Monday, October 10, 2011
No Fry Zone: (fōnuts)
Fonuts, or (fōnuts) as the proprietors spell it, is a shop on West Third Street that sells non-fried doughnuts (i.e. faux-nuts, get it?). It's hard to understand what would make someone make a non-fried doughnut. The first guess might be that they would do it for health reasons, but given that these are decked out with thick, syrupy toppings, filled with creams and even sprinkled with bacon, I'm thinking this wasn't a health decision. Whatever the reason for the decision, they should reconsider.
Like most doughnut shops, Fonuts has cake and yeast varieties. The cake do fine, they are cake after all. The unfried yeast doughnuts have a taste and consistency similar to Portuguese sweet bread. It's not offensive but it doesn't have the yeasty zing of a good yeast doughnut, plus that type of bread has a perpetually stale mouthfeel.
It's sad because the toppings at Fonuts are remarkably good. The Hawaiian doughnut is a round yeast doughnut filled with an almost mousse like coconut cream with a strong coconut flavor; it's rolled in powdered sugar and just a touch of salt. The sugar/salt/coconut combination is unexpectedly brilliant. The salted caramel doughnut has a wonderfully thick caramel topping with a creamy consistency. The maple bacon doughnut has a white glaze which tastes more of vanilla than maple and a nice sprinkling of bacon; it catches the sweet/smoky/salty balance exactly without any unwanted grease. The PB&J has a rich, dark filling with a strong burst of peanut butter. While they run quite sweet, the flavor combinations are wonderful and are clearly made with great care. The problem is that they lose out to the flat flavor of the bread. While eating them, I couldn't help but think, my God, this would make a really great doughnut, like Doughnut Plant great. Eating at Fonuts is like living a pastry tragedy.
I get that this is an innovation or gimmick (the difference can be hard to tell), but please Fonuts, get a fryer and make us some real doughnuts.
8104 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048