Do do that Voodoo that you do.

Apparently mid afternoon on a weekday before 3pm is the perfect time to slip into this Portland culinary landmark, Voodoo Doughnuts. I had heard horror stories about hours-long lines. I slipped inside with only 20 people ahead of me. But by the time I walked out at 3:20, the lines started wrapping outside.

The selections are impressive. With over 200 donut flavors, the owners are constantly swapping them about and adding unique new options. I didn’t know where to start, but since I’m traveling with the wife and a friend, we can get several to share and try more varieties.

So let’s dive in. First we have a bacon maple bar. The cake is thankfully unsweetened, and the bar on the small side, both of which help balance what can usually be an overly sweet donut. The cake was slightly tangy, perhaps partially fermented like sourdough? The glaze was clearly made from real maple and not some medicinal artificial flavoring. The bacon, while nowhere near the best bacon, was perfectly cooked so that it had a chewy crumble texture without being burnt. How often have you eaten something with bacon that resulted in the entire strip pulling off when you took a bite? Not here.

Go coocoo for Cocoa Puffs? Don’t mind if I do! Chocolate cake with chocolate glaze and chocolate cereal.

Classic characters deserve classic donuts. The Homer is simple sponge cake with a pink strawberry glaze and sprinkles. Again, not overly sweet. Drooool…

This next one looks like an ordinary sugar donut, but it’s not. That’s actually a cinnamon and brown sugar dusting. And inside? Pumpkin cream filling with all the spice and goodness of pumpkin pie.

After that we have a bowl of kids cereal. A plain donut with a milk-white frosting is topped with Trix and Captain Crunch. While it looks fun, it’s just a mess of sugar, and in the Portland humidity, the cereal gets stale fast. I guess that might be a good thing though, since it means the Captain Crunch can’t fill its reputation for ripping up the roof of your mouth. Im sure this one is popular on Saturday mornings.

Viscous Hibiscus is a simple donut with a sweet and tangy hibiscus glaze and chocolate sprinkles.

And finally my last selection. Same donut base, but topped with Oreo cookies and a peanut butter glaze. This one is probably my favorite, but after the barrage of donuts before it, I’m almost tapped-out. I wish I had started here.

Starry-eyed for donuts

So while we wait for a table at Tasty n Alder, we’ll slip around the corner to Blue Star for coffee and donuts. One of a handful of Portland instutions that have recently expanded to LA, Blue Star elevates the classic coffee and donut counter to classy foodie status.

On Sunday morning any good donut shop should have lines like this, but luckily they aren’t Voodo Donuts long, so we get through quickly. The iconic white tile and blue trim interior makes one think this should be Portland, Maine instead of Oregon.

After ordering you step aside to fill your coffee while hipsters gently load your box, treating each donut as an individual precious object. This is the antithesis of a corner donut-slinging counter.

I’m a sucker for buttermilk old-fashioned, so I jumped on that option here. A nicely dense cake with a slight tang, it’s topped with a light sugar glaze with hints of cinnamon.

The other is a equally fantastic, a simple fluffy sourdough with a super gooey blueberry bourbon basil topping that gets everywhere.

Lastly, this place is famous for its coffee. While good, I don’t know if it stands out over other high-end small roasters. But their coffee does pair perfectly with their donuts. So even if I may not buy it separately, it’s a must-have when eating here.

Let’s see how great this famous coffee really is

Finally, a Dunkin Donuts. I’ve been itching to try them for a while now, especially since their coffee repeatedly wins tasting polls.

Pearl is a fan if their donut holes, so we picked up one of each:


Glazed – ehh, nothing special, good balance of glaze to cake though

Chocolate – rich and creamy, definitely the best of the bunch.

Powdered – not too sweet, fresh crisp taste

Cinnamon powdered – nice variant on the traditional powdered

Pumpkin – mostly cinnamon and allspice, not much pumpkin flavor


Apple raspberry jelly – nice fluffy cake and jelly has some nice tartness to it. But hard to identify apple or raspberry flavors. Tastes like jello.


Coffee is good. Default cream and sugar levels are perfect. Slight hint of chickory, and the roast flavor clearly comes through. Even without all the crazy flavor add-ins, I can see why people pick this as their favorite. Nothing exotic, just simple comforting flavor.

If I was around, I’d stop in again for the coffee.