Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Maybe Someday Donuts Will Rule the World

It's no secret that cupcakes have been enjoying a renaissance over the last few years. Formerly a kids-only treat reserved for birthday parties, cupcakes became a trendy item to reinvent. All over the country, hip, fancy, gourmet cupcake shops started blooming, like cherry topped paper wrapped morsels of childhood memory. Where I live, gourmet cupcakes were Eugene-ified: ourDivine Cupcakes are organic and come in dairy free, wheat free, and vegan options. While I like a small cake as much as the next guy, I can't get fully behind this cupcake movement. They're kinda prissy. A little girly. A little little-girly, if you know what I mean.

My dozen (or so) donuts from Voodoo Doughnuts

But I'm not here to talk about cupcakes today. I want to talk about doughnuts. Doughnuts come from the same sort of humble place as cupcakes, but are far far cooler. And now,
doughnuts are poised to take over where cupcakes will invariably leave off (any day now). And that will be a trend I can fully stand behind. And full I will be, because I've got one of the best doughnut supplies anyone can ask for, in Voodoo Doughnuts.

Voodoo is already leading the doughnut revolution with their crazy creations. They were a huge hit in their original home of Portland, Oregon, where hipsters lined up after the bars close for cereal covered doughnuts, bacon maple bars (with two or three pieces of real live bacon on top), and a doughnut called Cock-N-Balls that's shaped like, well... a cock and balls. And now they've come to Eugene.

First was a soft opening, when you pretty much had to happen by at the exact right minute in hopes they were actually open. Then they had announced hours, which did not coincide with any of my free time. And now, finally, they're open 24 hours so I can run over there on a whim and get my fix.

Now, about the doughnuts. I'm a cake doughnut guy, and I have to say their cake doughnuts were really good. I got a couple of basic chocolate ones, and the first thing that I noticed was they really tasted like chocolate. And the texture was soft and crumby, sort of like devil's food cake. Standing on their own, I'd call them high quality doughnuts. But what sets Voodoo Doughnuts apart are the aforementioned crazy flavors. I'm a huge fan of spicy chocolate in general, and the Mexican Chocolate doughnut did not disappoint. It's not often that I'm actually surprised by how spicy my dessert is. But it's a good thing when it happens. Delicious. My lips tingled and my mouth watered. Dipped in coffee it was doughnut perfection.

The raised doughnuts were frankly pretty average, in terms of the actual fried dough. But again, the flavors are where it's at. The Grape Ape is a raised doughnut with vanilla frosting and grape "dust." Their frosting is far better than average to begin with, and I don't know what grape dust is (maybe Kool Aid?), but I loved the combo. The maple frosting on the maple bacon bar was full of maple-y goodness. And the Raspberry Romeo's jelly doughnut had real jelly inside -- you could see the raspberry seeds!

Honorable mention goes to the apple fritters, which were also really good. I didn't try one until they were a day old, and I skipped heating mine up (as my friends did - and they RAVED), so I might have missed the window on those. Some of the others I tried, like the Oreo Cookie one, were flashy, but not completely awesome.

Miami Vice Berry, Mexican Chocolate, Maple Bacon Bar

They were all fun, though. And it was exciting to open that pink box and approach each doughnut as a brand new thing, never before tried. Worth traveling to Portland for? No. Worth waiting in line for 10 minutes for on a nice Saturday morning? You bet. Late night, post bar, slight buzz destination? Oh, for the days when that mattered to me... But yes, yes indeed.

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