That Old Black Magic

Voodoo Doughnut, Good Things Come in Pink Boxes

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.

Voodoo Cock and Balls Doughnut

Yes, of course I measured it.

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.

Voodoo Doughnut

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.

On a different outing our drive from Pittock Mansion to Base Camp Brewing took us right past Voodoo, and of course more doughnuts.

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.

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25 Comments on “That Old Black Magic”

  1. armchairsommelier July 19, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    We stood in line for what felt like FOREVER to get our Voodoo on! And then my teenage son ate a doughnut the size of his head. And asked for another . . . Salud!


    • Brian July 19, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      The first time there we were also met with a long line. It kind of helped add to the mystique of the place.


    • Christopher Holmquist July 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      You guys do realize there’s a second location in Portland right? Of course you didn’t because you’re a tourist that only saw it on tv. That’s why you went there in the first place right? The downtown one is where the tourist’s go. The other one is the locals. It’s great that none of you tourists know that


      • Brian July 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

        Well, I guess this means the blog has finally grown large enough to attract the obligatory internet douche bag. We’re honored, really.

        P.S. I guess you missed it but the address of your super secret “locals only” location is shown right up top in the banner pic. But don’t worry, I’m sure you’ve done a good job of keeping visitors away by demonstrating what amazingly friendly people frequent that joint 😉


  2. Tom July 19, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Traveling the world (and being a Portland native ) it never fails to amaze me when I see a pink Voodoo box in some far away airport or train station. Haven’t these people read the part about shelf life?

    Thanks for taking me home again.


    • Brian July 19, 2013 at 11:39 am #

      Chalk it up to eighty years of Twinkie conditioning.


  3. Ingrid July 19, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    OMG…..too funny for words. We’ll need to put this on our list of “interesting” sites 🙂


  4. John July 19, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    holy smokes, vegan cock! my daughter-in-law wouldn’t touch that and she does the vegan thing… Fun post!


    • Brian July 19, 2013 at 11:36 am #

      Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d see written on this site. Too funny. Thanks.


  5. cravesadventure July 19, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    I have to give VD a whirl! Thanks so much for sharing!


  6. tiny lessons blog July 19, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Lots of fun! And who knows what all that voodoo might bring on your way 🙂


  7. digger666 July 19, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Reblogged this on digger666 and commented:
    Perhaps Shannon and Brian have been on the road a bit too long?


  8. Loni Found Herself July 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    Great minds must think alike, because I just wrote about donuts, too! I’ve never been to Portland, but I’ve heard of this place. I’ll be sure to scope it out if I’m ever in the area.


  9. Mark Petruska July 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Great post, and the bacon maple bar really IS all that. Good news: if your travels take you to Denver someday, Voodoo is opening a location out that-a-way, too.


  10. Connie July 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    visited VooDoo in April 2013 cos it was on my “bucket list” of things to experience onmy Portland vacays.
    Tasty fun!! no lines, and no worry about shelf life, the goods weren’t around long enough…and the atmosphere, positively magic! will be my first stop when i come back!


    • Brian July 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

      That’s the way to do it, for sure.


  11. msdulce July 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Oh this one made me laugh. Reminds me of Hot Cookie in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, which has similarly racy- but not vegan- tasty genitals concocted of macaroon & well-placed shaved coconut. 🙂 I’m not a bacon fan, but I hear that maple-bacon ice cream is also pretty tasty!


  12. CanadianTravelBugs July 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    I saw this place on a travel show and the owner dressed in funky bright colours and patterns. Did you see him when you were there?
    Fun post….


  13. rameyontheroad July 23, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Glad you enjoyed my hometown. I’m actually there right now, too, reveling in the lovely, cool and verdant summertime. Voodoo has become quite the sensation, and Stumptown is my favorite coffe spot. I actually have my mother send Stumptown beans to me in New Mexico. 😉 Next time make a stop at Nicholas for some really delightful Lebanese, or take the elevator up the Bank of America Building for Portland City Grill’s awesome view and happy hour!


  14. CurlyTraveller December 23, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    Hahaha, this post made me laugh. And these doughnuts are outrageous! I would go there and buy some just for the look and quirkiness.
    I have never been in Portland, but it is on my to-visit-list since years. I heard great stories about it’s artistic boho vibe.
    The US will have to wait, though, untill our Asia life ends. For now we explore this part of the world.



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