I'd been wanting to try Sidecar Doughnuts for some time. When I would check out their website, the flavors looked interesting and unusual, and let's face it, you can't beat a good donut. Yesterday I had to go to the Manhattan Beach mall to drop my phone off at the Apple Store for a new battery, and had to kill an hour while it was being done. I did some grocery shopping at the adjoining Ralph's, and then decided to try and find the Sidecar Doughnuts location at the mall.
I almost walked right by the shop, their signage is so small. It's also a very small place - there's no indoor seating. But I wasn't eating there anyway, so that wasn't an issue (they do have a few small tables outside). So how was my overall experience? I wish I was posting this as a rave, but unfortunately...not so much.
First thing I noticed as I approached the door was the sign informing me that Sidecar is a cashless business - always a turnoff for me. Especially when you consider that if you go in for just one donut, or one cup of coffee, you could be forced to use a card for an item that's less than $5. I just find it off-putting to be told I can't pay cash for a low-cost item.
I ordered two donuts: Meyer Lemon and Huckleberry. For some reason they don't have boxes, at least not for this small of an order, so each donut was packaged separately in individual plastic boxes. The guy waiting on me also did not offer me a bag to carry them out in. I thought it was odd that they would use such wasteful packaging for the donuts themselves, but not provide a bag. Also, the donuts are still warm, so as soon as they're boxed up, they start steaming up, which had me concerned that they would get soggy at some point. When I got them home I put them in the fridge so that wouldn't happen.
The donuts are also not cheap. The huckleberry was $4.75 and the lemon was $4.35. Still, the complete order was under $10 and I didn't appreciate the idea that I couldn't pay cash if I wanted to.
But how about the most important aspect? How awesome where these highly-touted donuts?
They were okay. Nothing special, just sort of there. I had the lemon one yesterday and am working on the huckleberry as I type this. They're okay. But what they are not are something I'm going to find myself craving. For four-five bucks per donut, they need to be spectacular and I just don't feel like these lived up to the hype.
Because I was heading back into the mall and the Apple Store, I didn't order a coffee. I might give it a shot next time I'm there (the laptop also needs a new battery, so I will be back soon) especially since they have peppermint mocha, something I'm a sucker for. But sadly I won't be back for the donuts.
Hopefully, when I get around to checking out the Randy's Donuts on Rosecrans they won't let me down like Sidecar did. Best donuts I've ever had? Golden Donuts in Arcadia. Little family-owned place in a strip mall on Foothill. I don't know what they do differently, but they make the best damn donuts I've ever had.