A donut is a donut, right? Not any more. As we’re all so deliciously aware, this year donuts have solidly replaced cupcakes as the cheat-day treat of choice – and we can’t say we’re mad about it.

We have a massive amount of respect for those of our readers who’ve gone 100% cold turkey when it comes to quitting sugar, and honestly hope that stories like this one don’t dissuade you from your admirably pure eating habits. We also know that a majority of clean eaters make room for indulgences like these – whether for mental sanity, social ease or the like – especially when we’re talking edible collaborations from cult-worthy L.A. hotspots from Sqirl (see the cookbook), Baroo, Alma and Jon & Vinny. Here’s what’s going down…

What We ate:  Soft, sweet, donut-y perfection. Chef Ari Taymore of Alma has collaborated with some of our favorite chefs in town to create a series of artfully inspired pastries that break the boundaries of what a donut should taste like. The result is “Doughnuts With Friends” – a rotating collection of the weirdest and possibly most delicious donuts we’ve ever tasted, and we can’t wait to try more of them!

Why we ate it: Let’s chalk it up to an appetite for creative applications of real food ingredients. Baroo’s contribution to the project, for example, is a coconut and kabocha squash glazed number, filled with a matured banana compote filling, and topped with mochi, candied pumpkin seeds and yuzu zest. Healthy? Not exactly. But definitely memorably and made with real, clean ingredients – aka an actual treat.

Why you need it: Because YOLO. And because each creation from Ari’s “Doughnuts With Friends” series will only be available for two weeks at The Standard in West Hollywood (so be sure to drop by before it’s too late!). Plus, something about knowing there’s a light, fluffy donut reward waiting for us on the other side of a salad-filled week makes clean eating more of a bite-sized ambition.

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