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Indulge in Vancouver’s sweet side with a doughnut crawl

travel

Ditch the Seawall for a doughnut crawl

Bypassing Vancouver's waterfront-jogging, yoga-loving downtown core, Amy Rosen takes a bite out of the city's latest (unexpected) vice: the doughnut

Lucky's Doughnuts

Salted caramel old fashioned.

The doughnuts: A rotating roster of a dozen-plus seasonal choices, including chocolate sourdough, pumpkin cheesecake Bismarck, PB&J and a cold brew cruller.

My pick: Salted caramel old fashioned, $3.25.

The layers of texture and flavour run from sticky to crunchy to soft and cakey, with warm spicing and a glossy glaze of deep caramel. It's incredible. About every other bite, there's a hit of Maldon salt that breaks you out of your reverie. Established in 2011, Lucky's is a natural pairing with the other half of this venture, 49th Parallel Coffee. This is a doughnut shop for fancy Westchester cops. luckysdoughnuts.com

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Lee's Donuts

Honey dip.

The doughnuts: There are many varieties, including cinnamon sugar, jam filled and chocolate mint glazed in a hue of green not found in nature.

My pick: Honey dip, $2.

Tucked in amidst the fresh-produce stalls of the Granville Island food market, Lee's is one of the original three shops (circa 1979); three of its employees share more than 100 years of experience here. A local tells the tourists in front of me to forget about the newfangled flavours and go with the honey dip. "Nothing compares," he says. Good tip. The bestselling, yeast-raised, hand-cut honey dips are made all day long so you can get them warm. The sugary coating crackles as the tender dough dissolves on my tongue like a tab of life-affirming nitroglycerin. granvilleisland.com/directory/lees-donuts

Honey Salt

Apple cider doughnuts with bourbon caramel sauce.

The doughnuts: The gleaming new Parq complex next to BC Place Stadium is home to two luxury hotels, a casino, a band of elegant restaurants and bars and, yes, a few types of doughnuts.

My pick: Apple cider doughnuts, $9.

Walking into Honey Salt restaurant at the JW Marriott feels like swanning onto the set of a Nancy Meyers film. You half expect to see Diane Keaton peeling Granny Smiths over a farmhouse sink. Inspired by summertime visits to Cape Cod, the pastry chef tosses warm mini cake doughnuts and their tiny holes in a winning mix of cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, salt and sugar, and serves them with bourbon caramel sauce for dipping. They taste like eating grandma's cake while sipping an old fashioned. parqvancouver.com/restaurants/honey-salt

Cartems Donuts

Earl Grey cake donut.

The doughnuts: There are homemade yeast, cake, vegan and gluten-friendly varieties, ranging from pistachio to smoked maple walnut, apple fritter to London fog.

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My pick: Earl Grey cake doughnut, $3.25.

Even though its glaze is infused with organic Earl Grey tea and it comes dusted with rose petals, this is the plain Jane of the display case. Yet, from the very first bite, it was goodbye, Mary Ann, hello, Ginger, as the aroma and flavour of spiced moist cake and milky floral notes come rushing to the forefront. cartems.com

Breka Bakery & Cafe

French Cruller.

The doughnuts: This old-school European style bakery is open 24/7, and if you don't feel like buying whole Bienenstich, Kuffles or poppy-seed tortes, the dozen doughnut varieties will entice, from chocolate custard to apricot-filled.

My pick: French cruller, $2.25. (Their basic sugar and glazed are the best doughnut bargains I've seen, at $1.25.)

The counter help are all Eastern European, so are the hearty loaves and the traditional feeling of the café, with people sitting, sipping, noshing and chatting. The choux pastry is dipped in a thick glaze, drying to a sticky finish, creating a cruller that is sweet and eggy with a hint of citrus. This doughnut was made for coffee. breka.ca

The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism Vancouver. It did not review or approve this article.

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