Psycho for Psycho Donuts

Jaime Chu

New sweets shop by MV alumnus caters off-beat favorites

If the menu came with instructions, it would say this: Do not be afraid when the mad scientist offers you a strait jacket and a photo-op in the Psycho Prison Cell. It is also okay to invite the nurse behind the counter into your picture for the complete experience.

Opened on Feb. 28 by a former MV ASB president Gregory Lim, Psycho Donuts in Campbell brings gourmet sweets to a new level. When the typical caramel, vanilla, or chocolate glaze begins to numb your taste buds, treat it with a dose (or dozen) from Psycho Donuts. Choose from Manic Head Trauma, Bipolar, Apricotology, Feng Shui and distractingly more. It is okay to take more than three minutes to decide.

The most suspicious-looking Psycho (for the shop's namesake), triangular in shape, looks more like a third-grader's drawing of his dream food on the fridge. Offering more than surprises, it's a roller-coaster ride from the first bite. Beginning with lightly-salted pretzels, followed by sticky marshmallow frosting, then entered a lemony shock of lightning from a very good lemon pie, the ride finished with the familiar sweetness of doughnut dough. Not a bad one for $1.50.

If looks are all it takes to make a decision, the Manic Malt ($1.50) would be impossible to resist by chocolate elitists, especially those who are fed up with the stalely-malted Whoppers. Topped by malted chocolate pieces that look and taste like they could really be the original Maltesers, the chocolate mania is finished with a layer of chocolate frosting. However, like semi-sweet chocolate chips which should actually be called really-sweet chocolate chips, the sugar often overpowers the cocoa and your tongue is left with a pressing urge to soothe the back of your itchy throat.

Other innovative flavors include CocoMarbles (Cocoa-puffs), Smores, Cracker Attacker (kettle corn with caramel glaze), FungShui (green tea dark chocolate, though the dark chocolate tends to overpower the green tea), and Bipolar (peanut and coconut flakes). Doughnuts tend to be on the sweet side but are usually balanced out by the additional flavors from the toppings. Other items on the menu include doughnut fries (finished with jelly and cream dip) and coffee. All items are moderately priced between $1-$4.

The shop doubles as an art gallery, featuring out-of-this-world paintings <<of>>[[from]] local artists. The selection adds personality to the already quirky shop but is rather small in scale. Seating availability is also modest, with only an Ikea-esque set of a coffee table surrounded by a few chairs. Most customers -any one from high school students to coffee-shop-hopping retirees -chose to take away; but "Rolling Stone" and design magazines are at your service if you are in the mood of an afternoon repose.

Psycho Donuts actualizes doughnut flavors that previously only existed in children's books or wishful thinking. Under the service of a friendly staff disguised as psychotic lab characters and the prospect of a shelfful of gluttonous dreams-come-true, it is impossible for those who visit Psycho Donuts to just grab a bite.

Psycho Donuts: 2006 S. Winchester Blvd, Campbell
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 7am-10am; Fri. 7am-10pm; Sat. 8am-10pm; Sun. 8am-8pm