Best Eats This Week: Delectable doughnuts, premium burgers and soul-soothing fried chicken

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Saigon cinnamon crumb doughnut, Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee

SANTA MONICA AND BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Freshly-fried doughnuts with decadent flavor combinations and burgers made with 100 percent Wagyu beef in Santa Monica feature prominently in this edition of Best Eats.

Also, a staffer dined at a local restaurant that serves what may well be Bakersfield’s most popular fried chicken dinners.

Whether traveling or dining local, Best Eats has you covered.

A half-dozen doughnuts from Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee.

Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee, 631 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, plus locations in Costa Mesa, Del Mar and Torrance

Unless they’re a couple days old, doughnuts are pretty irresistible. Even then, a quick dunk in coffee or milk is usually enough to revive them for a delicious breakfast or snack.

Some shops, however, are a little more creative than others when it comes to their selection. Choices can go far beyond maple bars and original glazed.

And at Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee, the flavors are positively exotic.

Sure, you’ll find a few glazed cake doughnut combinations, but here everything is made in-house and toppings include premium ingredients such as Vahlrona Chocolates cocoa nibs and Niman Ranch bacon.

The red wine chocolate doughnut — with edible rose petals — at Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee.

Where Sidecar’s creativity goes into overdrive is in its monthly specials section.

For February, the shop is offering “blueberry & champagne” doughnuts featuring blueberry glaze, a blueberry and champagne compote, cheesecake mousse and sugar cookie crumble. The “red wine chocolate” comes with a Callebaut chocolate chip-filled dark chocolate doughnut with a red wine and chocolate glaze that’s topped with edible rose petals.

The shop fries small batches of doughnuts every hour. You’re guaranteed to get them while they’re still soft and warm.

Cheeseburger and fries, HiHo Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger and fries, HiHo Cheeseburger, 1320 2nd St., Ste. B, Santa Monica; also in Mid-Wilshire

What Sidecar does for doughnuts, HiHo accomplishes for burgers and fries: an enhanced take on the original.

The restaurant uses only 100 percent grass-fed Wagyu beef, touted as being healthier and containing more Omega-3s and antioxidants.

It tastes pretty great, too, the beef formed into loose patties and served with cheese and ketchup or, if the “HiHo” version is selected, with the addition of onion jam, lettuce, house-made pickles and mustard. The fries are hand cut and twice-fried, resulting in a slightly crunchy exterior containing a pillowy softness.

After finishing your meal, you can linger over a milkshake — or a beer — or head back out to the shops and street entertainment on the nearby Third Street Promenade.

Fried chicken and sides, J’s Place

Fried chicken, J’s Place, 2681 Calloway Drive, Bakersfield

Since opening in 2006, J’s Place has established itself as a destination restaurant. Its menu of Southern classics packs crowds in; get there early on weekends or you’ll be in for a wait.

Foremost among the restaurant’s offerings is its fried chicken, which Assignments Editor Mason Rockfellow says he has made a tradition of ordering for his birthday dinner.

“The go-to meal for me is the fried chicken, which comes with any two of their delicious sides and of course a perfect square of the mouthwatering cornbread,” Rockfellow said. “My go-to sides are the fried cabbage and the mac-n-cheese. This time I went for the mashed potatoes with gravy instead of the fried cabbage.”

“If you are looking for a great place to get a perfect portion of comfort food, go to J’s Place,” Rockfellow said. “If you want something to snack on why you are waiting, try out the fried okra.”

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