If you’ve ever enjoyed a serving of American Buffalo Wings, I can tell you where the wings sauce base came from – the curiously named USA Donut. For many years this small shop, run by a Khmer-American and now located on street 302 near 51, has been the go-to place for reasonably priced imported American foodstuffs, toiletries, and what-not and it continues to serve that role well.
Every other month or so a container from the Port of Los Angeles arrives and restaurant owners (who haven’t pre-ordered) and American consumers scramble for their share before their must-haves gets sold off to one of the local supermarkets for higher mark-ups.
Over the years I’ve purchased from them Maseca corn flour for tortillas when the only other option was packing it in my luggage, jalapeños, pickles and peperoncinis, Pacifico and Dos Equis beers, lemonade mix, hot sauces and many things more.
You’ll find a cooler full of hard to find American sodas and other beverages including my beloved Dr. Pepper and American Red Bull, not the sickly sweet Cambodian or Thai versions, just perfect for that long night out at Pontoon ($3/$5.50).
On the other side of the store you’ll find boxes full of American candies. For those who appreciate the difference between the British Kit-Kat and the American version made by Hershey’s, USA Donut is where the latter is to be found.
I’m not into American toiletry esoterica, but for those who are you might want to check out the two floor to ceiling shelves chock full of alternative mouthwashes and shampoos if you just can’t live without your Lavoris after a morning shower. I expect if you’re looking for facial creams and lotions sans whiteners you’d be in heaven here.
USA Donut also serves a typical range of American fast food, burgers and tacos and such. I’ve tried their chicken burrito – no spice, ground chicken with shredded lettuce, tomato and gooey cheese product, and while it flooded my mind with memories of similar offerings I chowed down as a kid, it was not something I would go back for. If you miss Taco Bell you might like it.
The hamburger is a favorite of some friends for whom the trek to Mike’s is inconvenient, so I finally gave in and tried a double burger this week. At $4.25 it was certainly good value, two 125g patties in a good bun with lettuce and tomato and a decently sized order of fries on the side.
No special sauce or “spread” is provided, it’s ketchup, mustard, salsa on request. It was very much a step up from the various Lucky and BB World burgers, but not as satisfying as Mike’s or the other (admittedly more expensive) American burgers on offer around town.
The meat was well done as expected, just passable on the juicy meter but not terribly flavorful. Where it was really let down was in it’s accompaniments, just too little lettuce, tomato and onion to accompany that big mass of beef.
If you’re going to serve that much beef between two pieces of bread it had better be exceptionally tasty on its own or accompanied by generous portions of something else tasty to go with it. Bottom line, since I very much like to shop there I’d order a single burger if I needed my burger fix on the spot.
I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything about the donuts. There is a case at the register and while I stared longingly at the first apple fritters I’ve seen in the eight years since I said goodbye to my Cambodian donut shop in Hollywood (Khmer-Americans know their donuts), I was way too stuffed with burger to even consider a take-away.