A while back, on a Sunday evening, after returning home from a trip to Chicago, to visit my sister, Elyse, I went to the web site, Voodoo Donuts, and send the company the following e-mail.
I just wanted to tell you guys how much I wanted to try your donuts! Being in New York, it's kind of tough, but after seeing you on TV numerous times, I had to have some! The opportunity finally came, when we had a family event in Chicago, and my cousin, who lives in Portland, agreed to bring me some Voodoo! Boy was I happy! She picked them up on a Thursday, and left for Chicago on Friday. When she gave them to me, they were a little worse for wear, but still so yummy! If you guys did ship, I would want more! Thanks for making a great product! My favorite was the Maple Bar (sadly no bacon) and the Captain My Captain. Keep up the great work!
Here's how the e-mail came about.
There is a specialty donut store called Voodoo Donuts, in Portland, Oregon that I had seen on various TV shows, including "Man VS Food" and "Donut Paradise." These did not look like ordinary donuts at all. In fact, they looked so good that I had to figure out a way to get some. Being on the other side of the country, that wasn't so easy since they don't ship their product.
In 2003, Kenneth "Cat Daddy" Pogson and Tres Shannon founded Voodoo Donuts. They wanted to have a business that they could not only have fun with, but of course make money as well. Being two creative fellows, they decided to have fun with donuts.
On 24 December 2008, Portland Mayor, Tom Potter, with the approval vote from the city council, decreed the Portland Crème donut the official donut of the city. It is a raised donut with cream filling and chocolate top with an added feature that distinguishes it from all other, which are two little eyes. They represent the vision of their great city. They declare, "Take that Boston!"
Every time I saw Voodoo donuts on TV, I wondered how I could get some. I've visited Portland on several occasions, but never got there. My uncle lives there, but he isn't the type to go to the store, pack them up and mail them.
Then inspiration hit like a lightning bolt! I had a trip planned to Deerfield, IL with the kids to visit my sister and her kids. My uncle and cousin from Portland were going to be there as well.
I sent Uncle Jay an email, asking if he would bring the Voodoo donuts. He replied that since he was going to be in Michigan already, and then travel to Deerfield, he couldn't do it. Then I emailed my cousin Abby, who I knew was going to be traveling from Portland directly to Deerfield. She replied that she would try, but no promises.
A month goes by, and I send Abby a reminder email. She says that she will try. Next thing I know, I get a notice from Facebook that Abby tagged me in a photo. My curiosity is piqued, so I go to Facebook, and there it is...a beautiful pink box from Voodoo Donuts! WooHoo! That is on Thursday, and we are all traveling on Friday to Deerfield. My mouth is watering already, and I tell the kids they have a treat waiting for them!
I won't bore you with the travel plans, other than to say never, ever will I travel on the Delta Connection again. The Expedia representative lied, saying those planes were the same size as the JetBlue Airbus A330. The two planes are not even close. Now, combine that with lousy, rainy weather and most plans for Friday were ruined.
I do want to thank my air check friend, Eric Huls for suggesting Gino's East for Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. The girls and I met Eric at the Gino's by O'Hare Airport, as we didn't have enough time to actually go into Chicago and make it to the hotel on time to check in, clean up and meet my sister for dinner.
My daughters had not eaten Chicago deep-dish pizza before, so I told them they were in for a treat. I had never met Eric before, so I was looking forward to that as well. It's not often that air check friends get to meet, but I try when I can.
The pizza was awesome, and the girls and I loved it. When the check came, I took it from the waiter, but Eric grabbed it out of my hand, and said I was the guest. Yes, I was, but it was my idea to meet for lunch. Nope, he insisted on paying, so he also got the leftovers.
As Eric drove away, Melissa said that he left the box on his trunk! I called him on his cell, and told him to stop and get the box. I hope he didn't already lose it.
We got to the hotel ahead of Uncle Jay and cousin Abby. I couldn't wait for her to show up! I wanted those Voodoo Donuts!
We're relaxing in our room, and the girls see Uncle Jay and his girlfriend Susan get out of the elevator on the sixth floor. We were on the fourth floor. A few minutes later I see Abby arrive with her son Asher. I figured we'd give them a few minutes to settle in, and then give them a call.
At times, such as this, the clock moves at a crawl. I couldn't wait any longer, and called the front desk and asked for Abby's room. She told us to come on up! Voodoo here I come!
I hadn't seen Abby and Asher for a couple of years and Michelle and Melissa had never met Asher. He is a very active 5-year old boy that wore us all out and kept on going like the Energizer Bunny.
I asked Abby about the donuts. A huge pink box suddenly appeared. She had duct taped it closed. She got plenty of comments about this from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at the Portland airport. I'm lucky they didn't confiscate them and eat them!
We stayed a little longer, and the girls and I went back to our room to relax, shower and get ready for dinner. I had to see the donuts! That pink box open to a wonderful variety of Voodoo's best! I went right for the maple bar, which looked delicious!
Abby had told me that she ran in and asked for an assortment, so whoever helped her filled it with their most popular items, and it was a baker's dozen no less. Thirteen donuts for $10, now that's a good deal. Please keep in mind these are not your usual Dunkin' Donuts or Krispy Kremes. Voodoo is more cake-like, with over the top flavor, it's like having a party in your mouth!
I got a famous Portland Cream, Maple Bar and a Captain My Captain, which is a plain, with vanilla frosting and Captain Crunch cereal, donuts. The Loop, which is a plain donut, with vanilla frosting and Fruit Loops was great. I had a Triple Chocolate Penetration, too. This is a chocolate donut, with chocolate frosting and Cocoa Puffs cereal. The Grape Ape, which, again, is a plain donut, with vanilla frosting, grape dust and lavender sprinkles, was unexpectedly good.
I also got a Tangfastic, which is a plain donut with vanilla frosting and Tang dusted on top along with three marshmallows). The Sprinkle is a plain donut, with vanilla frosting and sprinkles. The Double Chocolate was what you'd expect, a chocolate donut, with chocolate frosting. The Marshmallow Matters was a plain donut, with vanilla frosting and M&M's. The Diablos Rex was chocolate cake donut, with chocolate frosting, red sprinkles, a vanilla pentagram and chocolate chips. Neapolitan was chocolate cake donut, with vanilla frosting, strawberry dust and three marshmallows. Last, but not least, was a Glazed French Cruller.
Asher wanted the Portland Creme and had with breakfast on Saturday. At some point, I had Captain My Captain, the Maple Bar, Neapolitan, the Grape Ape and Triple Chocolate Penetration. Uncle Jay had the Double Chocolate and picked at it for two days. How it lasted that long I have no idea!
By Sunday, there were four donuts left. I brought them to Elyse's house; she's my sister. I told her to put them with the rest of the party leftovers. All I saw was the empty box, so I hope she at least froze them.
That night I sent the e-mail I mentioned at the start of this column. The next morning I received the following reply.
I'm so glad that you got a chance to try some of our delicious doughnuts. I am also happy that you enjoyed them so much even after a day! Just think of how much more delicious they are fresh ... mmmmmmmmm. We would love it if you could come out and visit us one day and thank you for writing about us.
Have a great day and thanks for feeling the Mojo.
It's so nice when someone takes the time to respond to an email from the website. Too often, people only write to complain, not to give a compliment. I believe in doing when the situation warrants it.
So if you are ever in Portland, Oregon, go to Voodoo Donut and tell them that Matt from New York sent you. Though you may get a funny look, you'll get the best donuts you will ever have in your entire life!
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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