America's Best Doughnuts
Prepare for some big dippers at Randy's Donuts.
Randy's Donuts (Inglewood, Calif.)
805 W. Manchester Ave.
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.
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 notch dunkers at Top Pot Coffee & Doughnuts.
Top Pot Coffee & Doughnuts (Seattle)
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.
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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