Monday, August 29, 2011
Fōnuts are here! That seemed to be the prevailing sentiment this week as fans of pastry chef Waylynn Lucas flocked to her new doughnut emporium and bought everything in sight leaving the shelves bare. The concept from Lucas and her partner Nancy Truman is doughnuts that are baked not fried. Lucas, who established a reputation as one of the premier pastry chefs in Los Angeles as the head pastry chef at the 4 starred The Bazaar by Jose Andres, the whole SLS hotel and 4 star Patina Restaurant, is finally her own boss.
Lucas (above) and Truman not only bake their doughnuts fresh daily but offer a variety of flavors that are gluten-free. Lucas mentioned that Truman can't eat gluten and so they sought to offer baked goods that were just as good as ones containing gluten. The flavors are not your ordinary corner doughnut shop but rather both sweet and savory and use natural ingredients. Sweet options such as Chocolate Hazelnut, Lemon, Strawberry, and Rum, are joined by savory selections such as Rosemary Olive Oil, Maple Bacon and Chorizo Cheddar. The doughnuts are priced between $2.75 and $3.75, which is not your corner doughnut shop pricing either.
I sampled the rum, strawberry and chocolate hazelnut (all above) varieties. The important thing to note is that although they are in the shape of doughnuts, they are more like cakes, as Zach Brooks of MidtownLunch recently noted. The rum was my favorite as it reminded me of the Baba Au Rhum I once tasted at Alain Ducasse in New York, except not quite as boozy. The fōnuts are light, significantly lighter than typical "cake doughnuts". The strawberry practically oozed strawberry flavor.
If you are craving doughnuts, than I do not think that a fōnut will scratch that itch, as it is a faux doughnut, anymore than eggplant "caviar" will satisfy your urge for sturgeon roe. However, I think fōnuts should be judged as their own category of pastry, and as such have a solid niche in the pastry firmament of Los Angeles. The fōnuts are selling like hot cakes (pun intended) and the shop will be closed Monday & Tuesday to rebuild inventory and prepare for the onslaught of week 2. The shop also sells LaMill coffee, which is a significant added bonus.
Fōnuts: 8104 W. 3rd Street @ Crescent Heights, Mid City. Phone: (323) 592-3075. Website: www.fonuts.com