That Voodoo You Do

Article

That Voodoo You Do

A seriously psychedelic corner bakery in Portland, Oregon
Feature:
Elliot Wilson
Most cities have a central point. You can debate whether London’s is Big Ben, New York’s is Times Square, and Shanghai’s is the magisterial Bund. Nonetheless, these are places that define their respective municipalities, adorning postcards and imprinting themselves on the minds of visitors. 
 
The essence of Portland, the largest city in the northwestern US state of Oregon, can surely be found lingering in a seriously psychedelic corner bakery on SW 3rd Avenue. Voodoo Doughnuts is a throwback to a time people could simply set up an eaterie and only later worry about such nebulous concepts as ‘health and safety’. 
 
When Voodoo’s flamboyant founders, Tres and Cat Daddy (real names Richard Shannon and Ken Pogson) founded the joint in the 1980s, the world was a different place. One of their first products was a doughnut that contained a tiny sachet of edible NyQuil, and which helped the stoned and the hammered drift off to sleep. Another firm favourite among early customers was a doughnut frosted with Pepto-Bismol, to soothe bubbly tummies. 
 
Those day are long gone. But while Voodoo’s doughnuts no longer melt minds, they do melt wonderfully on the tongue. The place is open 24 hours, serving the happy, hungry and hungover alike. Try the ‘Marshall Mathers’, topped with mini M&Ms, the ‘Butterfingering’, with its sprinkling of Butterfinger biscuit, or the ‘Voodoo Doll’, filled with raspberry jelly and topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake. Other long-standing items are the ‘Old Dirty Bastard’, topped with Oreo cookies and peanut butter, and the phallic ‘Cock-N-Balls’, triple filled with Bavarian cream. All are bloody tasty and part of a varied if not necessarily healthy diet. 
 
Voodoo has done the right thing by eschewing the growth-at-all-costs path in life. There are now three Voodoo’s in Portland, as well as outlets in Denver, Orlando, Hollywood, and the too-cool-for-school Texan city of Austin. You can even rent the super-pink, glow-in-the-dark Voodoo Van, which resembles Ken Kesey’s 1960s flower-power-mobile, and which will rock up at your wedding, Bar Mitzvah, high school party or corporate gig filled to the gills with your favourite doughnuts.