King’s Donuts(Alhambra)
  • Royal Donuts (Westchester)
Planning on stopping by any of these places? Have another place you’re going to hit instead? Let us know in the comments.

Even Beethoven is excited for the Donut Summit, you guys.

Due to circumstances that are somewhat convoluted and silly, this weekend, I had, in my care, a bust of Beethoven that had been painted to look like the Joker.  The only way to really explain this is just that sometimes, Joker Beethoven just…happens.

My friends and I did what anyone in LA should do when you have someone visiting, and brought our esteemed guest, Joker Beethoven, to Randy’s Donuts, for the Greatest Photo Opportunity that Has Ever Been Staged:

Joker Beethoven is super excited for the Donut Summit.  He think’s Randy’s apple fritter is totally going to be Donut King.

The donuts are coming!!! Donut Summit FAQ, 2011 edition

Are you excited for the Donut Summit yet? WE ARE SO EXCITED FOR THE DONUT SUMMIT!!! And so are the lovely folks at LA Weekly and Flavorpill, who were both so kind as to give us a shout out.

With the Donut Summit just a week or so away, on July 31, we wanted to address a few oft-asked questions about the ins and outs of the Donutocalypse:

1.  What will happen at the Donut Summit?
It’s going to work a little something like this:

– The festivities kick off at 2pm. So, from about 2-2:30, we’ll have Donut Registration. Just show up with your Donuts, check in with our illustrious bloggers, and we’ll make sure your donut box is clearly labeled with the name of your donut shop.

– Once everyone’s donuts are registered (so, by about 2:30), donut tasting will begin and will last until about 3:30. We’ll have donut tasting stations set up, and we’ll provide you with a ballot for voting on your top donuts. Be prepared for a DONUT FEEDING FRENZY!  Hand sanitizer and napkins will, naturally, be provided to deal with the ensuing stickiness.

– Once all of the ballots are submitted, we’ll tally the votes! While vote tallying is going on, you lucky people get to hang out with Metbloggers, and there will be fun and games!  Rumors have been flying about donut pong, donut bingo, and, after the outstanding success of last year’s donut haiku contest…donut limericks!

– At around 4:30, after tallying your votes and consulting with our expert judges, we’ll crown the Donut King!
(Please note that all times listed above are approximate and subject to change!)

 

2.  Where is the Donut Summit?
In Elysian Park, in picnic area 6, near the intersection of Elysian Park Drive and Chavez Canyon Road.  We’ll be in the are close to Grace E. Simons lodge, which has free parking available.  Hey, look, a map!


View Donut Summit, 2011! in a larger map

3.  Where should I bring donuts from?

Anywhere! From Winchell’s to Spudnuts to Stan’s to your own kitchen – it’s all fair game. Last year, we put together a short list of local donut shops to give you some ideas, but don’t feel restricted to that list.

4.  How many donuts should I bring?
One dozen per party, please!

5.  What’s going to happen to any leftover donuts?
While we would have liked to donate any leftover donuts to a local food bank or soup kitchen, we haven’t been able to find any local organizations that are willing to deal with perishables (but if any of you, dear readers, do know of a local charity who might be interested, please let us know). So any extra donuts will be sent home with Donut Summit attendees in donut doggie bags, so you’ll have breakfast for the week! And there are lots of tasty things to be done with leftover donuts: you can do donut bread puddingdonut trifledonut french toast, and I, personally, an an advocate of the refried donut – just throw a stale donut into a non-stick pan and the inside will get soft and the glaze will carmelize and go crispy, and it will become the most delicious thing in the world.

I am practicing my donut-eating skills for the Donut Summit RIGHT NOW with an amazing maple old-fashioned from Randy’s.  What are you doing to get ready for the Donut Summit?

 

Announcing our Donut Summit Celebrity Judges!

We are very excited to have assembled a crack team of Donut Experts who will be serving as celebrity judges at the Donut Summit!  The judges will vote in all of our voting categories (more on those soon!) and will also select a donut to win the Judges’ Choice award.

Our expert donut judges are:

Billy Vasquez, The 99 Cent Chef

The 99 Cent Chef’s blog is one you should be following, if you don’t already – it’s a tasty ode to cheap, creative cooking, largely using stuff you can find on the shelves of your local 99 Cent Store.  Our own Frazgo interviewed the Chef a few years back, and you can read his interview here.  Billy has been blogging and posting how-to recipe videos since 2006, when the writer’s strike inspired him to help people eat on the cheap.

And when it comes to donuts, the 99 Cent Chef doesn’t mess around.  He took on the heavy hitters and made his own Krispy Kremes in the video below, which, at current count, has over 160,000 youtube hits:

Jenn of Just Jenn Designs and Just Jenn Recipes

Jenn is a designer (if you don’t love her big bundts greeting card, you probably don’t have a soul) and a food blogger, and certainly knows her way around a donut or two.  From tasty plain baked donuts,  to chocolate sour cream donuts; from mochi donuts, to strawberry milk donuts, Jenn has written some of the most creative donut recipes I’ve seen.  And I am completely in love with her totally cute coffee and donut cupcakes!!

Shelley, the Fry Girl

We loved Fry Girl donuts at last year’s Donut Summit!  Shelley has a portable mini-donut maker, and you can hire her to do donut catering for events and parties.  Her donuts are tiny, homemade, melt-in-your mouth taste explosions (and I do not use the phrase “taste explosion” lightly), and they took home awards last year for Best Yeast-raised donut, Most Visually Appealing, and Most Unconventional donut.   Since Shelley’s donuts were such a big hit, it seemed only natural to have her back this year as an expert donut judge, and we are really glad to have her.

And, of course, we want to thank Intelligentsia for providing us with coffee to help the judges cleanse their palates between bites of donut.

A Little Donut Man History

Photo by Burger Baroness and used under a Creative Commons license.

Just in time for our upcoming Donut Summit, the LA Times last week published a great story on the background and history of last year’s Donut King, Donut Man.  Owned by third-generation Japanese American Jim Nakano, Donut Man opened in 1974 with Nakano manning a fryer and his wife, Miyoko, taking care of the order window.  The rest is donut history:

With the treats came lore: Roy Rogers ordered a buttermilk bar before heading out on hunting trips. Elvis Presley, a jelly man, sent his karate instructor to pick up raspberry-filled doughnuts.

The tidbits are fascinating: Nakano was born in Boyle Heights and was only 2 when he and his family were sent to internment camps in Poston, Arizona:

Continue reading “A Little Donut Man History”