Voodoo Doughnut: Risque, Minus Maple Bacon, in Portland

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Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon were nowhere in sight at their original downtown location. Maybe they were across the Willamette River at Voodoo Doughnut’s new spin-off. The duo has been mentioned in almost every food related publication imaginable and was even featured on “No Reservations.” It was the only spot where I’ve ever seen Anthony Bourdain try to eat two days straight. Given the build-up, I had high expectations.

Donut Shop Portland
The kitschy doughnut shop is bracketed by blocks of bars. It’s a brilliant business concept, since drunk people crave fatty foods, and doughnuts are about as devastating as food gets, especially how Pogson and Shannon make them.

A handwritten menu lists all the offerings and poses a challenge: “Live By The Voodoo” or “Die By The Doughnut.”

Donuts Portland
Voodoo opened at 10 PM, and we arrived by 10:15, but they were already sold out of maple bacon bars. The counterwoman said they typically sell out within 20 minutes of opening. This was definitely disappointing, but we still bought five different doughnuts:
• Blueberry cake
• Blood Filled Voodoo Doughnut ($1.75) – a rich raspberry filled chocolate voodoo doll with “BOO” on it and a pretzel speared through its chest
• Grape Ape raised doughnut ($1.30) – grape Kool Aid frosting
• Dirty Snowball ($1.50) – Devil’s food cake with strawberry coconut strands and peanut butter
• Arnold Palmer ($1) – cake doughnut with iced tea and lemonade frosting

We skipped some of the more risqué offerings, including the Cock-N-Balls, which looks just like it sounds (triple Bavarian cream filled, scribbled with “Sexy”), and the Triple Chocolate Penetration (chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and Coco Puffs).

Voodoo asks customers to “take the Tex-Ass challenge,” referring to an oversized doughnut that’s easily six doughnuts in one. “Eat it in under 80 seconds and it’s free!” No thanks.

The Arnold Palmer and Blueberry doughnuts were top level, but we came to Voodoo Doughnut to eat the maple bacon bar. Based on that, the experience was a letdown. As a doughnut shop, Voodoo is above average, but given the long lines and painful parking situation, it’s hard to imagine a return visit.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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