Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Voodoo Donuts – Portland’s Finest Sugar Rush

You may have noticed an absence in posts over the last week, which has been due to all my travels on the West Coast. And what a time it’s been! It’s made me appreciate the amazingness found right in our country, especially the percolating culinary culture in states such as Oregon and California. This post aims to shine a light on the former, as I recall a fantastic experience Dan and I had with friends, Moses and Sonya while visiting them in Portland.

As soon as we got off the plane and into Moses’ car, he couldn’t stop talking about Voodoo Doughnut, and made it clear that they’re an absolute must in Portland. Who was I to question him, as I love me some good local sweets, and doughnuts are never a hard sell for me. We headed to Voodoo on a weekend morning, right before an arduous hike. I was grateful for this, as we were about to consume an obscene amount of calories, and they had to be burnt off in some way. This way, the doughnuts were totally justified :)

Portland boasts three Voodoo Doughnut locations, one in downtown Portland and two in the near vicinity, such as in Eugene and near Sandy Blvd. We went to the latter, which is also called Voodoo Doughnut Too, which was on the route to our hike.

Low and behold, there was a line outside, but nothing that a shrewd NYer couldn’t handle. Moses explained that this is pretty typical, regardless of which location you go to, and that the line moves quickly. I didn’t mind at all, as waiting is all part of the experience and gave us time to select what we wanted. It also gave us the opportunity to take in Voodoo’s quirky surroundings.

Decked in pastel pink, Voodoo’s interior feels like a funky little hodgepodge of nostalgia. You’ll find everything from a jukebox, vintage posters, stuffed animals, and tall stacks of those signature Voodoo Doughnut pink boxes. These happen to be my favorite, as the slogan on the front is quite hilarious, stating that “all good things come in pink boxes.” We all had a ball with that one!

Voodoo boasts a variety of more than 50 types of doughnuts, which are separated into different categories such as “cake-like” doughnuts, cruellers, hole donuts, filled doughnuts, and more. Because it was Dan and my first time here, we were eager to sample a little bit of everything and ended up getting a sampler of a dozen doughnuts.

Once we opened that box, we didn’t know where to start – there was so much sugary goodness staring up at us! Naturally, we wanted to sample each doughnut, and therefore ended up taking small pieces of each one and then tackling our given favorites in bigger quantities.

Bacon Maple Bar – We couldn’t refuse indulging in our favorite savory treat, and pairing it with something sweet. While I’ve had a maple bacon doughnut before, this one was quite different, as it had full sized pieces of crispy bacon on top, vs. the small bacon bits I’m used to. The bacon was my favorite part of course, and I loved how it melded with the sticky maple frosting. The actual doughnut was quite plain and not very exciting, but the indulgent topping definitely made up for it.

Memphis Mafia (aka The Bear Claw) – My very favorite doughnut of the bunch was a conglomeration of different flavors and textures. I can totally see why we kept referring to it as the Bear Claw, as it resembled one – a huge bear-like piece that looked wildly irregular in size and was jagged on top and around the edges. Incorporating flavors such as chocolate, peanut butter, caramel and cinnamon, it was like a cinnamon bun raised to the nth power. The chocolate chips were a little crunchy as well as the outside of the doughnut, while the inside was a soft, flaky heaven.

The Voodoo Doll – The most unique doughnut, when it came to aesthetics was the Voodoo, as it resembled a funny looking voodoo doll with a pretzel sticking out of its mouth (I think it was supposed to be a cigarette :)). When biting into it, it revealed a crimson red inside full of fresh raspberry jam that evoked blood. Besides this being really clever, the jam was really delicious and included chunks of fresh raspberries that were really tasty. This was Dan’s favorite doughnut and my close runner up.

Service and Cost:
Once we got through the line, which moved fast, our server was a quirky young girl who embodied the irreverent Voodoo spirit. She was the perfect combination of helpful and blaze, giving us a few doughnut recommendations along the way, but really letting us take the lead.

Unlike in NY where a gourmet doughnut (errrr The Cronut) can cost you upwards of $5 a piece, Voodoo doughnuts are well priced. Starting at just $.95 and going up to $2.95/piece, they average out to about $2 a pop when you get a dozen.

3 Sticky and Delicious Mmmmms

Voodoo Doughnuts – 1501 NE Davis, Portland OR 97232

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