Main Course

Doughnuts for Groughnups

Andrew Burton / Getty Images News

Glazed Donut Bistro is a cafe that recently opened in West Hollywood, California with a crazy menu of sweet and savory doughnuts, many served with dipping sauces and paired with – or containing -booze. They’re part of a trend that’s elevating the humble breakfast snack to a sophisticated dish, and then taking it even further by offering doughnuts as a main course.

Rico visited Glazed’s chef, Gina Laura, to learn the doughnut basics and taste test some unusual uses of the confection.

Rico Gagliano: How did you develop the sweet side of the menu?

Gina Laura: By taking desserts that are common favorites of everybody and turning it into the doughnut. For instance, tres leches cake we turned into a doughnut. We turned a drink, the blackberry mojito, into a doughnut. So it’s just the challenge of taking something so simple and turning it into something over the top.

Rico Gagliano: I was looking at your menu and I noticed it’s divided into cake and yeast raised doughnuts. And I think almost instinctually I know the difference between those two things. I’ve probably encountered them my whole life, but tell me what the difference is between those two.

Gina Laura: A cake doughnut has a higher sugar percentage and is much more dense. The nice thing about the cake doughnut is we can take lots of different ingredients and infuse it into the batter. We have these cinnamon chips that we’re gonna be putting into vanilla and make a cinnamon crumb. It’s almost endless. If I had it my way we’d be making new doughnuts all the time but Harry tries to keep me reeled in because sometimes I go a little bit nuts.

Rico Gagliano: Harry, of course, is the owner of this place. If you had limitless time, money and energy, what would be your king doughnut?

Gina Laura: Oh, that’s hard. I don’t know, there’s so many. Actually for Valentine’s I said, “Hey let’s get some gold leaf.” And they go, “No, it’s $250 a thing, no we’re not doing that, we’ll go with gold dust,” which we never got around to but maybe next time.

Rico Gagliano: So you’ve got the cake doughnut on the one hand and then the yeast…

Gina Laura: The yeast raised is much more lean. So less fat, less sugar, and it’s leavened with yeast so it’s much more fluffy. It has a different flavor, it has that fermented flavor from the process.

Rico Gagliano: That tends to be the one I see when you do a jelly doughnut, it has a filling.

Gina Laura: Those are yeast raised. They’re light, they have a pocket in the center, you can fill them.

Rico Gagliano: The thing that really drew me to this place is the savory doughnuts that you have. You are taking it to a totally different place. Oh my God, so, here is one of them. I ordered the shrimp doughnut and it’s got a cream sauce on it.

Gina Laura: This is our take on the lobster roll, so we did a little bit of mayo and sour cream and lemon juice and pickles and capers and herbs. And then what’s on top is a sriracha sauce

Rico Gagliano: What happened in your mind that you were like, “Let’s make a lobster roll doughnut”?

Gina Laura: Honestly I’ll tell you what happened in my mind. We had to have some items on the menu that could be sold with beer and wine. So, I figured if I can make a maple-bacon doughnut, I can certainly make a shrimp roll, I can make pulled pork sliders, using the same dough.

Rico Gagliano: Now, before I dig into this, that was the other thing that’s interesting. You paired doughnuts with beer and wine.

Gina Laura: We have some good beer and wine too.

Rico Gagliano: And you have doughnuts with alcohol in them?

Gina Laura: Yes. We do this really cool thing with these pipettes. I don’t know if you’ve ever put eye drops in your eyes with the little squeezers. So we fill those with alcohol and we use them for the mojito doughnuts and for all different doughnuts. Let’s say it’s an orange chocolate doughnut, we might be Cointreau in the pipette and they squeeze it on.

Rico Gagliano: So it’s not just a mojito flavor. You actually have booze in it.

Gina Laura: Yeah, hell yeah. Doughnuts for grown ups.

Rico Gagliano: For real. So I’m looking at this shrimp roll doughnut. What would you pair that with?

Gina Laura: I think I would pair that with a nice dry white wine. But I could drink beer with that too.

Rico Gagliano: The thing that makes it hard for me to understand is that douhnuts already seem so heavy to me that putting alcohol on top of it seems…

Gina Laura: These doughnuts are really light. Those are yeast raised, they’re light, so I don’t think you’re gonna see an issue with it when you take a bite of that.

Rico Gagliano: All right, let’s take a bite of this. It does really look like a lobster roll. I guess it’s a oval-like shape, the doughnut.

Gina Laura: It’s a ‘Long John,’ that’s what it is. Very mildly sweet. That’s why we can pair it with savory ingredients.

Rico Gagliano: And on top you’ve got these chunks of shrimp.

Gina Laura: We made the chunks of shrimp bigger so it’ll look sexier.

Rico Gagliano: It’s both sexy and a little scary because I’m so unused to seeing creamy things on top of a doughnut. All right, here we go. Wow, that makes a ton of sense in my mouth.

Gina Laura: Good. If it makes a ton of sense in your mouth then we’re on the right track.

Rico Gagliano: The thing that’s really interesting about this actually is that the doughnut is not as forward as I would expect it to be. It’s more like a blank canvas.

Gina Laura: The doughnut is a vessel. It is like a blank canvas that you are adding things to and putting things on so that’s why the yeast raised doughnut is so great because it’s so neutral. It’s not too sweet, it’s not too salty. So you can really do anything with it.

Rico Gagliano: It’s almost like an especially rich roll.

Gina Laura: Exactly. It is kind of a lean roll dough, actually. You could bake it and make a sandwich roll out of it.

Rico Gagliano: For some reason my head leaps to next Thanksgiving. Could you imagine a turkey doughnut with gravy?

Gina Laura: Definitely. A turkey stuffing and cranberry sauce inside of the dough, like the whole works.

Rico Gagliano: We’ll be back in a year.

Gina Laura: I’ll be waiting.