When you eat food that was prepared by somebody else, you’re entering into an unwritten contract of trust that is centuries old. On a base level, you’re trusting that the food preparer took all the necessary steps to ensure that what you’re about to eat was made with ingredients that are wholesome (not contaminated, past a use-by date etc.) and prepared in an environment that’s clean and sanitary. For us vegans, especially when dining in an omnivorous establishment, we’re also trusting that our food is animal free – something we take very seriously.
The ultimate slap in the face, though, is to be served food under the guise of it being vegan, only to find out that it not only contains animal products but was prepared on equipment so dirty that it’s a clear health hazard and contravenes a number of health codes. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dee’s Bakery and Donuts: the non-vegan donuts cooked in a filthy deep-fat fryer.
Let’s first examine the non-vegan nature of the ingredients. We understand, from two eye-witnesses that the sprinkles for the donuts contain “Confectioner’s Glaze”, or Shellac, which is made from the secretion of the lac insect (the manufacturing process involves keeping thousands of insects under warm lamps so that they secrete like crazy until they die from heat exhaustion after only a few hours). The resulting secretion turns into a hard, shell-like compound when cooled (hence the name Shellac – Shell from the Lac insect) and is the coating on the sprinkles of Dee’s Donuts. Nice, huh?
Now, there are plenty of non-shellac sprinkles available – however, they are more expensive than the regular kind and more difficult to obtain. Still, not impossible and by no means prohibitively expensive as a simple search on the Web will confirm.
Now, what about the dirty preparation conditions? You probably know that donuts have to be deep fried – this is what gives them an utterly decadent flavor, as the combination of sugar and oil wrapped up in a crispy surface tastes just great! You probably don’t want to know, though, the details of how to maintain and care for a professional deep fat frying machine, and apparently neither does the person who makes Dee’s Donuts.
In a restaurant I frequent regularly, along the main corridor between the dining area and the restroom, is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen: the deep fat fryer used by Dee’s Donuts. To be honest, I thought that it was a piece of scrap kitchen equipment that was discarded and ready to be taken away as junk and even joked as much with the person who owns the kitchen. Apparently, Dee’s Donuts rent the restaurant kitchen early in the morning to make the donuts, and then leave the fryer for 20 hours, in a main corridor completely uncovered.
Kitchen health rules (and common sense) state that fryers must be covered when not being used, as cold oil is very sticky and attracts flies, hair, insects, dander and fluff. Every fryer I’ve ever seen has a cover that’s put in place when the kitchen closes, and then removed when the oil is heated up for the next shift. Sadly, Dee’s Bakery and Donuts don’t think us vegans are worth protecting and leave a dirty fryer open for many, many hours so it can absorb god knows what crap before being used again for the next batch of donuts. I took a close look at the surface of the oil with a flashlight, and could see plenty of hair fibers and what appeared to be a small black fly that had obviously flown to the fryer, attracted by the smell only to meet a sticky death before being cooked into a donut that some unsuspecting person would eat the next day.
This harks back to a comment one LA vegan made some time ago that there was “a hair” stuck in the coating of his donut. No fucking wonder! And, I’m absolutely serious about all this — the photographic evidence proves it, as well as several eye witness accounts of the fryer’s neglect.
These days, it’s cool to be a vegan baker — seems like everybody is doing it (Dee’s Donuts were even featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show). An avalanche of decadent vegan products is a welcome addition to our diets (in moderation, of course!) and really helps dispel the myth that we vegans live on cabbage and tofu. However, it’s one thing to be too cool for school and create something vegan, and another to be responsible enough to ensure that you keep your side of the unwritten contract of common decency.
I’d urge Dee’s Bakery and Donuts customers (Intelligentsia, Locali, Café Muse, Café De Leche and others) to stop carrying the products immediately and pull anything unsold out of the desert case and put it into the trash where it belongs. If you’re in one of those establishments and you see Dee’s Donuts baked goods for sale tell them about the hair and fly-filled fryer and insect secretions.
I’ve eaten several Dee’s Donuts over the past few months, and even given them to vegan friends. After seeing that fryer and reading about shellac I really feel like I want to puke. Dee’s Bakery and Donuts: you really let us all down. Thanks for sidling up to the vegan community of LA (this blog included) for a bunch of free publicity and a lot of love and hope from us, in return to feed us insect secretions, flies and hairs. Thank you very fucking much.Tags: dee's bakery, dessert, silverlake
UPDATE!!! PLEASE READ THIS IMPORTANT UPDATE ABOUT DEE’S DONUTS BEFORE EATING THEM.
yawn! i usually don’t post on saturday morning, but as of today, there are finally vegan donuts in los angeles and that is so worth writing about at this dreadful hour! intelligentsia in silver lake has started selling dee’s nuts donuts and i can’t get enough.
it’s about fucking time vegan donuts made their way to los angeles. i mean, jeez, we have a gazzilion vegan restaurants, vegan cupcakes, vegan cookies, and (my fave) vegan twinkies, but no vegan donuts. …UNTIL NOW.
today, it seems that dee’s nuts donuts, a vegan donut brand has shot up overnight and started offering a line of baked goods at the very popular intelligentsia coffee shop in silver lake. dee’s nuts is a one-woman, animal-free donut company (she doesn’t advertise her goods as vegan, because the v word makes flesh-eaters recoil in horror) who has has been getting quite the buzz in the vegan community and causing a stir among herbivores on twitter.
dee’s nuts treats have been available for private order through her website for quite awhile. but today for the first time, they made their debut on the los angeles restaurant scene. since silver lake seems to have the most vegan restaurants per capita, it seems fitting that vegan donuts would first show up at a trendy sunset junction coffee shop.
intelligentsia is known for its superior coffee, tea, and pastries. how awesome is it that thanks to dee’s nuts, vegans from all of la county have a huge reason to visit there now.
dee’s nuts creates a line of super fresh donuts, baked right in our own downtown los angeles, that taste authentic and sinful just like the real thing. plump, porous, juicy cake deep fried and covered in thick and creamy frosting make for absolute decadence. and at only $2.50 a pop, they are very reasonably priced, and give you an excuse to buy several.
because they aren’t advertised as vegan, i know that SO MANY omnivores will order these donuts and think they are “real.” muahahahahhahahahahahaha.
la vegans, get over to intelligentsia and buy some donuts. right now they only have one dozen per day. i got my silly ass there at 6am on a saturday and heard that other people had been calling about them as well. considering there are no other vegan donuts in town, i’d act fast and buy ’em whenever the fuck you can.
i was so stoked when i heard about these vegan donuts, that i couldn’t even wait for them to become available in stores. lucky for me, deanna of dee’s nuts invited me to her kitchen yesterday and gave me a quick tour, as well as a piping-hot donut fresh off the press. you can order your own batch through her website, and i highly recommend doing so, even if its just to be able to taste a donut moments after its been made. check out this cell phone picture i snapped of the vegan donut maker:
i know, i know. i am very lucky.
dee’s nuts donuts also made a smaller debut today at fix coffee in echo park. fix has already been offering cookies baked by dee’s nuts, and as of today they will be selling donuts too. if you can stomach it, i would recommend getting to fix and trying the cookies out as well. there is a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie that is melty and out of this world, along with a thick spongy sugar cookie slathered in creamy frosting. these treats are also not advertised as vegan, and they are tasty enough to fool anybody.
i will keep you posted as these baked goods and donuts become available in more locations. now that i’ve had vegan donuts in la, i definitely don’t want them to go away.
oh yeah, and dee’s nuts! lol.Tags: baking, coffee, cookies, dee's nuts, dessert, donuts, echo park, fix, silverlake