The Catalyst

A Writing Teacher Writes (plus some writing prompts and recipes)

A High Like No Other (My Love Affair with Dynamo Donuts) December 29, 2011

Filed under: Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 8:42 am

The prompts this time were:

No, Really, I’m happy for you.

Maybe the Hippies were right.


Coffee and donuts.

Read my piece below and guess which one I wrote in response to.


If you haven’t been to Dynamo Donuts yet, be warned: once you have your first Dynamo experience, it may become a delicious habit.

Located in San Francisco, on the eastern end of 24th St, between Bryant and Potrero (2760 24th Street ), Dynamo is the home of the $3.00 gourmet doughnut: lemon pistachio, chocolate rose germanium hazelnut, cornmeal rosemary cherry, and the famous (or infamous, depending on your waistline), bacon maple apple.

You place your order under a green awning, from a counter that opens to the sidewalk. The staff is friendly, groovy, mostly pierced and tattooed, wearing the occasional funky hat—very twenty-something, and sexy in that easy, casually polite way. Inside, a few banquette tables face an open kitchen, spotlessly clean and painted in all variations of donut brown: caramel, sunny gold, bittersweet and cocoa. The flagstone back patio, with shaded tables and flowering potted plants, is the real jewel of that space: a quiet oasis, rare on this busy neighborhood thoroughfare.

The donuts are fresh and cake-like, made from scratch with organic ingredients. They have delicate flavors and rough-hewn, not-so-perfect edges; they are about as healthy and natural as a donut can possibly be. On my first visit to Dynamo, we met a man who was sitting down with THREE donuts, but I want to encourage you to be more prudent. A donut should be an occasional treat (we all know this, don’t we?), and the carbo counters among us can split one with a friend.

My warning is not really about the ingredients or the caloric content of the donuts. The real danger here is the seemingly innocuous Blue Bottle Coffee they serve: a wonderful, rich, smoky blend brewed strong, but never bitter. It’s not the coffee itself I want to warn you about (although I recommend ordering a small cup), it’s the combination of the coffee and the donuts that’s so lethal and lovely: sugar flour and caffeine alone could take you on a nice flight, but the Dynamo experience is unlike anything I have ever experienced at any other donut shop anywhere else in the world.

It’s euphoric. (But somewhat frightening.) Like the surge of Ecstasy, or that moment when you realize you are in love with someone for the first time, or suddenly quite drunk, or racing downhill on skis without falling, jumping off the high dive. You immediately want to repeat the experience at the peak of it, the crescendo, that perfect, blissful, buzzing moment.

You’re hitting that high note, scatting along with Ella Fitzgerald, driving at great speed along the highway. You’ve just finished eight loads of laundry or scrubbed the kitchen floor to a shiny brightness. You’ve finally finished painting the living room a creamy white, and—Oh God!—are you elated! Endorphins are surging through your veins; you’ve passed the forty-five minute mark on the treadmill; you’ve been dancing non-stop for three hours.

It’s an out-of-body experience, the Dynamo/Blue Bottle high, and hours later, after a sensible lunch of chicken breast and roasted vegetables, a whole liter of sparkling water, you will still feel the whoosh of the air as the roller coaster turns into that final 360 degree loop, those interconnected corkscrews, that roar down the last passage.

I’m telling you, it’s quite a ride. But when it’s over, you’ll want to do it all over again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s