After Thursday's dinner at Saigon, I had a stop to make near Lake Merritt before returning to the City. As we drove along Grand and Lakeshore, Dave spotted three donut shops saying, "wow, what a great neighborhood!"
So, rolling out of China Village on Friday around 11pm with Dave and Solly in tow, I suggested we beat it to Kingpin while the donuts were rolling out of the fryer fresh and hot. On this sweltering night, Durant Ave. was milling with students and there was a pretty long line outside Kingpin.
Dave's a cake donut guy. I recommended that Dave try whatever was hot at the moment, which turned out to be raised donuts. More warm than hot, we took the first tentative bites - tender and soft but with more substance than KK's puffballs, nearly crumbling apart at the touch - and Dave proclaimed, "these are way better than cake donuts."
We headed over to Dream Fluff on Ashby to find a taste-off candidate, but it was closed at this hour.
Back in the City, after dropping off Dave at his hotel, I drove past Bob's on Polk on my way home. There was a parking space right in front at midnight - surely this was a sign welcoming me in for a taste comparison. It was packed inside. The counter man confirmed that the raised glazed were hot and fresh now - usually 1am on weekdays and midnight on weekends. I gushed, "This is great, I was just over at Kingpin in Berkeley". He replied, "Oh, they're number 2 in the Bay Area, we're the best donut!" Still hot, the raised glaze here had a nice crispness to the browned exterior, yet there was a bit of chewiness that made it seem almost tough compared to Kingpin's.
Kingpin wins this one.