It’s not as if the cupcake craze hasn’t overtaken Portland (not even the Middle East isn't immune to such fluff) but I still feel like it’s more of a doughnut town. Maple bars, specifically.
I never even particularly enjoyed those syrupy sweet tan-frosted oblongs, but I immediately noticed their absence when I first moved to NYC. Who knew maple bars were regional? And even more incongruously, why do they thrive in the Northwest, a region not known for maple trees yet are nonexistent in New England, maple syrup central?
Cult doughnut-hawkers, Voodoo Doughnut, knows how to use one of the culinary world’s most played out tropes—bacon making everything better—to their advantage. Thick sugary maple frosting and salty bacon strips padded by tender yeasty pasty are decadent, kind of gross yet totally makes sense. There are both more classic and more artisanal doughnut purveyors in town, but I wanted maple and bacon.
These would be amazing warm out of the oven, but judging from the near-constant lines around the block (this photo was from Sunday around noon and that red door is not the entrance–that's about half-way down the street) you take what you can get. We went back the same Sunday a little after midnight and there was still about a 15-minute-wait. A friend who lives in Portland happened to try their Northeast location that very same evening and claims to have waited 30 minutes.
One of my takeways from this brief visit was that Portland has way too many lines (I also waited just shy of half an hour for a cup of Stumptown coffee where in Brooklyn you can get it in a fraction of that amount of time) and is obviously in need of more brunch options, kooky doughnut shops, quality coffee and spot on Thai food. There’s high demand for all of this, even if thought that Portland had already hit coffee saturation point.
Local grocer Fred Meyer has certainly caught on to this demand. I spied Fruit Loop encrusted doughnuts in their bakery case, which are a blatant Voodoo Doughnut rip off.
Voodoo Doughnut * 22 SW Third Ave. Portland, OR