Doughnuts have a way of finding me, even when I’m in China.
While strolling along the wide boulevards of Chengdu, walking from one restaurant to the next, no doubt, The Astronomer and I stumbled upon Lozzi Donuts & Coffee. Even though I knew in my gut that these deep-fried wares weren’t worth my precious stomach real estate, curiosity got the best of me and in we went.
Lozzi’s brightly-lit and cutely appointed shop had me feeling hopeful about the doughnuts on offer. Each of the nearly three dozen varieties boasted awesome toppings and even more awesome names. “Banana James,” anyone? How ’bout “Fundy Talk”?
I was particularly intrigued by the savory doughnuts, “Spicy Fitness” and ”Mwat Fitness,” which were garnished with pork floss, but The Astronomer gave me a disapproving look and steered me in a different direction.
After much hemming, hawing, and perusing, I finally settled on two doughnuts that were presented in a neat box featuring Lady Liberty and a gramophone.
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You won’t find decadent French toast or overstuffed omelettes on the brunch menu at Echo Park’s Cortez, but what you will find, inspired Mediterranean fare, is quite possibly even better.
Marta Teegan, the owner of nearby green grocer Cookbook, opened Cortez after years of hearing from neighbors and customers that she really ought to have a restaurant. In the spirit of Cookbook, Cortez serves locally grown organic produce, sustainable seafood, and pasture-raised meats. The room is as simple and comfortable as they come.
My brunch-mate Kat and I sipped cava mimosas ($11) to start, a bubbly, zippy reward for enduring the horrendous traffic to get there.
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It’s been a banner year for Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman Jr., the husband and wife team behind Valerie Confections. The dynamic duo, who first introduced L.A. to their outrageously good toffee, jams, and petit fours in 2004 with their storefront in Silver Lake, have expanded to Downtown’s Grand Central Market and most recently, to Echo Park.
Valerie GCM opened in late May with weekday breakfast and lunch service, and introduced weekend brunch a few weeks later.
Whereas the Silver Lake shop is squarely focused on sweets, with the occasional savory hand pie available on weekends, Valerie GCM offers an updated take on the classic lunch counter slash coffee shop experience, fitting of its vintage environs.
On the two occasions that The Astronomer and I visited Valerie’s, the counter was humming but not bustling, which made finding a seat a breeze and service very much on point.
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Randy’s Donuts is famous for the gargantuan, doughnut-shaped sign perched atop its building on the corner of Manchester and La Cienega Boulevards in Inglewood. Designed by Henry J. Goodwin, the shop was originally part of the now-defunct Big Donut Drive-In chain.
For the past four decades, brothers Larry and Ron Weintraub have owned the 24-hour drive-through operation, maintaining the iconic signage with each passing year.
The shop offers deep-fried classics like old fashions, twists, and jelly-filled, as well as “Fancies” like apple fritters and bear claws. All are reasonably priced in the neighborhood of one dollar a piece.
For my inaugural trip to Randy’s, I brought along my friend Nastassia. Her passion for doughnuts rivals mine, so it was fitting that we visit this Los Angeles landmark together.
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