The Great San Diego Donut War

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 3.618% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I never thought it was possible to breathe sugar.  Yet each exhale had the sweet scent of powdered sucrose, I had overdosed on pastries, my heart thumping, and yet people were bringing me slices of donuts as I signed books, asking me to judge which was better, asking me to eat more sugar.

This was San Diego.

It started out innocently enough – I wasn’t sure where to go out to eat, and a dear friend of mine said, “Go eat at Extraordinary Desserts so I can live vicariously through you!”  Some Googling revealed they also had meals – we had a sandwich – but the desserts.  Oh my God, the desserts.

Donut frenzy

Donut frenzy

So we ate as much as we could of these delicious, delicious cakes, and then set out to…

Buy donuts?

Yeah. I was pretty full already, but it’s a tradition for my book tours – when I come, I bring donuts. (Because donuts represent all that is good and right in my ‘Mancer series. There’s even a guy who reads your personality through your choice of donut. Yeah, it’s a weird series.)

So I had asked my readers, “Where’s the best donuts in San Diego?” and a fight had broken out. Some said The Donut Bar had the best donuts in town – hell, they were routinely judged the best donuts in the country, they’d been written up on The Food Network, you gotta try them. But of course there was the locals’ pushback, saying Donut Bar was overrated, everybody goes there, why would you go there when there were such better donuts?

I sympathized.  (Cleveland has a famous grilled cheese bar called Melt that I find similarly overrated, and I keep having out-of-town guests who want to try it.)  Still, I figured trying the world-famous donuts would be what I wanted, so I set out there.

Except these donuts weren’t world-famous.  They were world-sized.  Check out how big these donuts were compared to my hand:

Donut frenzy

So my friends and I tried the donuts, drinking the delicious chocolate milk they also had, and I was full to brimming but hey, there was a signing. We packed up the donuts.

A dozen Donut Bar donuts were like carrying freight cargo. They couldn’t fit a dozen of these bloated donuts into a single box – we had to haul three boxes, balanced precariously, more pastry than a man had a right to.

I hoped attendance was brisk.

Yet as I was on my way to the signing, I checked into my donut thread and discovered that a reader was so enraged by my going to The Donut Bar that she was going to bring donuts from the better donut place, VG Donuts, the working-man’s donut of San Diego.

And then I had forgotten what town it was, this was San Diego, and there was a tradition of my internet friends Frito_Kal and Technophobia bringing homemade cupcakes to the signing – and these cupcakes were ‘mancer-themed, with green rock candy designed to imitate Flex, and last time the cupcakes I’d stored away had melted in the trunk so I had to try them –

Donut frenzy

– and they were delicious cupcakes but I was getting a little overdosed on sugar now between the stomach full of delicious cake and big thick Donut Bar donuts and delicious fried VG donuts and now the cupcakes and I couldn’t not have them, that would be rude and also when do I pass up donuts, but it was getting to the point of either passing up donuts or passing out and also Mysterious Galaxy, the bookstore, was getting very worried because they were running out of table space to put all these goddamned donuts –

Then came the reading. That was good! I could do nothing but listen to J. Patrick Black read from his new book Ninth City Burning, and read from my new book Fix, and I didn’t have to eat any donuts –

– except as I was starting my signing, someone burst through the door with two bags’ full of donuts, saying, “I HEARD THERE WAS A DONUT COMPETITION, AND I AM HERE TO PROVE THAT {LOCAL DONUT COMPANY} IS THE BEST!”

I wish I could tell you which donut store it was. They were pretty good. But at that point my pancreas was melting.

And when we were done – donehere is a picture of all the donuts we had left over, after about thirty people showed up and ate voluminously:

Donut frenzy

(The best donut was, predictably, VG Donuts. Hipster donuts like The Donut Bar are good, but yeah, once again, the working man’s donut won out.)

And don’t get me wrong: I was grateful for everyone who brought their own donuts to champion their cause. People should be passionate about donuts. Donuts are life. Donuts are joy. Donuts are a beauty to behold, and there’s a reason donuts save lives in my ‘Mancer series.

But that night, I ate a turkey sandwich and skipped dessert.

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