While often lumped together as the nation's foremost avant garde Donut-Institutions, NYC's Doughnut Plant, and Portland's Voodoo Doughnut could not be more different in terms of Donut-Philosophy. The Plant relies on a more artisanal approach, with complex doughs, glazes and consistencies, while Voodoo prefers to tug the heart strings a bit more, reminding its patrons of that youthful willingness to mash up any set of random flavors so long as the result was sweet and delicious (kind of like when Ally Sheedy puts cereal and pixie stick on her sandwich in The Breakfast Club – but I guess that was more a gesture of adolescent defiance than flavor-pairing curiosity, but whatever). Biting into a Doughnut Plant Nut challenges the palate with flavors like Lavender Glazed and Tres Leches Cake, while munching a Voodoo results in a mouthful of Cocoa Puffs.
But while Voodoo's preparations are founded in childhood longing, in actuality they're considerably more adult. With suggestive Donut names like the Cock-n-Balls (the shape matches the name) and Triple Chocolate Penetration, and with a logo proclaiming "The Magic is in the Hole," it's clear that Voodoo's mind rests proudly in the gutter. And such a mindset fits in nicely with its city's anything-goes attitude, which the fellow on the plane sitting next to us so perfectly captured:
Guy on Plane: "This your first time to Portland?"
Us: "Yep. Have any recommendations for things to see and do?"
Guy on Plane: "You bet. You guys like strip clubs?"
Though an odd thing to say to someone you've just met, we assumed he was joking and forced a laugh.
Guy on Plane: "I'm not joking. My wife and I go all the time."
Guy on Plane: "Yep. Portland's a free thinking city. Strip clubs are everywhere out here. People from Texas try and come up here and close em down. But it's in the constitution that Oregon be allowed to have strip clubs."
We had no idea what the hell he was talking about. But he was right about there being a lot of strip clubs. And it should be noted that Guy on Plane had a beard, orange tinted Oakley's (which he wore the entire flight) and, to the dismay of the other passengers, a howling German Shepard puppy. But back to Voodoo…
Our renewal was scheduled to take place on Saturday night at 9:00 PM (at which point it would be midnight back home and thus the beginning of our anniversary). But do you honestly think Blognut could wait until 9 PM to get his hands on a Voodoo Nut?! Of course not. Afterall, I've been anticipating this marvelous day since starting this stupid blog back in February. So first thing Saturday morning I dragged Mrs. Blognut to 22 Southwest 3rd Avenue for my first ever taste of the Voodoo.
Support your local doughnut.
The Voodoo storefront is beautifully simplistic, consisting of nothing more then a single door in a plain, brick warehouse-looking building. At night, something called the Cruller Chandelier of Life shines brightly through a small window above the door. The shop itself is tiny – and crammed with loads of Doughnut paraphernalia. On the back wall hangs the biggest doughnut I've ever seen (which we would later find out serves as the altar for weddings and vow renewals). A single rotating display of doughnuts shows off the brightly colored and oddly shaped collection of Voodoo Nuts available that day (a movie of which can be seen here thanks to field correspondent Beta Blognut).
The biggest doughnut I've ever seen.
Confident we would have our fill of Nuts that night during the ceremony, I showed a surprising amount of self-control and only ordered one – the Dirty Snowball. Not trying to sound shallow, this was an attractive doughnut - and lets face it, Donut culture is a superficial world where appearance can carry nearly as much weight as taste. The Snowball is a chocolate cake Doughnut, topped with pink marshmallow glaze and shredded coconut, with a big glob of peanut butter resting on top (taking Zappa's "don't you eat that yellow snow," one step further). The dough is slightly sweet and has a soft, moist consistency, while the frosting is sugary and creamy and balanced in texture by the crisp strands of coconut. But once we hit the peanut butter there was no turning back – it took over every taste bud and provided a gooey delicious finish. What a perfect way to start our three-day feast-of-Voodoo-gluttony.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our trip to Portland to see Mrs. Blognut and I get hitched for the second time. We'll also be introducing Mr. Voodoo himself, Tres Shannon.
Dirty Snowball -