Honestly, I didn’t go to Portland for doughnuts. However, in my quest for finding good doughnuts in Seattle, (still searching), I kept running across recommendations for Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland. I had hoped that Voodoo might be comparable to my beloved Glamdoll. The spirit seemed similarly irreverent. After all, their slogan is, “The magic is in the hole.”
So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, and you know exactly what you’re sinking into in this post, (intendre intended), let’s get to it. Weekend before last, Pat and I decided to spend a night in Portland and walk around some parts of the city I’ve yet to see. Which, frankly, is most parts. I trained with Kiva in Portland, which meant trolling a nine-block swath of downtown over and over again; I remember there was a Chipotle and a Starbucks and a very bored Black Lab. I figured there had to be more to it than that.
Certainly, there was. I got to pop into Sock Dreams, and there were socks, as you might expect. We walked around Alberta, with every restaurant imaginable and hard cider samples in the parking lot of a tiny little co-op that made me nostalgic for North Country, the first co-op I shopped at in Minneapolis. North Country, sadly, closed in 2007.
But really people, doughnuts. On Saturday morning, after I slept until 10:00 and then dawdled and dithered way too long after that, we tried to go to Voodoo Doughnuts. They’re normally open 24 hours a day. This day, they were closed for seven of those hours, from 11:00 to 6:00, to attend a funeral of one of their people; I’m not sure if it was an employee or who, but they were closed, which meant no doughnuts. Which I can’t complain much about, honestly. Certainly, paying respects is way more important than me eating doughnuts, and I was glad that they gave their employees time to do that.
What this meant is that at 5:45, we drove back into downtown to get doughnuts for the road back to Seattle, and there was a giant line, stretching way outside the building itself. Really? For doughnuts?
We dutifully queued up, grateful to have gotten there before 6. I, especially, had just assumed we’d waltz in for our doughnuts and be gone by 6:05, but I gravely underestimated the Voodoo power.
Waiting in line gave me ample time to chew over what I was going to order, which was good, because Voodoo has A LOT of doughnuts. There’s the Diablo’s Rex, a “chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting, red sprinkles, vanilla pentagram, and chocolate chips in the middle.” There’s the maple blazer blunt, a “raised yeast doughnut rolled into a blunt dusted with cinnamon sugar. The tip is dipped in maple frosting and red sprinkle embers, prices vary due to blaster mania!” There’s the Tex-ass Challenge, “giant doughnut equals six of our doughnuts in size. If you can eat this doughnut in 80 seconds or less, you get your money back!” Whew.
Everyone in the doughnut line, in front and behind me, was talking doughnuts. Behind, a doughnut enthusiast was texting furiously to a doughnut—hungry houseguest. Should she get the Memphis Mafia? The Portland Cream? Pumpkin if they have it? (They didn’t, much to my consternation.)
The doughnut crazed in front of us seemed to be young college-age kids. They talked about how Voodoo Doughnuts will cater your wedding. Before I could stop myself, I laughed.
One of them turned around. “You want to get married at Voodoo Doughnuts?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said, “I’m pretty nontraditional. I could get into that.”
As long as the line was, it moved pretty quickly, and we were in the door much sooner than I’d anticipated. I finally had to decide on my order: Gay Bar, (yeast doughnut full of cream and rainbow); Old Dirty Bastard, (yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreos, and peanut butter); Butterfingering, (chocolate cake doughnut with vanilla frosting and Butterfinger crumbles); Mexican hot chocolate, (chocolate cake doughnut with cinnamon sugar and cayenne); and Ain’t that a Peach Fritter, (peach fritter with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles). Whew, again.
We ordered it all, and I tried not to giggle like a twelve-year-old during the “old dirty bastard” and “butterfingering” parts.
“Is it always this crowded?” I asked the fabulous doughnut cashier as he rang us up.
“It’s pretty much always like this on weekends,” he said, handing over the giant doughnut box.
So, the final conclusion of this story? Maybe people really do go to Portland just for the doughnuts. I shouldn’t underestimate the Voodoo power.