Restaurant Review: Psycho Donuts

Restaurant Review: Psycho Donuts

It’s been too long since I last visited Psycho Donuts to enjoy one of their gluten-free donuts. Part of the reason for the gap in time was I never really knew when they were going to be available, sometimes once a month. More recently, for a short trial period, they have GF donuts every Friday, so no calling, just show up.

I have to say, I was really excited about this visit. Psycho Donuts is famous for their crazy flavor combos, such as Cereal Killer (fruity cereal on top), Kooky Monster (topped with crushed Oreo cookies and blue drizzle), and the Dead Elvis (cream filled, bananas, bacon, peanut butter and jelly). The last time I had a donut was Katz Donuts (boxed and frozen, Sprouts Markets) which are delicious warmed up.. But you can imagine the feeling of walking in to buy fresh!…the mouth-watering scent! And in that aspect, Psycho did not disappoint.

GF donut options for 5/15/15
GF donut options for 5/15/15

The GF donuts are stored in clear plastic takeout containers in a back area separate from the displayed donuts up front. The “Crazy Nurse” pulled out a container and placed it on the counter. I was actually confused because there were 5 donuts in the container, one of each of the GF flavors that day, and I really only wanted one donut (at $3.00 each). She told me that I could get whatever combination I wanted, however, because of the way they’re packaged, I couldn’t buy several of one kind. So I opted to buy 3 of the 5 GF “flavors” they had that day – maple bacon with chocolate, strawberry chocolate, and peanut butter chocolate chip. The “Nurse” who helped me said the official Psycho names would be on the website, but the pictures on their site “menu” are only for their regular donuts, not GF, probably because the GF flavors change weekly.

I was rushed and ate them out of the paper bag with my fingers, however, the donuts really REALLY needed to be on a plate and enjoyed with a knife & fork; the icings were gooey, the toppings coming off easily, and the cake itself was dry and firm, so imagine the mess I had trying to break off a piece out of the bag. Ugh!

The best flavor (of course!) was the maple bacon chocolate, really strong, with the perfect mix of salty & sweet. My son felt differently when he tried a bite, he didn’t like how hard the bacon pieces were, “too chewy”. He complained about how hard the cake was, expecting soft & moist, which none of the donuts were. The strawberry chocolate was topped with dried strawberries which weren’t appetizing to look at but were deliciously tart and did remind me of chocolate covered strawberries. And the peanut butter chocolate chip’s topping immediately had that peanut buttery texture that sticks to the roof of your mouth and I enjoyed that.

I did take 2 days to eat all 3 donuts, so I savored the flavors. This will probably hold me over for several months before I pay them another visit; though the flavors were good, the donut cake itself was too dry for me.


Restaurant Review: Dona Esther’s “Gluten Free” Menu

When my husband and I went to Dona Esther Mexican restaurant in San Juan Bautista to enjoy their Artichoke Enchiladas this past May, it was my first visit since going GF last August.

Whenever I eat out, I always ask, “do you have a GF menu?”, but I was surprised when the waitress said, “yes” and returned with a 2-sided fully laminated menu! Unfortunately, as I looked it over, I saw discrepancies in what I thought was correctly, or incorrectly, deemed as gluten-free. Flautas gluten-free? Tostadas gluten-free? This was too good to be true! So I asked, “do you have a dedicated fryer? A separate fryer for your gluten-free items?” She said, no, they had only one fryer. I told her these items can’t be gluten-free if they are fried in the same fryer with everything else. To which she responded that they weren’t. I asked about the chips on the table and she said they were fried in the same fryer, so then the nachos on the menu were not gluten-free either.

We should have just left, but I ended up ordering their Veggie Fajitas (pictured), with corn tortillas, which was delicious. Although I did not have a reaction, you must question whether there is cross-contamination in their kitchen because they really don’t know what “gluten-free” means.

Be cautious, even when a menu is provided.

Great combination of fresh vegetables in their fajitas!
Great combination of fresh vegetables in their fajitas!
Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

I usually check the ingredients on cans and packaging before I purchase, so I didn’t look at the label before making my enchiladas. Unfortunately, the sauce was poured before I realized that its ingredients, though none showed wheat, did have a “warning” that it “contains: soy and wheat”. From the ingredients themselves (and I did check my “Glutencheck” app), this was not obvious, and rather than dumping my artichoke & chile enchiladas, I cooked and ate them, with the delusional mindset of “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”.

Next day, I emailed the distributors, B&G Foods, through their Las Palmas products’ link…

Message: “I am gluten sensitive. The (sauce) can says it contains soy and wheat but I can’t tell from ingredients where the wheat is. Is it processed in a factory with wheat? Because I don’t recognize any ingredients as containing wheat.”

Their response-  “Thank you for your email and interest in one of our products. This Las Palmas sauce contains a wheat ingredient in the “spice” blend used in its formula. As a result the sauce is not gluten free.”

So, I learned a valuable lesson- continue to check labels, even if I purchased it and looked at the ingredients prior to buying…I might have missed something in my rush at the market.

Also, the Las Palmas site, in their FAQs pages, says “Las Palmas Red Chili Sauce, Las Palmas Crushed Tomatillos and Las Palmas Red Enchilada Sauce are all gluten-free.” So next time, I’ll go with the red sauce rather than the green.

Happy eats!