Randy's Donuts(Photo by Bret Stetka)

Prepare for some big dippers at Randy's Donuts.

Randy's Donuts (Inglewood, Calif.)
805 W. Manchester Ave.
(310) 645-4707

The doughnuts at Randy's are as immense in stature and flavor as the big-screen personas and SUVs crowding the streets of L.A. These plump rings come in standard sorts like glazed, jelly-filled and devil's food and are eclipsed in size only by the massive 22-foot doughnut on the shop's roof. This sugary megalith has been featured in numerous movies and music videos and can been seen from the sky when touching down at LAX -- a sort of symbolic gateway to the doughnut capital of America. (There are nearly 900 doughnut dealers in L.A. County.)

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Cafe Du Monde (New Orleans)
800 Decatur St.
(504) 525-4544

Likely the oldest doughnuteria in America, this French Quarter coffee shop has been serving chicory-spiked, New Orleans-style coffee and fresh beignets since 1862. Cafe Du Monde's flagship location on Decatur Street was unscathed by Katrina and continues to fry some of the most flavorful French-style doughnuts around. These puffy squares of airy dough come crisp and warm and support a hearty mountain of powdered sugar -- all while proudly serving as the official state doughnut of Louisiana.

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Top Pot Doughnuts(© Mike Hipple, hipphoto.com)

Top notch dunkers at Top Pot Coffee & Doughnuts.

Top Pot Coffee & Doughnuts (Seattle)
Multiple locations

In a city bursting at the seams with coffee shops, it's no small feat that Top Pot has won over nearly every breed of Seattle-ite. According to the shop's Web site, "tattooed hipsters, soccer moms, the business elite and retirees" all unite under one roof, seeking aromatic java and homemade doughnuts. The downtown location is a must-see: a sleek and modern design with retro accents, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a towering glass storefront. Sunlight pours in, illuminating classic doughnuts like glazed, maple and powdered as well as more fabulous varieties like the Pink Feather Boa, a plain cake doughnut topped with bright pink frosting and coconut shavings.

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Doughnut Plant (New York)
379 Grand St.
(212) 505-3700

This artisanal doughnut dealer on Manhattan's grungy-chic Lower East Side was started in 1994 by native North Carolinian Mark Israel and has been heralded ever since by critics and foodies for its high-quality, fresh ingredients -- the dough is made with spring water -- and eclectic flavors like the Elvis-inspired peanut butter glazed with banana cream filling, the rose petal glazed and the coconut cream. Israel recently defeated Iron Chef Bobby Flay in a doughnut-making duel on Flay's Food Network show Throwdown with one of my all-time favorite doughnuts, the Tres Leches -- a rich and creamy cake doughnut made from evaporated, condensed and whole milk modeled after the traditional Mexican cake of the same name.

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