There really is no other way to explain it. We were caught in a web of dark magic. Portland voodoo had us under its spell and it started in the strangest of all ways, with bacon.
I’m normally an adventurous eater because you never really know. Those beaver testicles might just be the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten. The way I figure it, food is so awesome that the occasional disappointment is well worth the potential upside reward. So why not go for it?
Doughnuts, on the other hand, will always rank a timid one or two out of ten on any objective scale in the adventurous food category. But who is objective when it comes to doughnuts? When you’re jonesing for a sugary fix, taking a chance on an unusual concoction feels like bungee jumping over the piranha infested Amazon. And we were jonesing. Big time.
So when we saw that Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut crafted a bacon-topped confection we were beside ourselves. Do we try this seemingly awful combination or do we play it safe with a tried and true classic? Then we realized something important. They’re freaking doughnuts. We can actually have more than one. In fact we should.
But that still left us in a quandary: which ones? Voodoo has a seemingly endless menu of unique doughnuts to choose from; ones made with Tang, ones in the shape of Voodoo dolls with blood red filling, ones adorned with pentagrams. They offer almost as many pastries as they do marketing gimmicks and an equal number of sexual innuendos to boot.
Would you like the vegan cock?
Noting their tag line “Good things come in pink boxes” practically made one of our decisions for us. We couldn’t resist stuffing our box with a Cock and Balls doughnut. It just seemed to fit.
We weren’t quite ready for what came next, though.
“Would you like the vegan cock?” replied the smiling girl from behind the counter.
We were in Portland, after all, but really?
Not sure how to respond we stammered out a “No thank you.” Followed by, “We’ll take the regular kind, please.”
“Very well,” she said, replacing the little pink box that already held our bacon-maple bar and a couple of other selections in favor of a much larger one. Apparently this particular member was too large for that particular box. And indeed it was. Measuring in at a whopping ten inches it was a little more than we bargained for and, as we’d discover later, a bit more than we could handle.
For our first taste of Voodoo, though, we skipped the phallus in favor of the bacon maple bar. We expected to hate it. Who puts salty, greasy, pork strips on a dessert? But their voodoo is strong. Somehow they kept the bacon crispy and nicely harmonized with the sweet maple frosting and puffy cake doughnut; sort of like pancake breakfast. Magic.
Our surprisingly good bacon doughnut experience gave us the confidence to chow down on some cock and balls. I wouldn’t exactly say it was a disappointment, but it wasn’t anything special either. Size isn’t everything, apparently. In this case it was simply four Bavarian cream doughnuts fashioned into the shape of a penis. High marks for childish originality but average scores in the tasty doughnut department.
Now completely filled to bursting with, um, doughnuts, we threw in the towel and packed our remaining purchases in Tupperware to savor the following day. Or maybe we packed them in kryptonite, or its voodoo equivalent, because overnight our puffy fresh doughnuts melted into a horrible mess. When Voodoo says their products have a shelf life of eight to twelve hours they aren’t kidding. I guess even magic has an expiration date.
Not too proud to eat dissolved doughnut goo, we salvaged what we could but figured we crossed a line somewhere once we began slurping pastries through a straw. We were glad to have tried them, but at that point we figured we were through with Voodoo.
Only Voodoo wasn’t through with us.
A day later we were out exploring and had set our sights on another Portland institution for refreshment: Stumptown Coffee Roasters. We plugged their address into our GPS and off we went.
After a few twists and turns the neighborhood began to look eerily familiar. At a stoplight I checked the map and confirmed my suspicion; our GPS was taking us back to Voodoo. Figuring we must have plugged in the wrong address we decided we were fated to have some more doughnuts and so we did.
Back in the car we double checked Stumptown’s address and discovered we had it correct the first time. The coffee shop was just up the street. Our GPS wasn’t directing us to Voodoo after all. But nevertheless, there we were with a couple of doughnuts and legendary coffee a few steps away. Maybe there is something to this black art.
The Lan Su Chinese Garden? Yup, a couple blocks from Voodoo. In Portland, it seems, all roads lead to Voodoo.
We literally had to leave the state to escape it. And yet even now, hundreds of miles away, we still sometimes feel the pull of that old black magic. Voodoo’s JuJu is strong indeed.