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December 6, 2010 6:02 AM   Subscribe

Going to San Francisco for three days and want to try the best vegan doughnuts money can buy.

I'm on a stop-over in SF 24-27 December and will meet up another expat on vacation there. Rumour has it the streets flow of soy milk and agave nectar, so I imagine that awesome vegan doughnuts are abundant. Please advise on where to go. Much obliged.

Rider request: My ethically challenged friend would appreciate hints on "some normal goddamn doughnuts" in San Francisco as well.
posted by monocultured to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Philz Coffee on 24th St at Folsom, a few blocks east of the 24th St BART, carries vegan donuts. Also, really goddamn good coffee.

Another few blocks east, on 24th at York, is dynamo donuts. They do not have vegan donuts, and their donuts are also not normal (bacon maple-glazed; chocolate rosemary almond; banana de leche; passion fruit), but they are among the best donuts I have ever had.

There is a normal-donut donut shop on 24th at Van Ness (you'll see it before you get to Philz, if you're coming from BART). They make their donuts there, and they are good.

why oh why do I know so much about donuts and why are there so many so close to my house? It is a terrible thing, I tell you.
posted by rtha at 6:32 AM on December 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

This is not SF, and not donuts. But I'm expanding your question to "best vegan pastry money can buy in the Bay Area" and telling you that if you should find yourself in the East Bay, you want to go to Cinnaholic in downtown Berkeley. They have awesome vegan cinnamon rolls. (Even your ethically challenged friend would eat them. I know this because I am ethically challenged myself.)
posted by madcaptenor at 7:15 AM on December 6, 2010

The donut shop at 24th and Van Ness is called Jelly Donut, btw. They have a variety of cake and non-cake donuts, and they make them throughout the day. I always liked their French crullers especially.
posted by rtha at 8:33 AM on December 6, 2010

Seconding stopping at Jelly Donut before you head a block east to Dynamo, so you can have something to eat while you stand in line.

Pirate Cat Radio has decent vegan donuts as well as a single (famous) non-vegan item, the Bacon-Maple Latte. You can both be happy.
posted by kcm at 8:52 AM on December 6, 2010

All the donuts I've been able to find in SF are from Pepple's Donuts in Oakland. You can go to their site and get a list of stores and restaurants that carry them: http://www.pepplesdonuts.com/locations

Now if you're looking for vegan cake, I can point you to some great bakeries...
posted by bikergirl at 10:11 AM on December 6, 2010

Personally, I think dynamo donuts are overpriced, gimmicky, and not particularly good. Jelly Donut is legit, but hands down the best donuts in the city are Bob's, on Polk. If you're nightowls, show up after midnight and eat donuts as they come out of the fryer. Their apple fritter is a work of art.
posted by juliapangolin at 10:11 AM on December 6, 2010

Pretty much all the vegan donuts in the City, including Philz, Riual, Herbivore, Rainbow, and dozens of other places, are the ones made by Pepple's/People's. Quite honestly, I am not a fan, but if you're vegan and haven't had a donut in years, they might be satisfying. As a non-vegan who likes to bake really good vegan pastries and desserts, I am always bummed that I have been suckered into buying a good-looking, but ultimately sad-making donut. Worth trying though, if you are not as fussy about baked goods as I am.

I think madcaptenor's suggestion of Cinnaholic is a much better choice for vegan goodness. That place is awesome, well worth the BART trip.

On preview, I also agree with everything juliapangolin says.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:24 AM on December 6, 2010

Response by poster: My interest in doughnuts comes mostly from childhood memories of homemade ones my granma used to do, but years of Simpsons has perverted this memory into something with pink sparkly bits, and veganism limits my experience with said pink bits, so the craving grows, distorted. One has visions.

Cinnaholic sounds like the good, and it seems straightforward to get there from where we're staying (Union Square) but I'll certainly stop by a Pepple's and be made sad if time's short.

Bikergirl, I am not att all averse to the idea of this vegan cake you speak of.
posted by monocultured at 11:45 AM on December 6, 2010

To get to Cinnaholic is quite easy. Walk to a BART station (probably Civic Center?). Take the first Richmond or Pittsburg train.

If you get a Richmond train: get off at downtown Berkeley.

If you get a Pittsburg train: take it to 19th Street, Oakland. Then get off the train; a Richmond train will be waiting across the platform. Take that train to downtown Berkeley. (Seriously, this is almost as easy as the one-seat ride. Changing trains on BART is pretty idiot-proof; it took me a few tries to believe this, but it's true.)

When you get off BART: head east (i. e. towards the hills) one block to Oxford Street. (Seriously, this is how I navigate in Berkeley: I look for hills, they're basically always east.) Cinnaholic is on Oxford, close to where you'll emerge; depending on which exit you take from BART it might be north of you, might be south, I'm not sure.

However, Cinnaholic is small and I'm pretty sure they have something like two employees. Around the holidays, I'd call to see if they'll be open first.

(Also, now I want a cinnamon roll. Maybe I'll stop there on the way home from work tonight.)
posted by madcaptenor at 2:40 PM on December 6, 2010

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