Editor’s Pick: Food Critique Hook and Press Donuts
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1131 State Street Santa Barbara, CA 93101
John Burnett opened the small donut stop in the Mosaic Locale in October 2018 due to a lack of exceptional donuts available to the area. This banker turned baker designed this concept for the donut stop in 2014. Burnett’s motivation to go forward with Hook and Press was “to bring a better donut to Santa Barbara.” It seems that Burnett has lived up to that motivation with the enticing donut flavors he’s brought to Downtown Santa Barbara, all made from scratch with fresh, whole ingredients.
Hook and Press Donuts currently features eight main flavors: Brown Butter, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Maple Pecan, Cereal Milk (which is appointed staff favorite), “the Paloma,” Mint Chocolate Cookie, including new flavors such as “the Homer” and “the Samoa.” These flavors do not fail to disappoint. Each donut lives up to the name it’s given matching the flavors of these everyday items. Brown Butter is a simple glazed donut with a glaze of browned butter and Maldonado sea salt. The Chocolate Peanut Butter features a dark chocolate ganache with a peanut butter mousse in the donut ring. Maple Pecan is also a simple maple glazed donut only topped with candied pecans. As aforementioned, Cereal Milk is appointed staff favorite with its “cereal milk” glaze and a sprinkling of Fruity Pebbles for an added cereal appearance.
Mint Chocolate Cookie surprisingly meets its flavor expectations. This donut features a mint glaze, a chocolate shortbread cookie crumble, topped with chocolate drizzle that has the customer believing they’re eating mint chocolate cookie ice cream without the cold aspect. “The Samoa,” inspired by the famous Girl Scout cookie, additionally meets expectations. The base glaze of the donut is caramel, coated in coconut flakes, and drizzled with chocolate and caramel. This donut offers a flavor-flashback to the famous cookie for half the price of a box of Samoas.
“The Paloma” is on the fancier side of donuts. Though this donut does not offer decorative appeal, it matches the drink that inspired it. This donut features a fresh-squeezed grapefruit-lime-tequila glaze matched with a little lime zest for effect. Fortunately for this donut, it won’t create the same effects that it’s inspired drink does.
Along with “the Samoa,” “the Homer” makes an impressive introduction to Hook and Press. “The Homer,” inspired by the fictional character Homer Simpson, has a fresh strawberry glaze with rainbow sprinkles, mimicking the fictional character’s favorite sweet in the television series.
Hook and Press also offers donut holes that vary in flavor daily; this past weekend’s flavor was vanilla cinnamon. There is also a variety of mini donuts served that can be hard to miss over the excitement of the main donuts. These petite donuts hold a more decorative appeal than the main donuts, but do not overstep the main flavors. Hook and Press serves coffee and tea options as well to wash down their delicious sweets.
This small donut stop is quickly gaining attention. Though their options are few, they sell quickly. Because of this, the shop closes earlier than the posted business hours. It’s best to grab one of these donuts before they’re gone, especially since the flavors are seasonal and may change again soon.