Friday is National Doughnut Day and I know one person who will be celebrating. My son is on a quest to discover the best donut stops in the world and makes it a point to compile a list of places to try wherever his travels take him.
He has been to Portland many times, and tries to add a new one each visit. Just in case you are a donutphile like him and are looking for places to honor this epicurean holiday, here’s a list to get you started.
NOLA’S DOUGHNUTS. Your first stop should be right here in Lake Oswego at our own homegrown best-of-the-best contender. All the offerings here feature Nola’s signature La-ssant dough which is three days in the making (our son’s favorite is the Madagascar Vanilla). The exception is the New Orleans style beignet, that comes to you soft and warm as it’s made-to-order. Be prepared to experience doughnuts like no other. Hours: Monday-Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 365 N. State Street, 503.278.7312.
VOODOO DOUGHNUT. This is where the Portland area’s doughnut obsession began—with the wacky concoctions this “keep Portland weird” shop dreamed up. From the Fruit Loop topped “The Loop” to the cock-n-balls shaped creation filled with Bavarian cream, to the Voodoo doll shaped doughnut filled with raspberry jelly and topped with a pretzel stake, nothing appears off the table for inspiration. One of my son’s friends even used a Voodoo doughnut as a prop to ask a girl to the prom—I’m not going to ask him which one! Warning: the lines here can be ridiculous so just factor that into part of the experience. And our resident doughnut expert thinks they could go lighter on the frosting at times. Hours: 24/7 except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and their company party. 22 SW 3rd Avenue, 503.241.4704.
BLUE STAR DONUTS. Designer donuts meet gourmet ingredients at this “fresh off the press” shop which explains such flavors as Caramelized Pear Pine Nut and Sage Fritter, Blueberry Bourbon Basil and Cointreau Crème Brûlée. Brioche dough serves as the base for these gourmet creations that eventually wind up on most visitors’ must-try lists. With a location at the Portland airport, making that happen is easy. The only downside our doughnut aficionado found with Blue Star is that they need to be eaten fresh—if you let them sit too long they go from spectacular to average pretty quickly. There are seven locations in the Portland metro area, and three in southern California. Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. or until they run out, which is usually much earlier so a breakfast stop is recommended.
PIP’S ORIGINAL DOUGHNUTS & CHAI. Small is beautiful at this location specializing in fresh made-to-order mini doughnuts whose size make it easy to eat more than one without feeling guilty. Seasonal flavors keep things interesting with choices like Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Meyer Lemon Pear Butter. Bonus points for the fact you get a free dozen within a week of your birthday. Chai lovers have five unique flavors to choose from, and don’t even have to choose with the option of ordering a flight! Their mobile catering van can bring the goodies to your next party or company event. Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. seven days a week. 4759 NE Fremont St., Suite C. 503.206.8692.
COCO DONUTS. There’s a reason we all have fond doughnut memories of growing up. There’s something about those classic flavors—glazed, frosted cake, maple bar, apple fritter, old-fashioned—that hit the spot. If you prefer classic over innovative, then Coco Donuts is your place using a family recipe handed down for over 30 years. Add to that in-house roasted coffee and now you only have to make one stop to get your morning going! Six locations: Uptown, Downtown, NE Broadway, N. Williams, SE Milwaukie Ave. and PSU campus. Hours vary by location.
SESAME DONUTS. Here’s another spot for classic doughnut lovers. The signature item here is a glazed doughnut dipped into toasted sesame seeds but fans praise their buttermilk bars, glazed doughnuts and apple fritters. Seven locations in Portland. Hours vary by location.
DELICIOUS DONUTS. This mom and pop shop is another throwback to the doughnut shop you probably grew up with. The apple fritter won first place in its category in the Oregonian’s recent blind doughnut taste test with descriptions like “crazy crunchy” and “big fruit flavor.” And the chocolate old-fashioned came out on top in its category too. So if you’re willing not to get caught up in the trendy rush to crown the most original doughnut the best, give this place a try and see what you think. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 12 SE Grand Avenue. 503.233.1833.
P.S. The origin of National Doughnut Day? It was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to honor women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I.
Any of your favorites not make the list? Chime in with a comment! Would love to hear from you.