Sometimes "work" means eating every donut in Portland. We did it all for you.
After settling into window seats at the coffeeshop Heart in downtown Portland, Oregon, Managing Editor Kenzi and I surveyed the task at hand: Eating over a dozen donuts. The donuts—which ranged from old-fashioned to lavender-glazed and Cointreau-injected—came from shops all over the city, carefully selected after scouring the internet and friends for recommendations. Four boxes of donuts and several coffees later here are the donuts we loved—plus how to find your ideal donut the next time you're in Portland:
If you like alpaca sweaters, have spent a summer volunteering on a farm in Wyoming, and take your lattes with chai instead of coffee:
Pip's Original Doughnuts and Chai
Pip's miniature donuts are fried to order at their down-home, small shop in Northeast Portland. While each donut has the same slightly cake-y base, you can customize the sugar and toppings on them—the sleeper hit was a maple bacon that donut that had the recognizable umami of bacon without an overwhelmingly meaty flavor. And it's no surprise that we finished every last bite of their Nutella and Sea Salt donut.
If you spent all of last month's expendable money going to Alinea and you frequent coffee shops that could be set in Nancy Meyers' films:
Bluestar's claim to fame is that each donut's base is a brioche (the recipe for which comes from the South of France), they use only local and certified-sustainable ingredients, and they fry in rice oil. (Cliff notes: They're fancy.) At the shop, I had to limit myself to choosing just four (it helps to be selective when you have 10 other donuts to eat), but finally settled on: O.G. (Original Glazed), a blueberry-rosemary, an apple fritter, and their Contreau Crême Brulée donut with the booze housed in a syringe sticking out of the top. We repeat: a syringe sticking out of the top.
More: Do as we did and pair you coffee with donut—here's how to make the perfect match.
If all you want from your donut is to dip it in a $1 coffee:
A local favorite, there isn't anything flashy about this donut shop. It looks like the inside of an expanded gas station—and will make you feel like you're passing through a small town on a road trip—and churns out no-frills donuts that are almost always gone by noon. Get there early or call ahead of time—they'll reserve donuts for you, which earns them triple points in our book.
If you're one to follow a crowd, but also have a black magic-loving side:
We've heard it time and time again—Voodoo is for tourists, but we had to test the waters for ourselves. And when we saw on opportunity (no line!) we grabbed hold of the moment and ordered their classic glazed donut and a chocolate-covered cream donut. And you know what? We kind of loved them. In Kenzi's words, "I think Voodoo's glazed donut may have been my favorite."
Are you booking your flight to Portland now? Tell us your favorite Portland donut in the comments below!
Top photo by Alpha Smoot