Whether it’s waiting in line for hours at the mall before Christmas, being forced to give away the last of your favorite candy to smelly little kids on Halloween or paying $300 for lame Fourth of July fireworks that aren’t even powerful enough to singe an eyebrow, these days it seems all the joy has been sucked out of our favorite holidays. Fortunately, there’s still at least one holiday that remains as sweet and pure as the dusting on a powdered jelly—it’s National Doughnut Day, of course!
That’s right, this Friday, June 4th is all about fritters, maple bars and sweet Boston cream. So how does one celebrate such a momentous and historic occasion whose origins date all the way back to Salvation Army workers serving fried dough to American troops in WWI? It’s simple, really. There are no presents to wrap and no costumes to wear. Instead, just head out to one of Portland’s many doughnut destinations, point to your favorite fried confections behind the glass and, one by one, shove them directly into your pie hole until both your soul and arteries are filled with the warm, sugary buzz of America’s most delicious holiday.
Where to Celebrate:
When Portlanders think doughnuts, they think Voodoo, home to funky and fantastic offerings like The Loop (vanilla frosting and fruit loops), Old Dirty Bastard (chocolate frosting, Oreos and peanut butter) and the city’s most infamous phallic-shaped food, the Cock-N-Balls (filled with Bavarian cream, of course). In fact, Voodoo has cast such a sweet and sugary spell over P-Town that in 2008 then Mayor Tom Potter decreed the Portland Crème as the official doughnut of the city.
What we like: The unholy combination of salt and sweet in the Bacon Maple Bar tastes so right it just can’t be wrong.
What we don’t: Having to fire up the defibrillator after our third Bacon Maple—but it was worth it!
1501 NE Davis Street
Portland, Oregon 97232
22 SW 3rd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204
They may not come up with clever or suggestive names for their classic confections, but nobody in town does old-school fried dough like Coco. Harkening back to the days when men were men, phones had rotary dials and tripe bypass surgery wasn’t nearly as effective, Coco adds a little less sugar and pulls their doughnuts from the fryer a little sooner to create light and fluffy treats that practically melt in your mouth and won’t become a gut-bomb if one or two turns into three or four.
What we like: The heavenly light and doughy texture of Coco’s apple fritters will make you feel like you’re taking a bite out of a delicious cinnamon-laced cloud.
What we don’t: The classics are great, but we’d love to see the folks at Coco expand the menu by applying their excellent old-school techniques to a few specialty doughnuts.
709 SW 17th Ave
Portland, OR 97205
If Acme had offered doughnuts back in the day, we’re pretty sure Wile E. Coyote would have given up on chasing that pesky road runner and instead opted to sink his teeth into a Choco-Mint (chocolate with minty glaze) or Wicked Boston Cream (espresso cream filling). These days, Acme is less about anvils and defective jet powered roller skates and more about fun and inventive doughnuts made daily from scratch with all manner of fresh ingredients.
What we like: Acme Donuts is equal parts eye and mouth candy, featuring pastel colors and whimsical accents like a long string that spans between the front door and the kitchen and lifts an ice cream scooper to alert them to customers.
What we love: One word: Berrylicious. This other-worldly powdered confection is jam packed with mouthwatering fresh berry pie filling. Is it a doughnut? Is it a pie? No, it’s a hybrid. Let’s just hope this delicious new technology doesn’t find its way into the wrong hands.
2929 SE Powell Boulevard
Portland, OR 97202
If you like your coffee black, your doughnuts straight forward and your order to be repeated back to you with a smile in broken English, there’s no place like Annie’s. Here you’ll find no-frills classics like maple bars, bear claws and twists, and nothing will cost you more than 90 cents.
What we like: For the price, the freshness, texture and overall taste of the doughnuts was actually quite impressive.
What we don’t: No doughnut here should be purchased without an accompanying cup of coffee to offset the extremely rich flavors.
3449 NW 72nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97213
Tonalli’s Doughnuts and Cream
Anyone who thinks that doughnuts and ice cream don’t go well together needs to have their U.S. citizenship revoked. What is this, Communist Russia? Tonalli’s deserves a 21-gun salute for offering a vast selection of both—30+ varieties of doughnuts and 56 flavors of ice cream, to be exact—not to mention breakfast, burgers and all manner of affordable American fare.
What we like: Buttermilk doughnuts are easy to get wrong, but Tonalli’s makes them oh so right. They’re rich, buttery and the perfect balancing act between light and doughy.
What we don’t: That guy at the opposite table who kept insisting we try the massive apple-filled bear claw after we’d just polished off our 9th and 10th doughnuts of the day. Relax buddy, we’ll be back.
2805 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211
8037 N Lombard Street
Portland, OR 97203