Guilty Pleasures

A Bag of Doughnuts Takes Brunch to the Next Level in Downtown Phoenix

Eating doughnuts out of a paper bag, as it turns out, could be your next Sunday brunch highlight.
Eating doughnuts out of a paper bag, as it turns out, could be your next Sunday brunch highlight. Patricia Escarcega
The Guilty Pleasure: Bag of Doughnuts
Where to Get It: Cocina 10 at the Crescent Ballroom
Price: $4
What it Really Costs: An embarrassing group selfie featuring an unflattering image of you stuffing your sugar-encrusted mouth with mini-doughnuts, which will live in perpetuity on Instagram. But it'll be worth it.

Every now and then, a new brunch dish comes along that gives you one more reason to count down the days until Sunday morning.

In downtown Phoenix, and more specifically, the Crescent Ballroom's Cocina 10 kitchen, that newest brunch sensation comes inside a slightly crumpled paper bag.

It's a bag of doughnuts — or donuts, if you prefer. No matter how you spell it, the central fact about this dish is that you will find yourself reaching into a brown paper lunch bag, tossing back spongy, sugar-encrusted fried dough with reckless disregard for your blood glucose levels.

The bag comes with five house-made mini doughnuts, which are made fresh to order. If you think about it, that's a lot of luxury for $4. Simply uttering the phrase "Bag of Doughnuts" to your server will yield, minutes later, a modest feast of sugar and fried dough.

These doughnuts are both baked and deep-fried, with the slight heft of a cake doughnut, and the melty allure of a yeast doughnut. They are tossed with a blend of cinnamon and sugar inside the brown paper bag, and paired with a shrunken-down, .88-ounce jar of Nutella. Do these particular doughnuts need Nutella? Not really. They are lush and impeccably rich and sweet all on their own. But Nutella has become something like bacon. People like to put it on everything. Different strokes, and all that.

The most apt comparison in terms of flavor are Mexican-style churros, shimmering in cinnamon and sugar. These doughnuts offer the same degree of joy as a well-made batch of churros, freshly out of the deep fryer. There is the same pleasantly gritty texture of sugar grains dissolving on your tongue and sticking to your fingers. Like I said, it's a lot of luxury for $4.

The bag of doughnuts at Cocina 10 are available during the kitchen's weekend brunch service. Sometimes, though, they are available during the week. If you really want your fix, it's wise to call ahead to make sure there will be a bag of doughnuts at the other end of your drive.
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Patricia Escárcega was Phoenix New Times' food critic.