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Valley Life | restaurant review

Hole World

March 24, 2000|MAX JACOBSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Valley's first Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise is great theater. For starters, it's just north of one of this planet's most ethnically diverse intersections, Sherman Way and Van Nuys Boulevard, so you may hear Spanish, Vietnamese and Arabic as you wait in line.

And while you wait, you can watch Krispy Kreme's "original glazed" doughnuts being made by the hundreds in a Rube Goldberg contraption.

The doughnuts pop out of a shaping device four at a time, then roll through a bath of hot oil before being lifted onto a conveyor where excess oil is air-blasted off them. The critical step is applying the light sugar glaze.

From there, it's a quick trip into the mouths of customers, who stampede in as soon as the "Hot Donuts Now" light is lit. Original glazed is the style to get, by the way--they come to you hot and fresh, while all the rest sit cold and greasy in the display cases. I inhale a couple of original glazeds with a large mug of the chain's vaunted 100% Arabica coffee, and I have to admit they are addictive. They have a creamy soft texture and weigh in at around 160 calories apiece.

Now I understand why a friend who lives in the high desert offered me a crisp $20 for two dozen and why another friend promised some real North Carolina 'cue in exchange for a box. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts were a secret of the mid-Atlantic and Deep South until recently.

But you can't call this health food. I asked the manager for a nutritional breakdown. One customer threw in his two cents. "These doughnuts have the four most important food groups," he deadpanned, patting his belly. "Sugar, salt, starch and grease." What, me worry?

BE THERE

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, 7249 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys. Open daily, 6 a.m.-midnight. No alcohol. Parking lot. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa. Suggested dishes: glazed doughnuts, 70 cents apiece/$4.99 per dozen; 100% Arabica coffee, $1.09-$1.59. Call (818) 908-9113.

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