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Thursday, June 27, 2024


Staff Blog / By Holden De Mayo, Editor Editor and Chief.-- Being San Diego-based we often take the AMTRAK to Los Angeles to avoid the dreariness of Freeway travel. Many times we don’t make it to Hollywood because we jump off the train halfway in a town called San Juan Capistrano for refreshments and never hop back on the Surfliner train until it's time to go home. 

 This Southern Orange County town is famous for its legendary swallows returning to roost every year at the nearby three-century-old Mission San Juan Capistrano. Yes, the Mission is for the birds but there are other things to do within a half mile of the SJC Amtrak Station that we thoroughly enjoy. 

The first being high tea conveniently on the other side of the tracks. The Trip Advisor gushes about one particular tearoom that’s set in a converted 1911 cottage complete with a wrap-around veranda and back yard seating. 

Called The Tea House on Los Rios, it is located on a cozy Orange County rural street only steps from the train station. There are many other restaurants in the village’s historic core, but for now let’s stick to tea (and later donuts). Service is excellent including many seats—no waiting in line unless you are the worst tourist and come on big holidays. 

Here the high tea experience includes self-applauded famous scones, tea sandwiches and weekend brunch if tea is not your cup. Brunch does offer mimosas and Bloody Marys, plus there are gluten free options. It’s a busy place but the ownership and staff handles it with class. Website: 


The second stop is an Uber ride from AMTRAK in a ubiquitous Orange County rubber stamped shopping mall. Even with the red tile roof, the mall is boring. But in a corner of said mall is JD Flannel Donuts and Coffee. You’ll find donut and coffee heaven between a dry cleaners, vitamin shop and the UPS Store. 

This dude-owned shop, according to YELP is the third best donut and coffee house in the nation. Do the math: that means it is the best donut shop in California. Not bad for two fishing buddies from Montana. But, let’s be honest, San Luis Obispo’s historic center is quaint but JD Flannel’s store ain’t. The d├ęcor didn’t win that prize, but it prides itself in not being a chain and it makes donuts the old-fashioned way. And the staff gets to wear cool flannel shirts as uniforms. 


All JD Flannel donuts are hand-rolled and hand-cut in small batches and made throughout the day. Freshness wins all the prizes in the donut game. 

 Here's a message from the guys (owners): “…At JD Flannel, we offer seasonal gourmet donuts alongside classic flavors done right. We also offer donuts for those who have food allergies or dietary preferences, such as donuts with gluten-free flour as well as donuts without dairy. We want you to be confident that all of your friends or family can find a treat at our shop!...” Website: And, this shop has espresso drinks made from the JD Flannel special roaster. After all, what’s a donut experience without espresso?  

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