Chocolate Donut Hole in Paradise

The Place: Hotel del Coronado's decadent Sunday brunch buffet, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA.

The Hole: A chocolate donut hole, complimented by a variety of other sweet delicacies, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The Shit: Jimmy Buffett had this to say about the food he made famous: "Not too particular, not to precise. I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise."

Some food items, like cheeseburgers or, say, donuts, just don't vary all that much. As a result, the location where you consume can be as influential in your eating experience as the ingredients used.

When a friend's wedding called me to the beaches of palm-tree-lined southern California, I had to find out, does the experience of eating a fried bit of dough-neither particular nor precise-change in paradise?

Boy howdy.

An online hunt for the city's best breakfast kept leading to the Sunday brunch at the Hotel del Coronado, a sprawling, beach-side palace on the tony island of Coronado just across the bay from San Diego.

The walk to the beach is lined with BMWs and Lexuses (Lexi?). There is nary a scuff nor scratch on the cars, and the people playing volleyball on the beach are as beautiful as the view stretching across the blue expanse of the ocean.

Food success requires either great dishes, or a spectacular location.
Sitting to brunch with a view of the water isn't cheap, but it offers an endless stream of mimosas, rich coffee, and almost any sweet or savory food you might desire, from roasted lamb to sushi to a variety of sweets, including trays of donut holes.

Unseen staff whisk your plates away between trips for more food. Chefs manning the station handled any bizarre request you might have with casual grace.

We toasted our temporary life of luxury and tucked in.

Objectively speaking, the food itself was generally mediocre. The hollandaise could have used more heat; the crab legs suffered a lack of the rich flavor we're used to in Seattle.

And the chocolate donut hole had a touch of dryness in the center.

But when you're biting into a little icing-covered fried pastry over a scene of ocean waves and palm trees, champagne lubricating palate and judgment, it tastes fantastic.

My donut may not have been particularly unique, or precisely well executed. But it's just a donut in paradise; who could ask for more than that?

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