On The Line: Brooke Des Prez Of Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee, Part One

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Photo by Laila Derakhshanian

When we gave Brooke the option of meeting somewhere besides their much anticipated Sidecar Doughnuts, she requested Noah Blom's ARC at The OC Mix. It was at that moment that we knew (like we have with previous bakers interviewed) that she had her finger on what's trending. We couldn't turn down a wood-burning oven and flaming cocktails with our interview.

Why doughnuts?
Because every culture has a fried dough of some kind (churros, beignets, malasadas, etc.); a snack with a universal appeal!

How did you select Costa Mesa to open your storefront?
A vibrant community with a need for good food. Also my hometown.

Your earliest food memory:
My grandmother's watermelon pickles. We used to go visit them and the Spokane (Washington) county fair every summer growing up. They would just cut off the rind and pickle them in vinegar and sugar. They're just delicious. They used to sell them in stores years ago. I make them occasionally.

Favorite meal growing up:
Onigiri (Japanese rice balls). We had a family friend who was Japanese and brought these to all our gatherings. I loved them! That's when I fell in love with sushi rice. I used to be teased because I would eat so many of them.

Where was your most recent meal?
Eat Chow. Curry chicken salad. Super good!

Your best recent food find:
The fennel blossoms and pollen growing in the field next door.

Most undervalued ingredient:
Salt. It's just amazing what that little ingredient totally brings (to a dish).

Let's talk about the huckleberries used in some of your doughnuts. What makes them so special?

Huckleberries are grown in the wild and are not cultivated. They really taste like the forest they are grown in, sort of tart and sweet. Perfect! We put them in the dough as well as in the glaze of our huckleberry doughnuts. A huckleberry explosion.

What is your beverage of choice, and where do you get it?
Tea and coffee (Stumptown, of course!) brewed at home.

Tell us about Stumptown Coffee.
Their core values are quality, knowledge and relationships. And they have the best coffee!

We heard the freshness factor is limited on your product. Like a couple of hours. Is that correct?

Yes, our yeast doughnuts are best straight out of the fryer. We do not use any preservatives or stabilizers that prolong shelf life. This makes for a very tasty doughnut, and is the reason we fry every hour. I must say, though, that I have eaten them the next day after a quick pop in the oven with delicious results.

One food you can't live without:
Butter. It makes everything taste better. Especially Plugra. It has a higher fat content.

Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Keep it simple.

What took so long for you to open?
Electricity! We were supposed to be open last year. Everything was moving along fine. Then Southern California Edison came in said it was all wrong. We had electricity. It just wasn't to code, and it wasn't quite enough.

Any experimental misses when coming up with flavors?
Cheesy grit doughnuts are not so good. It could work, just not right now.

Favorite chef.
I have several.
- Magnus Nilsson: Because one of the items on his menu is "a little lump of very fresh cheese, floating in a warm whey with one petal of lavender."
- Donald Link: Because his Cajun food is culturally rich and brave.
- Kobe Desramaults: Because His Flemish food is beautiful, pure and from his garden.

Favorite places to eat (besides your own).
Jitlada in LA. Really great Thai food. And of course In-N-Out. Animal-style, protein-style.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Eggs. The perfect food. I like them really whipped, with lots of butter.

Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
Catering a Halloween party. The host went all out. We served cauliflower brains, eyeball punch and wore costumes.


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