Living in Los Angeles, it's hard not to think about doughnuts. In the time it takes to drive from home to work, you'll most likely pass the glowing yellow signs of the big chains; mom and pop stands in every other shopping center; and a growing number of fashionable shops with their fancy fonts and promises of $3.50 gluten-free doughnuts.
But if you're looking for a really good, classic apple fritter, do you know where to go?
In the world of doughnuts, apple fritters are the creme de la creme. The doughnut that rivals all other forms of fried dough. It's the star, shining brighter than the glazed twist, the old fashioned and the crumb in your pale pink doughnut box.
And the best apple fritter may be at a small doughnut stand in Arcadia. Monarch Donuts is located in between a Korean tofu house and Taza Coffee on Huntington Drive, just down the street from the race track.
This is is not a flashy designer doughnut shop. The stand opens at 4 a.m. and officially closes at noon but runs out of doughnuts long before then. I once walked by at 9 a.m. to find most of the front window display empty. It was not a good day.
The apple fritter at Monarch Donuts is a classic apple fritter. Its exterior is a glossy landscape of hardened icing over hills of sweet dough. Every inch is covered in prized crunchy nubs you may or may not spend five minutes tearing off. And you will take the time to lick the icing off your fingers.
When you bite into the center, you find the pillowy soft dough flecked with cinnamon and barely sweet. And there are generous bits of tender apple throughout the middle. This doughnut will charm you with every bite.
Because doughnuts are like baguettes, you need to eat them close to when they're made. So go early, or call ahead. There's no shame in asking to put a doughnut on hold.
Got a favorite apple fritter? Let us know in the comments below. We want to try it.
15 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, (626) 446-5740.
My spirit animal is a doughnut monster. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_