For me, eating donuts is like time travel. As soon as the glaze hits me, I enter a nostalgic time warp where I experience the same level of joy as I did as a kid, munching on a donut and getting sprinkles all over the back seat of my parents’ car. In San Diego, donuts aren’t nearly as plentiful as my homeland, but there are some gems. And last weekend, I was lucky enough to have a tour guide to one of the longest-standing fried dough emporiums in the county: Star Dust Donuts.
I got a good feeling about the place right away. The tiny, beat-up building looked like it hadn’t changed in decades, and there was already a line forming (including the driver of the Porsche, who arrived more than an hour early, but stuck around until the shop opened). It’s funny how when a place is this run-down, it can be a bad sign — but for burgers and donuts, it’s often the exact opposite. Seeing the sad state of the sign (which was in jumbles and no longer legible) immediately made me feel confident that the donuts were going to be great.
Of the ten or so options, I chose a glazed, raised chocolate, coconut, buttermilk twist, and on Darlene’s insistence, a cinnamon roll. Initially, I wasn’t too keen on the last item (particularly because I was betting on eating all of the doughnuts myself), but after watching everyone in line ahead of me order at least 6 of them, I figured there was good reason.
It was immediately clear why: instead of being made with the standard dough (which I love, but is also sugary enough to knock me out), they’re made with the same dough as the rest of the donuts, which makes them significantly lighter. You get the same flavor, but without the crash and burn effect. Good stuff.
My other two favorites were the raised chocolate and the buttermilk twist. I’ve never seen a chocolate yeast donut and this one was great: sweet, but not overpowering, and delish with a cup of hot chocolate. The buttermilk was the closest option to a cake donut (though they did have old-fashioned as well), and I liked how it was richer and more substantial than the rest. The glazed was tasty as well, but the coconut wasn’t anything special. The flavor didn’t really shine, so it just felt like a glazed donut with dry flakes on it.
No matter what you order, I highly recommend heating up your donuts in the microwave for about 12 seconds before eating (especially if you try the buttermilk twist).
If you’re making the trek, it’s best to arrive early because lines are common and service can be fairly slow. The problem is, the hours of operation are best described as irregular.
Yeah… that really clears things up.
Star Dust Donuts
698 Hwy 75