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PDX Voodoo

Voodoo signEmpanada Boy and I flew into Portland on Friday night. We were supposed to get in at 10:30 pm. To make a long and familiar story short, we ended up getting in at 1:45 am. Luckily, the devoted Flava Flav was there to meet us. I was ready to climb into bed and sleep for a long, long time, but true to form, Empanada Boy was hungry for a past midnight snack. And there are few better places for that than Voodoo Doughnut.

Since opening in 2003, Voodoo Doughnut has achieved cult status, attracting late-night revelers in all states of inebriation. There is often live music in the tiny loft inside the tiny restaurant space. The owners have been licensed to marry people in the shop, and they offer Swahili lessons there every Monday night. Ever the socialite, Flava Flav has been there many a time. Thanks to his own Portland relatives, EB has eaten there on all of his previous visits. I, however, had never been, so I volunteered to forsake another hour of sleep for some caloric indulgence.

Dirty BastardThe line was out the door when we arrived at around 2:15 am. Empanada Boy ordered a messy-looking concoction known as the “Old Dirty Bastard.” It’s a regular doughnut topped with chocolate, Oreo cookie crumbs and a peanut butter glaze. Flava Flav is not much of a doughnut adventurist. She ordered a regular glazed doughnut. Not bad, but nothing special.

BluntMy selection was called “The Blunt” because it’s supposed to look like a lit cigarette— made of tobacco, of course… It was a cinnamon sugar-coated wedge dipped in maple and red sprinkles. I thought it could just as easily be a French fry dipped in ketchup. Other menu items include such selections like “Grape Ape,” a raised doughnut with vanilla frosting and grape powder; the “Arnold Palmer,” a cake doughnut covered with lemon and tea powder; and the “Cock-n-Balls” a triple cream filled selection shaped like you know what. It comes in a pink box with your favorite saying written on it.

Wall doughnutVoodoo Doughnuts is a clever idea, and I’m sure its innovative owners deserve a lot of credit for coming up with it. Still, I have to say that I didn’t think the doughnuts were anything special. Apart from the silly toppings, they tasted much like other doughnuts I’ve had. Maybe I need to try more of them, or maybe I’m just not sufficiently appreciative. Or maybe it’s just the high percentage of drunk people assembled in a relatively small space that turns me off. In short, I’m glad Voodoo exists and has brought Portland much-deserved fame and glory, but I think I could wait a few years before I feel the need to go back again.

Voodoo Doughnut
22 SW 3rd Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

Voodoo Doughnut in Portland

6 thoughts on “PDX Voodoo

  1. Flav says:

    I agree. Voodoo is more of a sight to be seen then a culinary mecca. But I must say, there is nothing better than a good old fashioned after a long night out! Plus, the place unites the former frat boys and hipsters that dominate the night life in Portland.

  2. Forkster says:

    You’re right–that’s totally a French fry dipped in ketchup, not a blunt. Besides, I’ll take a full doughnut of sprinkles over the gimmick of just having them on the “lit” end.

    That said, if I visit Portland, I’d totally check it out. Sounds like the kind of place you have to visit once, blog about it, then never return. Mission accomplished, ML!

  3. Kris says:

    Agreed, nothing inherently special about the donuts–except they are there, at an hour when some people crave carbohydrates, fats and salt, and friendly company. That said, Voodoo is now open 24/7, which means they will likely creep into Garden Home or Bethany or Sellwood before the Mango Lassie hits Oprah.

  4. Ian says:

    did you know you can also get married at voodoo donuts…

    also, in the loft above the entrance they often times squeeze a band in the tiny place to play. not as pertinent as the first factoid :)

  5. Empanada Boy says:

    I heard they used to serve a pepto bismol doughnut. I would have tried it… once. Maybe it was supposed to counteract the ill effects of eating a doughnut at 3:30 in the morning with nothing else in one’s stomach but alcohol, leaving the subject in perfect balance, feeling neither good nor bad, just normal… or bismol, if you will. Anyway, I’m not surprised they discontinued it.

  6. Pingback: » Doughnuts: A Showdown

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