in travel

The Portland Chronicles, Part 1: Voodoo Doughnut

This is Part 1 of my series chronicling my adventures in Portland last weekend.

In Portland, there’s this place called Voodoo Doughnut. If it was possible for a doughnut shop to be a brick-and-mortar embodiment of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” this would be it. This place sells doughnuts that are mediocre-at-best, but people in Portland seem to believe they are AMAZING AND OMG HAVE YOU HAD VOODOO DOUGHNUTS BEFORE THEY ARE SO GREAT!!!

We got in a line with 50 other people and waited 45 minutes to purchase the doughnuts. The doughnuts are wacky and creative, to be sure. There are some that have stale breakfast cereal on them, some that have M&Ms on top, one that actually had a piece of bubble game baked into the frosting (complete with inedible plastic wrapping and everything). These Voodoo people sure are wild and crazy! The problem is that the doughnuts these toppings are positioned on top of are dry, overly doughy, and bland. At least the doughnuts themselves are pretty cheap.

We finished our purchased and got outside to eat a few of them, only to become immediately, wildly disappointed with our purchase and the time we had just wasted. Near our picnic table next to the restaurant, several drifters started panhandling. I did not offer them any money, but I did offer them some doughnuts. Their eyes immediately lit up. “Really?” one of them asked, in disbelief that I would dare part ways with a Voodoo doughnut, that most valued of food items.

“Tell you what,” I said. “You can have two of them!”

They were so, so grateful. In exchange, they let me take this photo of them.

It’s a weird thing to possess something that’s useless to you but of great value to those around you. In these situations, I would recommend you count it as a blessing, and I’d encourage as much generosity as possible. Especially in the case of Voodoo doughnuts.