CakeSpy Undercover: Nickel Diner, Los Angeles

I could tell you that the best things in life are free. 

Or I could tell you to go to the Nickel Diner in Los Angeles, where nothing is five cents but everything is highly tasty, especially the baked goods, which are baked on-site. 

For now, I'll focus on the doughnuts, because that's my area of expertise--and by expertise, I mean, that is what I ate when I was there. Because doughnuts are a fine appetizer before a light breakfast of fried eggs, potatoes, and bacon. 

My little sister was the sleuth who tipped me off to this sweet spot, and after seeing the pictures of the doughnuts she'd enjoyed here, it was on the top of my list when I went to visit her in her new home city. 

Nickel Diner

They have a few flavors of doughnuts that are available on a regular basis: Red Velvet, Maple Bacon, Nutella, Irish Car Bomb (Guiness, Baileys irish cream and Jameson filling), and Strawberry Crumb. And they'll ask you right away if you want to start with a doughnut (they're good up-sellers). You should say yes. 

Photo: Kimberli RansomThey may offer a pop-tart, too. I didn't get one but I will next time, I think!

Now, SpySis has already sampled a couple of the doughnuts, including the Irish Car Bomb and the Strawberry Crumb. The Strawberry Crumb cake doughnut, she said, was "pretty sweet" but she liked the dangerous slight bitterness (perhaps owing to the beer?) that went with the sweet on the Car Bomb.

Wanting to try a new one, we hit up the waitress for a suggestion. She said that the Maple Bacon was by far the most popular. "But is it the best one?" I asked, jerk that I am.

"Nope." She said, and suggested that we go with the Red Velvet.

Red Velvet it was. 

Nickel Diner

It's not a red velvet cake doughnut--it is actually a vanilla yeasted doughnut dusted with cocoa and red coloring, filled with cream cheese frosting. Nickel Diner

But while some might say "that's not technically red velvet" I respond "SHUT UP MAN, THIS THING IS DELICIOUS." I loved the crunchiness of the cocoa powder topping and how it made my fingers red and messy. I loved the fresh, yeast-scented taste of the doughnut itself. But most of all I loved the filling. I could eat, bathe in, breathe, and sleep in a bed made of cream cheese frosting, and this stuff was a particularly good variety--just oozy enough that it worked with the pillowy doughnut, but not so oozy that it all shot out of the side of the doughnut when you took a bite.

Nickel Diner

These doughnuts have made me and my sister very happy, and if you give them a chance, I think they'll make you very happy, too.

Nickel Diner

To close, I will show you the sign above the door at the Nickel Diner, which I seriously love:

Nickel Diner

You know, just a reminder. Donut doubt that you're exactly where you're supposed to be.

Nickel Diner, 524 S. Main Street, Los Angeles; online here.