Places I Love: Voodoo Doughnuts . . . um Portland!

City of Bridges, Rivers and Highways

I have just under 24 hours to explore Portland, OR.  Having never spent any real time here, I am curious to check out the city, its bike paths, restaurants and Powell Books.  I call my college classmate and former San Francisco roommate, Dave, and tell him I am in town.  He meets me on bike at the hip n’ cool Jupiter Hotel, where I stay for the night, and we head out on the town.

Our first stop is a local watering hole: Crush.  It’s not long before it feels like old times.  We catch up on the last 15 years of our lives; career, love, family and more.  There is a great sense of satisfaction I feel in our exchange – it is good to share life stories with a chum.  We move over to the trendy Accanto restaurant in the neighborhood of Belmont and continue our repartee.  It is great fun.

Downtown Portland, OR

Our night cap takes us on a walk to downtown Portland and Voodoo Doughnuts, where at 12:30AM there is a line of about 40 people waiting for doughnuts.  I order a caramel round and Dave gets the bacon maple bar.  We walk and eat; I notice the vibrancy of the city – Portland is alive and loud in the early morning.  Perched on our outdoor bench at the secret bar Central, we watch trendy, young club-goers, drag queens, homeless men and women and people in search of late night eats fill the streets with activity.  I head back to the hotel and climb into bed around 1AM.  I dream of sweat rings of fried cakes and seriously consider a Voodoo run at 3 AM (they open 24/7), but sleep gets the better of me.

The next day, after a most delicious brunch at Wild Abandon, Dave and I find ourselves in line at Voodoo again; this time at the alternate location, which is bright pink and architecturally resembles a former IHOP.  It has the atmosphere of a carnival – black velvet paintings of Kenny Loggins, pinball machines, tourists and locals, and the grande dame: a four tiered, glass-enclosed doughnut case.  My eyes start to spin like a cartoon character as I consider which deep-fried ball of delight I will devour.  A closer look reveals a vegan top shelf.

The Voodoo Doughnut (yum!)

I settle on the signature doughnut – a raspberry filled, chocolate covered bar, complete with short arms and a pretzel stick used for performing black magic rituals.  “Bite the head off!,” Dave instructs me.  I do, then eat the entire body, growling as if I am King Kong or some other giant animal.  Before leaving, I decide to take a couple dozen sinkers me to the Soul Retrieval workshop I am about attend in SE Oregon – I figure that retrieving souls is hard work and people would appreciate the sustenance.  Plus, it allows me to eat two more doughnuts in the car ride to the retreat center.

I leave Portland feeling full from the dunkers and happy to have reconnected with an old friend.


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