Date Archives April 2015

The Portland Donut Throwdown: Voodoo Doughnut vs Blue Star Donuts

portland doughnut throwdown

Voodoo Doughnuts and Blue Star Donuts: Both monsters in the Portland breakfast pastry scene, with diametrically opposed positions on just about everything, including how to spell the product they sell. My initial idea for this doughnut challenge was to buy an asston of doughnuts from both, bring them back to a secure location (also known as the hotel room) and compare them head to head, bite for bite. This plan failed for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, while I don’t doubt that a person exists who can eat bites of twenty different doughnuts and not feel horrifically, violently ill for the rest of the day, that person is not me. Second, while I may not always want to wear pants, I would like for them to continue to be an option.

Here’s the breakdown: Voodoo Doughnut specializes in raised yeast doughnuts with quirky toppings (think cereal), unusual shapes (think cock and balls), and punn-y names. They’re expensive, there’s almost always a line, and they’re cash only. They’ve got a huge variety of doughnuts on their menu, including a maple bacon doughnut in a bar style with entire strips of bacon on top.  You’re going to see a lot of people carrying their distinctive pink box throughout the streets of Portland. Blue Star Donuts specializes in brioche donuts featuring local, sustainable toppings and flavors, traditional shapes, and basic, descriptive names. They’re expensive (even a little moreso than Voodoo), there’s almost always a line, and they take cards. They’ve got a much smaller variety of doughnuts on their menu, including a maple bacon donut in a circle style with crumbled bacon on top. You’re going to see a lot of people carrying their distinctive white box throughout the streets of Portland.  

I went to Blue Star Donuts first because I’d never been there before, and I’ve been to Voodoo several times (I’ve even tried their voodoo wedding!). The shop was packed to the gills, but the line moved relatively quickly, and we bought and tried six different varieties: classic buttermilk, vanilla and cinnamon sugar, maple bacon, blueberry bourbon basil, key lime lemon curd, and a still-warm hard apple cider fritter. Holy shit. Holy shit holy shit holy shit. I want to say that it took more than one bite to determine that I didn’t need to go back to Voodoo to declare a victor, but that isn’t true. One bite of the blueberry bourbon basil was all it took, and the bites I took of each of the others only confirmed it. Blue Star Donuts sells the superior donut by a landslide. While both shops sell perfectly fluffy pastries, the natural flavors and gourmet pairings Blue Star uses makes all the difference. Granted, I still felt ill after eating bites of everything, but I regret nothing. Sorry, Voodoo. You and Kenny Rogers will always have a place in my heart, but Blue Star has claimed my waistline.

Owl-Teasing in Bush’s Pasture Park

owl attack sign

Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem, Oregon, has an owl problem. Namely, an owl that likes to swoop down on unsuspecting people and scare the bejesus out of them while stealing their hats. “Owlcapone” has struck at least four park visitors, and Rachel Maddow suggested that the only way to get visitors to take the owl warning seriously is to place yellow “raptor attack” signs throughout the park. The city of Salem agreed and there are now at least twenty signs posted to warn visitors that an owl could be lurking anywhere up in the trees above, waiting to strike. People probably do take it more seriously now. Just not me.

owl hat


Flashback Friday: Oahu About Fifteen Years Ago



byodo-in temple koi pond

byodo-in templeMe and my “psychotic friends network” shirt, because I can always be counted upon to keep it classy.

diamond head

hanauma bay fish

hanauma bay

hotel curve


pacific ocean

palm trees




I’m off in Oahu with a group of awesome people, and prepping for this trip made me dig up the photos from the last time I was there. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time, and it was surprising how flipping through the album brought everything back. Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay for hours and realizing afterward that I’d forgotten to put sunscreen on the backs of my legs, which made sitting difficult for a week. Hiking in brutal heat, learning about native and invasive plant species from a surfer bro named Mitch. Climbing the steep Diamond Head stairs, complaining the entire way. Marveling at the ubiquity of ABC stores. The peace at the grounds of Byodo-In Temple. It’s funny, the stories I remember about the people as well: the night we went to a Korean barbecue restaurant and one of my boyfriend’s aunts grabbed my breasts and said in halting English that they were “very good”. The way Bob would pop his hands off the steering wheel every time he sneezed and said it was a pilot reflex–I remember that every time I sneeze in the car. The time and effort Mitsuko put into ensuring I had a nice trip, even though it was her wedding week. The way she smiled and thanked me for making her son a good person. There was ultra-cringeworthy stuff, too. The way I almost shouted into a cell phone at the Ala Moana mall because I hadn’t really used one before. The way I showed up to the aforementioned wedding in a white dress. How did I not know that was taboo? Why didn’t anyone tell me? How did the bride keep from slapping the shit out of me? This time, I’m going to be in charge of what I see and do. I’ve got so much planned, and I hope that fifteen years from now, my new photos fill me with even more memories of a wonderful time filled with wonderful people. Only maybe this time, I’ll have learned to keep my horizon lines straight.