Saturday, August 07, 2010

Pepples Organic Vegan Donuts

I’m not a big vegetarian or vegan, for that matter, but I was curious one day when I noticed the Pepples Donuts stand at the San Francisco Ferry Building. I wondered, what does a vegan donut taste like?

Pepples is actually an Oakland-based wholesale doughnuts company that started in 2007. Its doughnuts are sold in cafés around the East Bay, originally under the name People’s. (The website doesn’t really explain why the name change.)

It opened its retail kiosk at the Ferry Building more than a month ago, right in front of the Sur La Table store. (It shares the space with two other vendors, one being the ever-prevalent El Porteno empanadas.) The girl at the kiosk says the doughnuts are made with all organic products without eggs. No cream or milk is used for the frosting, which is why they’re the only vegan doughnuts in town. (Substitute ingredients include things like faux butter and coconut milk.)

There were a lot of interesting flavors, like matcha green tea and Philz coffee and Frog Hollow cherry. But I was first drawn to the salted caramel. (The donuts sell for $2 to $3.)

The salted caramel was a typical cake doughnut with a light caramel-colored glaze. With my first bite, I was surprised at how natural everything tasted. The texture of the doughnut was definitely a cake doughnut, kind of reminding me of the cinnamon powdered donuts I ate at Dunkin’ Donuts in my childhood. But there was a lot of flavor, especially from the salted caramel glaze.

I returned another time and tried the Kaffir Lime Leaf donut (after I purchased it, I realized it was similar in style to the salted caramel — cake donut with flavored glaze — so I really should have tried one of the raised donuts). The texture was just like the salted caramel, but the glaze was a subtle sweet flavor with the distinct flavor of the aromatic Southeast Asian herb.

In both cases, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything by eating these vegan doughnuts. I do crave the airy donuts at times (like the ones at Dynamo), but Pepples offer up some nice alternatives when shopping around the Ferry Building.

Pepples Organic Donuts, 1 Ferry Building along the Embarcadero, San Francisco. Open daily.


Carolyn Jung said...

I passed by that stand a few weeks ago and wondered how those donuts were. After a hefty meal at Gott's, though, I didn't have any room left over to try any. Good to know they taste so good.

foggyvegan said...

My favorite is the blueberry...

foodhoe said...

Both of those sound good, I like both cake and fluffy types of donuts. I think the glazes sound the most interesting. For some reason, I don't usually enter the building from that side and have never noticed their sign.