Why Winchell’s when it could be someplace with some buzz, like Frittelli’s in Beverly Hills, or Donut Man in Glendora or Stan’s in Westwood? Or at least someplace with huge fake donut on it? Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I have never been to any of those places. You could even say that my donut credentials are a little weak. I’ve had Krispy Kreme, I’ve had Honey Dew, and Dunkin Donuts, I’ve eaten donuts that came from a supermarket back east a million years ago – they were about as far from a Winchell’s donut as you can get; no icing, crispy on the outside, they were amazing. But Winchell’s was where I went as a kid. I must’ve eaten a million donut holes to celebrate school birthdays, usually white cake with sugar icing and sprinkles in green, orange and yellow. These were good, but better were the chocolate with chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles (donuts of this persuasion were infinitely better than those that were chocolate with chocolate icing but no sprinkles.)
My dad used to take us on Saturday mornings, while my mom got to stay in bed just that little bit longer. We would run our hands over the plexiglass booths, a yellow that was shiny and dense and appealing. There were trays of donuts with their tidy, repetitive round shapes, their centers puckered with colored icing and sprinkles. We were charmed by the possibilities – coconut, jelly filled, strawberry, but we always got the same ones, if they had them. My brother got plain with white icing and sprinkles (of the afore-mentioned green, orange and yellow – why no blue, Winchell’s? WHY NO BLUE?), and I got the chocolate with chocolate icing and sprinkles. We would squirm into the slippery yellow booths, eating with such gusto that we managed to shower sprinkles all over the fake wood surfaced tables. To this day, when I pass the Winchell’s in Studio City, I get a little stirring of excitement.