Voodoo Doughnut: Bacon Maple Magic
22 SW 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR
Portland is a city full of weirdos. Chuck Palahniuk wrote a whole book about it: Fugitives and Refugees. I bought the ebook edition for my iPad before we came here, even though, you can buy the paperback for cheap at Powell City of Books. Only in an eclectic, artsy and quirky city like Portland can an offbeat doughnut shop like Voodoo Doughnut become a tourist destination. We gasped when we saw the line-up circle the block. We were across the street but could already see the line up from there. We quickly dashed across the street and got in line.
Voodoo Doughnut was started by two friends, Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon, both of whom didn’t know the first thing about doughnuts. They just knew they wanted to be in business together, and they wanted to be in business for a legendary, offbeat idea that would symbolize the funky, unique spirit of Portland. Thus, Voodoo Doughnut was born!
As we baked under the sun in the extremely long Voodoo Doughnut line-up, I made a mental note of all the doughnuts I wanted. A must was the trademark voodoo doll yeast doughnut, that’s the chocolate guy up on the iconic Voodoo Doughnut sign. There’s even an image of it on the stained glass window above the front door.
The inside of Voodoo Doughnut is just as quirky as the outside, chandeliers hang on an orange ceiling and the walls were littered with the most bizarre posters and pictures. Off to the side was a giant doughnut stuck on the wall.
My favourite drawing was one of cartoon voodoo doughnuts being summoned into a pink box by their voodoo master.
The famous Voodoo doughnuts are proudly displayed in spinning display cases beside the counter. As the customers picked out their selections, fresh doughnuts are collected from trays in the back and tucked into the iconic bright pink boxes.
As an aside, I’ve always had a soft spot for voodoo dolls and can confess that I even own a few for my very worst enemies.
The chocolate covered voodoo doll doughnut is much more adorable than any of my very own voodoo dolls. Its googly sugar icing eyes look on as a pretzel stabs its middle. We actually saved this little guy until the next day (doughnuts make great snacks for outlet shopping!) and he still tasted deliciously fresh. The middle of the doughnut was filled with a fruity burst of raspberry jam. The jam went wonderfully with the chocolate frosting and the salty pretzel stake.
We also ordered the Maple Blazer Blunt, covered in sugar with maple icing and red sprinkles on one end to represent the lit ember.
My favourite part of this doughnut was definitely the sweet and nutty maple icing. What Canadian doesn’t love maple?
We ordered the peanut butter rice krispy doughnut because I wanted a cereal topped doughnut. The only problem with Voodoo doughnuts with cereal topping is that the cereal goes stale after a day. Which sucks because I do love the Froot Loop and Cocoa Puff topped doughnuts. Luckily our peanut butter rice krispy doughnut was still fresh the next day and the rice krispies were still crispy and crunchy. Who knew that the sticky and sweet peanut butter would really seal in the freshness.
The peanut butter rice krispy doughnut is called ‘No Name,’ but I’d call it scrumptious!
We chose the devilish Diablos Rex as our only cake doughnut. Admittedly, I chose it because the vanilla pentagram and red sprinkles looked badass. When we asked the guy behind the counter what his favourite was, he recommended the tame but tasty blueberry cake doughnut, explaining that it’s not the raciest choice but it’s deceptively delicious. But I didn’t stand in line for almost 45 minutes for a normal blueberry doughnut!
I’m glad we picked the Diablos Rex, it turned out to be rich and dense with deep chocolate flavours in every bite, complete with delectable chocolate chips in the middle.
We couldn’t bring ourselves to order the cock-n-balls cream filled doughnut but we did order another filled doughnut: the limited time offer, easy pesey lemon doughnut filled with sweet and tart lemon jam. Partial proceeds from the easy pesey doughnut go to the University of Oregon Libraries, the libraries currently houses Ken Kesey’s original manuscripts and artwork. I guess it’s the inner starving writer in me, but I’m a sucker for a literary cause. Plus, one look at the psychedelic frosting on the easy pesey doughnut topped with a sugary gummy and I was sold.
The easy pesey doughnut turned out to be pretty tasty, with a generous filling of lemon jam. I was happy to have made my contribution to the University of Oregon Libraries.
My favourite Voodoo Doughnut still remains the Bacon Maple bar, a yeast doughnut covered in maple frosting and two thick and crispy strips of bacon. I’ve had tonnes of maple bacon cupcakes, ice creams and chocolates but Voodoo Doughnut is the only place that gives you two entire strips of bacon on top of a doughnut.
I don’t need to point out that the maple bacon pairing is the best of the salty and sweet. It’s also the amazing texture in this doughnut, the creamy, sticky and sweet maple frosting gluing the two thick, crispy and crunchy bacon strips to the soft doughnut. Nothing beats this doughnut.
There is a shady and cozy alleyway between buildings beside Voodoo Doughnut where customers can sit at picnic tables and benches to enjoy doughnuts.
Further evidence of Portland’s lovable weirdo population: while we sat outside Voodoo Doughnut devouring our pink box of treats, a crazily decorated van pulled up and two men wearing monkey masks jumped out and started dancing up and down the street for donations. I had to stand on the bench we were sitting on to take the below pictures. Check out the back of one of the dancing monkey’s shirts: Keep Portland Weird, matching the slogan painted on the nearby wall. How can you not love this city?
I love Voodoo Doughnut and its quirky charm so much I even bought a t-shirt: “It’s worth the weight,” the shirt reads across the front, with a drawing of a huge line-up of customers in front of Voodoo Doughnut. I hope I still fit into the shirt after all the doughnuts I consumed!
We also spotted a few restaurants in the Pearl District a few blocks away from Voodoo Doughnut that serve the famous voodoo doll jelly filled doughnut as well as the bacon maple bar, if you don’t want to stand in line. Another tip to dodge the insane Voodoo Doughnut line up – try going in the middle of the night. Voodoo Doughnut is open 24 hours a day. Perfect for those late night doughnut cravings!