If you're read my previous blog posts, then you may know that I've been self-studying French for 2 years. So, the first thing I noticed about Donut Petit, located at 711 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda, CA, was the fairly glaring grammatical mistake. Heck, even in English it directly translates as "Donut Small," which is also incorrect. Oddly enough, in French, many adjectives are actually placed after the noun, but "petit" is not one of them.
I believe the owners also own the very popular Cafe Jolie, which is also grammatically incorrect, and I'm sure there is a good reason, most likely legal, for the adjective swap because they're certainly no dummies.
Alameda's West End is already home to Lee's Donuts and Hometown Donuts, which are both very similar in style in regards to not only their donuts, but also interior "vibe." They remind me very much of the Fosters Family Donut shop my mom regularly brought me to in La Crescenta, CA over 20 years ago. In my mind, Lee's and Hometown is what most Americans would consider a traditional donut shop.
Donut Petit has decided to carve its own niche with gourmet donuts. While you can still pick-up a regular glazed donut for $1.50 and a Bearclaw for $2.50, they have creative offers such as the Creme Brulee and Strawberry Flat Donut at $3+. To set themselves further apart from Lee's and Hometown, there is also a selection of Vegan and Gluten Free Donuts.
Anne & I decided to do a traditional Bearclaw, Creme Brulee, and Vegan Lemon Donut. We actually wanted to also try the regular glaze, but I think the sales associate got a bit confused during our ordering. For us, the Creme Brulee donut was the star out of the three, even though I did get a bite of really burnt sugar that gave me second thoughts. In fact, I will probably ask for a donut with minimal charring the next time around to make sure I get my $3.00 worth.
This was actually our second time trying a Vegan Donut, but honestly the first time was about two years ago and so its hard to compare how it stands up to other vegan donuts. The Vegan Lemon Donut is in the style of a classic cake doughnut. The decoration is top-notch, but other than being vegan, it's not as remarkable as the Creme Brulee donut. But I suppose that if you can't tolerate, which is my case, or are allergic to dairy, then there's not much option. Fortunately, it's certainly a solid option.
The Bear Claw is also fairly traditional in the sense that it doesn't necessarily stand above any other Bear Claw i've had before, but it's certainly not bad and there's nothing wrong with it. There's just not much to write about...
Those visiting Donut Petit will most likely need to splurge and go for the more specialty gourmet doughnuts, such as the Creme Brulee donut, to get a more remarkable experience. If you're vegan or have a gluten allergy, then Donut Petit will most likely be your "go-to" in Alameda. There is also plenty of seating available and so is a great alternative to West End Crepe if you're looking for a dessert or snack while you're on the West End of Alameda.
For those looking just for a traditional donut, then they'll best be served at Lee's or Hometown. Donut Petit is definitely more of a special treat spot for us. In fact, we popped in on Valentine's Day. As crafters, artists, and creatives, we don't have a lot of money and so Lee's Donut and Hometown are the more economical and really equally satisfying choice. Safeway and Lucky's donuts are probably even cheaper, but are terrible in my opinion and nearly a waste of money.
There's no doubt a place for Donut Petit on the West End of Alameda. My only hope is that they actually expand to traditional French Croissants and Baguettes. If they don't, then you never know, someone may take the spot of the recently closed Albert's Cafe to open a French Bakery. (This is my sneaky way of "scaring" the owners of Donut Petit into action)
Update: I'll be honest, the one thing that really bothers me about Petit Donut is that they always seem to park their company car in public parking spots without paying the meter. In my opinion, and this is just an impression, I do feel like the owners of Cafe Jolie and Petit Donut get a weird level of preferential treatment from the city. It's just a feeling, not fact, but my hunches are more often right than wrong.