Blue Star Donuts – Portland – Some of the Best Doughnuts I’ve Ever Had

17 Apr

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We were told by more than one local that they were glad we weren’t one of those tourists who brought a pink box of Voodoo Doughnuts on the plane home. I had tried Voodoo a couple times before, once from a tourist friend bringing it home with her and another in Portland when another tourist friend bought a box to share. It’s fine if you want a regular doughnut with some Fruity Pebbles on it. And in the shape of a Voodoo doll. But if you are an adult and you actually want a doughnut that tastes good (and you’re in Portland), you should go to Blue Star Donuts.

Clearly the work of a pastry chef (Micah Camden), Blue Star is unlike almost any doughnut place I’ve been to. The true North Star in this regard is still Federal Donuts in Philadelphia. LA is full of pretenders — Donut Snob is OK, Donut Friend is a bunch of good ideas but amateurish, and Stan’s flat out sucks.

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Located in downtown Portland, Blue Star features brioche-based dough and are dipped or filled to order, like they do at Federal. (Unlike Federal, they do not do cake doughnuts. Or fried chicken.) The freshness really makes a difference (I’m looking at you, 6-hour-old crap at Stan’s!). And the sweetness level is great — sweet, but muted a bit so that the flavors stand out.
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And the flavors are clearly the work of an experienced chef. Rather than just throwing bacon on it (thereby helping all of America jump the shark with bacon), the flavors are thoughtful and complex.
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Here’s the apple fritter. Nothing fancy, just a deliciously moist version of the classic. It had a little too much glaze for me, but you could tell they actually use real apples here. And one of their classics, the blueberry bourbon basil. As gimmicky as this could be in some other place, this doughnut is balanced and interesting.
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The meyer lemon curd and the obligatory maple bacon. The meyer lemon may have been my favorite, with a beautiful tartness balanced with creaminess from the curd. The maple bacon was saved from cliche by highlighting the taste of maple syrup, and using good bacon (I’m looking at you, Cafe Dulce!).
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Oh, and they serve Stumptown Coffee (as every other place in Portland does)!

Blue Star Donuts
1237 SW Washington Street
Portland, Oregon 97205
503-265-8410

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