Doughnut or Donut: Portland Edition

I was super excited to go to Portland for the Vancouver USA Marathon and one of the reasons for that is that I’ve always heard about Portland’s foodie scene.  I love food and trying new things.

We didn’t have an opportunity to try as much as I would have liked because we had so much to fit into our 3 days, but we did have time to try both Voodoo Doughnuts & Blue Star Donuts.

A lot of people have heard of Voodoo Doughnuts.  With lines that can go down the block, they are known for their outrageous, crazy flavors & sizes.

We went to the Original, Voodoo Doughnut One on 3rd Avenue in Downtown Portland.  Sean had been there before and we made it our very first stop (after a stop at Barista, which is just down the street, for some coffee).  As we were walking down the street, he was like oh, good the line isn’t too bad.  There was a line, but we only waited maybe around 15-20 minutes.  Of course we realized as we were in line that it was cash only so once we got inside, Sean headed to the ATM while I waited in line.

Voodoo Doughnut, Portland, OR

There are over 90 different doughnuts on the menu so it was a challenge to choose.  They all look so cool, but ultimately we decided on the following:  Maple Bacon, Memphis Mafia & the Old Dirty Bastard.

Voodoo Doughnut, Maple Bacon, doughnut, Portland, OR

Maple Bacon bar doughnut
Raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top!

The Maple Bacon was my favorite of the 3.  Always a great combination, I was surprised at how crisp and crunchy the bacon was, just like we like our bacon, but it didn’t just fall apart.

Memphis Mafia doughnut
Fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top!

Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland, OR, Memphis Mafia

The Memphis Mafia is HUGE! Seriously, look at it, it’s almost as big as my head!! I was impressed with this fritter type doughnut.  The banana wasn’t overpowering, the dough was moist and not the toppings weren’t overly sweet.  I really thought I would be biting into a sugar bomb and that wasn’t the case at all.

Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland, OR, doughnuts, maple bacon, memphis mafia, dirty old bastard

Old Dirty Bastard doughnut
Raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreo’s™ and peanut butter!

This was probably my least favorite of the 3.  I again was surprised that it wasn’t overly sweet, but I thought it was kind of blah, nothing to write home about.

After posting about our Voodoo visit, we were told that Blue Star was where all the locals go and since we saw it on our way to Vancouver on Saturday we knew exactly were it was so we could try them out too.

We made our way to Blue Star on Monday morning before heading over to Mt. Hood for the day.  Blue Star is different from Voodoo in a lot of ways.  First off, there wasn’t a line, second, their display is super clean and you are in the kitchen where you can watch them preparing the donuts.  I thought I had a photo I could share but I couldn’t find it in my photo album.  Lastly, they accept credit cards, while Voodoo is cash only.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR

From the Blue Star website: Our donuts are made from a classic brioche recipe that originated in the south of France. The dough takes 18 hours to make and is made from scratch every day; we start with a sustainable bread flour from Shepherds Grain, add cage free eggs, whole hormone-free milk, and then fold in a European-style butter. Our donuts, glazes, and fillings are made fresh throughout the day, and we only cook our donuts in rice oil. Selections change daily and sell out quickly.

Because I lost my photo of the display case and they don’t keep their donut list on their website, I’m hoping I got the flavors correct. I scoured their Instagram for the flavors. First off, they are a much more modern, clean and artisan style of donut where as the Voodoo doughnut is a more in your face and crazy.  It was hard to choose, but ultimately we went with the following 4 different types and flavors.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Blueberry bourbon basil, donut

Blueberry, Bourbon, Basil – Sean asked about which donut was the best seller and we were told this one was.  I feel like this was more cake donut than brioche like the Raspberry Rosemary below but I might be wrong, since there was frosting on it, it was hard to tell.  But it was definitely tasty.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Peanut Butter & Jelly, donut

Peanut Butter & Jelly – I had to try this one because I love PB.  This was I believe a raspberry or maybe blackberry (I can’t remember) filled with peanut butter powder and I believe a little cayenne pepper.  There was definitely a little kick in the back of my throat with this one.  Super yummy, I enjoyed this one.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Hard Apple Cider Fritter

Hard Cider Apple Fritter – I like apple fritters so I picked this for our fourth choice.  Made with apples, cinnamon and raisins and a nice glaze it was good, but in comparison to the others, it was probably our least favorite.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Raspberry Rosemary, Donut

Raspberry & Rosemary – Sean also asked the guy helping us what his favorite was and he pointed to this one.  We were super lucky to get to try one that was still warm.  This was by far our favorite, warm and crunchy on outside while still remaining soft inside with a super yummy raspberry glaze.

After hearing about these amazing doughnuts and donuts which do you think was my favorite?

Drum roll please…

They were both good, but I have to say Blue Star was by far my favorite and the place I would recommend to anyone.  I think you have to try Voodoo because of what it is, a destination, the maple bacon was yummy, but for an amazing & unique artisan creation, I’d pick Blue Star every time.

Have you been to Portland and gone to Voodoo &/or Blue Star?  Which is your favorite?