If you love food, go to Portland.
Fact. A friend of mine speaks highly of Portland in Oregon, he told me that since I am a food blogger and he assured me that I will love this city, and he was right. Portland or the cool kids called it by its airport code – PDX; is considered a small city on the northwest region with big appetite! This hungry city has been claimed to be one of America’s best cities for foodies, with over 600 food carts and still counting; and that’s why Portland is still the food cart capital of US.
But there is another thing that is just as exciting as food carts here in Portland is donuts. With the slogan of “Keep Portland Weird“, they sure do their donuts differently here. I managed to check out a couple of the donut joints and tasted the rainbow, in a weird but good sort of way.
A little touristy, but you simply can’t come to Portland without dropping by at Voodoo Doughnut. This iconic establishment has expanded to three different stores around city but the original shop at 3rd Avenue in Chinatown is still the most popular one. We happened to stumble upon this store one morning and bewildered by the long line of people waiting outside.
Obviously many tourists and the like have the same idea of having donuts and a cup of coffee for breakfast.
By noon, the queue had worsen and queueing over an hour to get inside is not unheard of.
But first you must understand,
Voodoo Doughnut opens 24 hours for 7 days, at all three locations.
Unless you are a sucker for torture and like to queue with the mass during peak hours, then be my guest. Or be like me, walk straight right in during weeknights around 6-7pm when it is the least busiest. Some say downing a donut after hitting the bars at 2am is a must-do in this town.
The selection of novelty donuts here at Voodoo is mind-blogging; from custard cream filled classics to some of the wackiest and cheekiest donuts you can imagine. All sorts of colourful donuts are rotating in two glass cabinets in hypnotising speed calling out, “Eat me!” Without holding up the line, you do have to make your decision fast and right on the spot as soon as you step inside the store. I chose four donuts, paid the money, put the change in the tip jar and happily walked out the store with my pink box.
Does “Good things come in pink boxes?” Oh yes, it does. Many will choose to smash the donuts right there and then at the laneway where picnic benches are provided for Voodoo’s customers. There’s simply no way I can smash all four donuts on my own, hence decided to take them back home with me and gorge them at my own leisure pace.
I guess it just feels right to order a voodoo doll from the Voodoo Doughnut. The raised yeast doughnut is coated in chocolate frosting with a blooded innards of raspberry jelly. All voodoo dolls are decorated differently so finding out which one you’re getting is half the fun.
Choosing donuts right on the spot at such short timeframe was utterly stressful, I simply blurted out first thing came to mind, “Cock-n-balls! Err….. and gaybar?” The waitress didn’t even flinched with my poor choices but instead asking me, “Do you want your cock-n-balls to be decorated?” Oh my…. beg a pardon! I kindly declined her offer.
Both donuts are more or less the same, filled with cream custard inside, one has chocolate frosting and the other one is simply glazed with icing. But you’ve been warned, the cock-n-balls are quite a handful and a mouthful.
If you can only choose one donut, and one donut only; then make that a bacon maple bar. The raised yeast donut bar is glazed with maple frosting and topped with crispy bacon strips. Each sweet mouthful comes with salty crunch of bacon goodness.
Voodoo’s donuts are typical American classic donuts, they are sweet to the core, fried with an oily aftertaste and the donut itself is soft enough but still a little yielding. But hey, sometimes that is exactly what you need, a little naughty indulgence. If you are looking for something a little different or “gourmet” I would called it, then Blue Star is definitely worth checking out.
Blue Star Donuts
A cup of Stumptown cafe latte, and a Blue Star donut will have your morning breakfast sorted. As its slogan boasts these donuts are for grownups, they pride themselves by using freshest, sustainable, ethical ingredients, combining with a brioche recipe originated in the south of France, the donuts are then cooked in rice oil which considered a little healthier than other oils. The donuts are made fresh daily in small batches and usually sell out each day.
The Blue Star store is located in Pearl district, not far from Powell’s book store. The shop is invitingly spacious filled with natural light, customers get to check out the donut making action behind the counter in the open-plan kitchen. If you are in no rush, feel free to pull up a bar stool, kick back, relax with a donut and watch the world goes by.
The most raved about donut here at Blue Star, also possibly the one that everyone must try is the blueberry, bourbon and basil donut. Is it bad that I compare Blue Star donut to Krispy Kreme’s? I think not, the donut here is just as pillowy soft and ethereally light, glazed with natural frosting that you can actually taste the blueberry flavour, sour and not overly sweet. The herbaceous basil flavour is subtle in the combo with a smooth bourbon finish.
Calling me fat if you wish, I simply couldn’t leave this place with just one donut, the blackberry compote filled donut dusted with peanut butter powder was another hit. There is something so satisfying about biting into a powdery donut leaving traces of sugary peanut butter dust around the mouth. Inside is filled with a sharp blackberry compote that offsets the sweetness of the peanut butter marvellously. I think I am in love.
There are only so many donuts one man can put a finger through them, I only managed to check out two places out of the many others in Portland. If you are in town, here’s a the list of donut places in portland that worth checking out:
1. Voodoo Doughnut
22 SW 3rd Avenue Portland Oregon, U.S.A.
2. Blue Star Donuts
1237 SW Washington Street, Portland, Oregon 97205
3. Coco Donuts
814 SW 6th Ave., Portland, OR 97204
4. Helen Bernhard Bakery
1717 NE Broadway St., Portland, OR 97232
527 SW 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97205
6. Staccato Gelato
232 NE 28th Ave., Portland, OR 97232
Fri, Sat, Sun only
7. Fleur De Lis Bakery
3930 NE Hancock St., Portland, OR 97212
Sat and Sun only
8. Delicious Donuts
12 SE Grand Ave., Portland, OR 97214
9. Moody’s Donuts/Rocking Frog Café
2511 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR 97214
10. Acme Donuts
2929 SE Powell Blvd., Portland, OR 97202