Homer Simpson sold his soul to the devil for one, 30 Rock's Liz Lemon loves putting them in the microwave, and on the first Friday of June each year, we celebrate their very existence. It's the doughnut. While readily available at bakeries and shops, snatching one up at a Valley restaurant is a bit more tricky. That's why we created this list of 10 of our fritter-wth-the-food favorites -- in case you get a hankerin'.
Maple Bacon Doughnut from The Oink Cafe
Calling bullshit on the Baconpocalypse, this new breakfast and lunch spot in Paradise Valley puts America's meat candy in and on just about every dish on the menu -- including a most excellent doughnut. Called the glazed maple bacon and meaning every word of it, this fork-necessary fritter arrives warm, moist, and cake-y with a sweet maple flavor that mixes nicely with a generous topping of crispy, salty bacon pieces. Some of the servers might tell you it won the New Times best doughnut award of 2012 (they're wrong; that distinction went to the last restaurant on this list), but we'll forgive them, since this place will also put bacon in your coffee.
Also called malasadas, these deep-fried treats, popular in Hawaii because of Portuguese immigrants who brought them when they came to work on the island's plantations, are doughnuts sans the hole. Available at two of the three eateries owned by DJ Fernandes, they're crunchy on outside, fluffy on the inside, and topped with granulated sugar for a sweet, yeasty, and pleasingly greasy bite.
Bomboloni from Cowboy Ciao
The rest of the world may call them "Italian filled doughnuts," but at Peter Kasperski's go-to restaurant in Old Town, they're also referred to as a "fancy doughnut situation." And why not? Dressed up with a filling of tart berry jam, a dusting of sugar, and a side of delectable creme fraiche dipping sauce, these light-as-air treats, served fresh and warm, are decidedly decadent.
Bunuelos Cubanos from Mimita's Cuban Cafe
Doughnuts with a twist? If they're bunuelos Cubanos, you can be sure of it. Served up at this friendly Cuban eatery in Chandler, the fried dough, containing cassava, is stretched and twisted into a figure eight then covered in a lusciously light anise syrup for a wonderfully sweet, licorice-like flavor that goes beautifully with a shot of café Cubano.
Beignets from Amuse Bouche
It may not feel exactly like the famous Café du Monde in New Orleans, but this unassuming little eatery in Surprise serves up some seriously delicious beignets worth the gas money to get there for. Available only on Sunday (the one day of the week the restaurant serves its stellar breakfast), this trio of fat French fritters, popular within New Orleans Creole cuisine, arrive fresh and hot, sweet and crispy, and coated in a snowfall's worth of powdered sugar you can't wait to leave your mark in.
Vegan Doughnuts from Pomegranate Cafe
Those eating vegan are most likely familiar with Marlene and Cassie Tolman's cheery little eatery in Ahwatukee. And if Marlene happens to have made a fresh batch of vegan fritters that morning, most of them know to get there early before they disappear. Made with zero corn and using all-natural ingredients, these vegan delights are scratch-made fresh and come in a variety of flavors and tastes. Perfect for the fall season.
Zeppole from The Parlor
Pizza and a pastry or two? It can happen at this beauty-parlor-turned pizzeria in Central Phoenix. After a stellar pie, don't miss the Italian delicacy known as the zeppole. Depending on the season, the light, deep-fried dough balls (rolled in sugar for a bit of crunch) can be made with ingredients like mixed berries, cherries, and sweet corn. And dipping sauces like lemon poppy jam, butterscotch, and Maker's Mark bourbon mascarpone, make this treat all the sweeter.
House Made Doughnuts from Cafe Bink
Taste doughnuts from a James Beard Award finalist at this cozy spot in Carefree courtesy of chef Kevin Binkley. Available all day, every day, Binkley's house-made fritters, both doughnuts and doughnut holes, are nothing short of sheer bliss. And with three types of accompanying dipping sauces -- salted fresh caramel, rich dark chocolate, and decadent vanilla crème angelaise -- sharing might be out of the question.
Churros from Tacos Atoyac
At this bare-bones taco shop in north Central Phoenix, these well-known Mexican snacks are served up just as tasty and crazy-cheap as the dead-on delicious Oaxacan food. Sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnut, these long, ridged pastries are served up hot and fresh and with a crunchy outer coating. Inside (bonus), there's a creamy center and just to make them especially noteworthy, they're drizzled in honey.
Pof-pofs from Fu-Fu Cuisine
Inside this comfortable West Phoenix African restaurant, headed up by chef Esther Mbaikambey, hide a most rare and deliciously addictive find: Nigerian doughnuts. Called pof-pofs, they're the size of baseballs and have a lightly sweet taste, like a dense doughnut hole. Made to order using simple ingredients -- flour, sugar, butter, and nutmeg -- Mbaikambey deep-fries them into dumplings of goodness that can be eaten at the restaurant or taken home and drizzled with honey or chocolate syrup.
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