There are many reasons to love San Diego. Not only has it become known as the city of perfect weather, but from restaurants to microbrews, San Diego is at the tip of the spear for all things creative and awesome. Linda Dami, co-owner and baker at Donut Panic, is continuing this tradition with an interesting array of vegan donuts that are rapidly growing in popularity. With flavors like Rosewater Cardamom, Chili Lime Mango, and Earl Grey, odds are you’ve never tried anything quite like this.
Inspired early on by “Vegan with a Vengeance” by Chandra Moskowitz, Linda taught herself to bake at age 12, and was especially interested in bold, original creations.
“I like the challenge and creativity” she says of why she focuses on vegan baking.
Are Vegan Donuts Healthier?
People who choose to lead a particular dietary lifestyle like vegan do it for a wide variety of reasons, but for non-vegans who may be interested, how much healthier are vegan donuts than their non-vegan counterparts?
“Well… they are fried, so they’re not the healthiest things in the world. But since they’re not made with eggs or any animal products, they don’t have any saturated fat!”
Rise in Popularity
The people who are interested in Linda’s vegan donuts are not the typical donut connoisseur. “We get a lot of young people with tattoos and musician types; also a lot of cyclists and athletes” she explains. In fact, when Donut Panic was too far out of the way for UCSD’s Tour de Donuts to include in their event, they had them ordered specifically and brought in. To be recognized as a “must-have” in a city with hundreds of donut shops, bakeries, and cafes suggests that there’s something unique going on at Donut Panic.
Beer and Donuts?
Ever since her vegan donuts were noticed by Modern Times brewery, opportunities have been piling up for Linda. These include beer and donut pairing events at local bars and a guest teaching engagement at SDSU’s Craft Beer Program. While the idea of pairing beer & donuts is new to most, the concept is the same as in wine and cheese pairings. Different tastes are more naturally compatible with each other, and with the wide range of flavors available, there’s a perfect vegan donut for every beer. For example, the Salted Caramel Vegan Donut pairs nicely with a Belgian Dubble (spelled that way intentionally), while the Maple Bacon is a perfect complement to a Scotch Ale. The ultra-sweet Chocolate Ganache balances out the bitterness of a bold Stout, and the list goes on to include dozens of donut/beer combinations.
Current Flavors & Future Plans
Linda’s list of more than 20 flavors, at least half of which you wouldn’t find in any other donut shop, is ever-expanding, and includes options like Salted Chocolate with Pretzels and Lime Coconut. When asked if she’d expand her vegan baking talents beyond just donuts, she confirms that donuts are just the beginning.
“I want to make vegan cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, bread, and Persian deserts like baklava and bameih.”
If Linda has her way, then San Diegans who appreciate unique, low-fat food have a lot to look forward to. Check out Donut Panic at 6171 Mission Gorge Road, Suite 113. Vegan donuts are available on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings.
To help Donut Panic with necessary expansions, such as upgrading equipment and adding an espresso service, they accept donations; for more information, contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Guide to Vegenism: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/vegan.htm
Yelp Reviews for Donut Panic: http://www.yelp.com/biz/donut-panic-san-diego