17655 Harvard Ave.
Irvine, CA 92614
Ever since I was a little tyke I have loved donuts. Not only are they delicious, but they were part of my morning ritual with my dad while growing up. My mom and sister always slept in, so it would just be my dad and I left to fend for ourselves for breakfast. Sometimes he would make pancakes, but because he made so much noise making them, he would usually opt to just head to Winchell's or any other local donut shop to buy a dozen for us and my sleeping mom and sister.
He always let me pick out the dozen. I felt like a kid in a candy store, (okay donut store would be more precise). I knew all of my families favorites. My mom was partial to the crumb, my dad enjoyed the chocolate long john and my sister liked the rainbow sprinkle, even though she only ate the top part, the portion with the frosting and sprinkles on it. I loved every donut. I swear I could have eaten the whole dozen by myself, but my dad limited me to three, which usually meant the crumb, devils food, and the buttermilk bar would be my choices before I was cut off for my own good.
My point is, I still have a deep-rooted love for donuts til this day. As the years have gone by, my tastes in donuts have also evolved. I'm no longer satisfied with donuts that are offered in the bakery section of the supermarket. With the exception of an occasional Entenmann's, I don't get my donuts on the bread aisle anymore either. I do however perk up when I see someone at work bring in a pink box from one of the neighborhood donut shops.
In recent years I have become a big fan of the gourmet donut genre that has sprung up. I guess it was started when Sidecar Doughnuts opened up in Costa Mesa in late 2012. I consider these to be the gold standard of donuts I have tried, and I've had them numerous times in the six years they have been around, and they just keep getting better. Not that I have dismissed others. We briefly had the Donut Bar in Fountain Valley, and that turned into Crafted Donuts, which I have not tried yet, but I've heard good things. Just like I had heard good things about the shop I had chosen to visit on this day, Poqet Donuts in Irvine.
Poqet, which is pronounced like "pocket", has been around for coming up on three years now. My friend Danny and I had eaten lunch nearby and wanted to give this place a try. I was a little nervous because I know that as the day goes on in a donut shop or bakery, things get picked over and are less fresh. I knew we were pushing it showing up here at close to 2 pm, but we were met by a fairly full display case that featured a good assortment of their most popular flavors.
Poqet Donuts is a little different from their competitors because they also allow you to customize your own donut. You build your own donut masterpiece by picking the kind of donut you want to use, then add your favorite fillings and toppings to finish it off. It would be kind of cool to give this a try, but for now, Danny and I just picked the donuts that we wanted from behind the case, some for here, and some for his family waiting patiently at home.
Here's a quick overview of what we got, with the top picture being the ones that Danny was going to be bringing home to his family. The bottom picture is the ones we were going to try out in front of their shop. Let's take a closer look at each, and our thoughts on them.
First out of the box for us was this Oreo Cookies and Cream ($3). This used a slightly glazed donut as its base and was then topped with plenty of Oreo cookie crumbs and it was finished off with piped cream over half of the doughnut. This was not as sweet as I was expecting and it really did not convey the Oreo cookie vibe I had hoped it would. I think the problem was that the cream was only over half the donut, so there were only half the bites that kind of resembled America's favorite cookie. A more spread out cream would have made this more enjoyable.
As I stated above, one of my favorite donuts growing up was the crumb, so we had to give this Vanilla Coffee Cake Donut ($2.75) a try. Glad we did. This was a very good rendition of one of my favorite donuts growing up. Plenty of cinnamon crumb topping, a nice crunch to the outward donut portion of this, and it was soft and moist on the inside. The sweetness was toned down a bit by the cinnamon, which was a nice touch. One of the better versions we experienced on this afternoon.
A little more elaborate than your normal donut, this is the Apple Pie ($3.75). This was a glazed donut with apple pie filling in the hole portion of the donut, with graham cracker crumbs, a caramel drizzle, and a dollop of cream topping this visually appealing donut. It was good, but there was not enough apple on this to really make this stand out. A very sweet donut, but I'd probably pass on it the next time I was here.
Lastly, one of the most popular donuts at legendary M and M Donuts in Anaheim, but one that you do not have to wait in line for at ten o'clock at night here at Poqet donuts was their version of a Blueberry Donut ($3). I actually liked the simplicity of this donut. It had a fair amount of blueberry specks in the cake portion of the donut, and the icing had a nice mellow flavor to it. Very well done.
Even though we had shown up at an awkward hour for a donut shop, our trip to Poqet Donuts on this afternoon was pretty solid. Yes, the donuts did not blow us away like Sidecar, but they are better quality than a lot of the mom and pop donut shops you can find in almost any shopping center. You can tell that they use high-quality products and the result is a lighter, less greasy product than a lot of their competitors churn out. I liked the more simple donuts that we ordered, rather than the more outrageous ones that we indulged in. Service was pleasant enough, especially since we were here about an hour before closing time. The three dollar price per donut is a little exorbitant, but these are more like special occasion donuts. A donut for when you want to pamper yourself. or think back to a special time that you experienced as a kid with your dad. You can't put a price on memories that bring you back to those great times.
Out of five computers, (because one of the first portable computers available to the public was the Poqet PC, which sold for $2000 back in 1989), five being best to zero being worst, Poqet Donuts gets 3 computers.
For more information about Poqet Donuts, head to their website here: http://poqetdonuts.com/