Here at L.A. Weekly, we once raised the question: Even at its worst, is a doughnut ever really bad?
With the recent rise of the artisan doughnut, though, spearheaded by the arrival of Portland's Blue Star Donuts in Venice and Costa Mesa's Sidecar Doughnuts in Santa Monica, the better question to ask might have been: Even at its best, how amazing can a doughnut be?
At the recently opened Donut Farm, you'll find vegan doughnuts made with certified organic ingredients, served inside a bare-bones former doughnut shop in a Silver Lake strip mall. Donut Farm is the first L.A. spinoff of the popular Bay Area–based bakery and café Pepple's Donuts, which started in 2007 and now boasts retail locations in Berkeley, Oakland and inside the San Francisco Ferry Building. At one time, Donut Farm supplied doughnuts for NorCal Whole Foods before parting ways with the grocer.
Most of Donut Farm's doughnuts cost around $3 — although the jumbo-sized fritters made with seasonal fruit run a bit more — and its coffee bar features drip coffee and cold brew using organic beans from McLaughlin Coffee, espresso drinks made with coconut milk, plus hot chocolate, matcha, lemonade and iced teas.
As you might expect, doughnut flavors shift daily based on what's in season (Donut Farm takes its supply chain pretty seriously). On a recent visit, options included chocolate coconut, vanilla cookie, candycap mushroom, orange creamsicle, whiskey tangerine, lavender Earl Grey, roasted red chili, salted caramel and a coffee-flavored Philz Coffee doughnut.
So how do the doughnuts themselves stack up? Despite the absence of butter and milk, these are real, bona fide doughnuts (unlike the baked “donutlike” bundt cakes at Fonuts), and on average they tend to be less sweet than the variety you'd find at nearby favorites like Echo Park Donuts or Daily Donut in Los Feliz. If you're not a fan of cake doughnuts, the dryish, crumbly variety here might not do much to change your mind, but the raised doughnuts boast the proper fluffy texture. The biggest winners were the two-fisted fruit fritters, which come in flavors such as banana or blueberry and offer that rush of fried sugary decadence without being too heavy — maybe even enough to convince yourself that you're eating a healthy breakfast.
Donut Farm, 2609 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; (213) 755-7549, pepplesdonuts.com.