These days, a maple bacon doughnut is about unexpected as the standard rainbow-sprinkled variety -- and in the midst of the red velvet craze, it's not surprising to find a fried rendition of the ruby cake amongst the glazed, the twisted, and the old-fashioned.
Still, though L.A. has been dubbed the Doughnut Capital of America, not every corner doughnut shop carries these and other non-traditional creations, so we've hunted down the best spots for unique high-end doughnuts: everything from green tea and orange pistachio to Fruity Pebbles and Irish car bomb. Oh yeah, we also caught a bite of the cronut along the way.
Fōnuts is everything one would expect from a Los Angeles artisan doughnut shop, from its happening location on 3rd, to its modern and upscale interior, to their large gluten-free and vegan menu. But, and this could be a contentious matter, their doughnuts are not fried. We do realize that by definition a doughnut is fried, but hey, this is L.A. and it's 2013 and there's room for expansion. Their strawberry buttermilk and and blueberry Earl Grey cake doughnuts, filled with fresh berries and glazed with an icing of restrained saccharinity, defy physics with a rich but airy texture -- unctuous and palatable in the same bite. Though the berry doughnuts are the stand-outs, honorable mentions include fresh rosemary and olive oil and chocolate hazelnut. And, given the unconventionality of the shop, it's not a surprise that the brainchild behind the concept is Waylynn Lucas, former executive pastry chef at The Bazaar. 8104 W 3rd St., Los Angeles; 323-592-3075.
The Nickel has become a real hot spot in the downtown hipster movement, but it's worthy of any Angeleno, transplant or tourist, high and low and of any age. They've been frying off a unique selection of doughnuts since 2008, long before most of the other shops on this list. Here you'll find an Irish car bomb doughnut sandwich with whiskey custard (and it is a bomb, the thing is double the size of an average doughnut), a standard raised doughnut smothered in Nutella and rolled in chopped hazelnuts, and a red velvet sandwich filled with whipped cream and chocolate chips. All of these doughnuts are made from brioche dough, except the red velvet, which gives them a texture heartier than the average yeast raised. They aren't dinky, so don't finish off those steak and eggs if you want to really savor them. 524 S Main St., Los Angeles; 213-623-8301.