The Great Food Search: Donuts!

Jun 22, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Food Fun, Reedley News, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, The Great Food Search

by Terrance Mc Arthur

Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities.

Note to Self: Never try to sample four donut shops in one day…again.

It seemed like an easy assignment: get six different donuts from each of four donut shops, sample each one, and compare them for flavor and quality. Sounds easy, right?


After munching through the wares of two shops from Reedley, I had the sugar shakes so bad that I had to wait twelve hours before I could even look at the baked goods from the two Sanger shops. My daughter tried to help, but, even with gulps of milk between samples and taking extra insulin, she gave up and didn’t get through it all.

Donuts from Doughnuts To Go in Reedley

Donuts or doughnuts, it’s still a fried piece of dough. The origin of the hole in the middle has inspired many legends, including the sea captain who stuck them on the handles of the ship’s wheel to have them handy for eating when he had the time. I lean toward the theory that they were always uncooked in the middle, so cutting out the center helped them cook more evenly. Anyway, let the competition begin!

Where I Went

City Donuts, 1347 E. Manning Ave., Reedley. Squeezed into a mini-shop in a micro-shopping center next to the center that houses Big Lots, it’s a grab-and-go kind of place.

Doughnuts to Go, 1145 11th St., Reedley. A wedge-shaped building, there are tables and chairs outside, and lots of seating space inside.

Sam’s Donut Shop, 1811 Academy Ave., Sanger. At the south end of town, donuts have been served there forever, it seems. My late #1 father-in-law used to spend his mornings in there, gabbing with other farmers and veterans.

Sanger Donuts, 1847 Jensen Ave., Sanger. It used to be in a building at Academy and 7th, but that was torn down, so they moved to a former military recruiting station with weird parking, a half block from the library. When I walk to work, I have to pass it. Oh, the horror!

It surprised me to realize that I went to them in alphabetical order, but I guess obsessive-compulsive disorder will show its head in unusual ways.

What I Bought

At each shop, I bought:
• 1 Cake donut—Your garden variety, unadorned, basic dunker.
• 1 Glazed donut—Sweet and slippery, they’ve always been my weakness.
• 1 Sugared donut—Dusted with grains of sugar, they get stickier with every moment.
• 1 Old-Fashioned donut—These are the ones that look like exploded shrapnel or a flower with a hole in it.
• 1 Maple donut—Dipped in a maple glaze, it’s like stuffing a pile of pancakes in your mouth.
• 1 Filled donut—Like a surprise package, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s opened.

Over the Teeth and Past the Gums, Look Out Stomach, Here It Comes!

City Donuts—The cake donut was sturdy, crying out for milk. The glazed mooshed nicely, and the sugar donut was soft and fluffy. The old-fashioned was glazed, but not too sugary. The maple had a Mrs. Butterworth taste, and the chocolate-frosted filled was mooshy with a rich, creamy filling, but the layers were coming apart.

Doughnuts to Go—The cake was flavorful, and the glazed had a strong glaze over a good dough. The sugar was dense, and sugared on both sides. The old-fashioned was crunchy, with a serious glaze, and the maple shouted “Sugar! Sugar! Sugar!” at every bite. The filled featured a nice strawberry jam.

Sam's Donuts in Sanger.

Sam’s Donuts—The cake was plain, with a good texture; it isn’t anything special, it just is. The glazed was fluffy and yummy, while the sugared was light, comparable to City’s. The old-fashioned was solid and substantial, singing out, “I am donut, hear me roar!” The maple had a thick, sweet frosting, and the filled had a chocolate coating over a smooth crème filling that was really good.

Sanger Donuts—To tell the truth, I can’t make much sense of my notes; my pen-hand was shaking too much by then. There was a friendly cake, a puffy glazed, and a lip-smacking sugar donut. The old-fashioned had blueberries in it and a light glaze on it. The maple was fluffy and soft, but not super-sweet; having less frosting was a good thing, at that point. The filled exploded with raspberry flavor, tasty and tart.

The Verdict

And the Winner Is…I’m not sure who the winner is, but the loser was me! I gained several pounds. It took hours before I could go to sleep, thanks to my sugar high, and I was difficult to be around for another day, before I finally calmed down. To tell the truth, they all served up stuff that will raise your blood sugar and kick-start a morning. I would single out the City filled if you have lots of napkins, DTG’s double-sugared sugar donut, the chocolate-coated filled at Sam’s, and the blueberry old-fashioned and the raspberry filled from Sanger Donuts.

Sanger donuts...Those are blueberries in the old-fashioned.

Happy Eats!

Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He lives in Sanger, four blocks from the library, with his wife, his daughter, and a spinster cat.


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