If there are two things Tyler and I love, it's travel and food. We're constantly looking for the best restaurants and desserts everywhere we go, and our list of dream destinations never stops growing! When it came time to plan Tyler's birthday gift this year, I wanted to be a little more creative than usual, so combining those two things seemed like the natural choice.
The result was a donut tasting adventure in Portland! I set a challenge to rank our favorites, and did a little research about which we would try. The "rules" were simple: spend a weekend in Portland exploring the city and its popular spots together, but be sure to visit the 3 most talked about donut shops to determine a winner.
Pip's Original Donuts and Chai
Our first stop was Pip's, which had a long line but plenty of seats. I grabbed a table while Ty ordered us a variety dozen and a cup of their famous tea to share. Pip's makes mini donuts and our flavors included Nutella & Sea Salt, Cinnamon & Sugar, Honey & Sea Salt, "The Dirty Wu" (all of the above flavors combined), and Candied Bacon.
My favorite was definitely the Dirty Wu, followed by the more classic Cinnamon & Sugar. They were the perfect bite-sized samples, which made it easy to form a full opinion of what Pip's had to offer. Crispy and flavorful, I thoroughly enjoyed each bite - plus a dozen of mini donuts is the perfect dessert to share after window shopping!
Tyler's favorite was the Candied Bacon, which came as no surprise to me. He even says he would have swapped some of our Cinnamon & Sugar for more bacon, which safe to say would not have gone over well with me.
And while accompanying drinks aren't part of our overall evaluation, I still think it's fair to include our thoughts on the chai, seeing as how it's a part of their claim to fame! As a big fan of spiced chai lattes, I was super excited to try one at Pip's. Unfortunately I was disappointed with my choice, the "Smoky Robinson". Smokey was definitely the right name for it, and we both felt it tasted more like smoke water than a tea drink - however I totally blame myself for choosing something that wasn't a good fit for my taste. Since we didn't have the opportunity to try other chais I hope to go back again in the future and give them a second chance!
Blue Star Donuts & Coffee
The next day we swung by Blue Star, which is a popular local chain. Finding a location was super easy, and when our plans for the day changed a couple times it was still convenient to stop by for a taste. Out of our 3 destinations, Blue Star made the most "typical" donuts. While they did have some more gourmet/adventurous options, they also had many old favorites.
I decided to go for a more unique flavor, and chose the Cointreau Crème Brûlée. It was crunchy on the outside from the torch fired sugar, and filled with custard on the inside! Overall the flavor and texture was good, but I was surprised to find I wasn't a big fan of the citrus liqueur in the dropper. I probably would have enjoyed the donut more had I not squeezed the orangey flavoring all over it, but otherwise I can't complain.
Tyler on the other hand went the classic route with the Hard Apple Cider Fritter. He says it was "very tasty", soft and chewy but still had a crunchy outside like he likes. "A very high quality apple fritter".
And finally, our very last stop before getting on the freeway to head home was the Portland celebrity, Voodoo Doughnut. At this point in the trip we were starting to get sugared out (if you watch my instagram stories you saw that doughnuts were not the only desserts we ate during our 48 hours in the city), and we had tried Voodoo on a previous trip so we decided to just choose one flavor each.
While I love the craziness of Voodoo flavors like the "Old Dirty Bastard" (oreo with peanut butter) or "Oh Captain, My Captain" (Cap'n Crunch), I can't resist the cute little voodoo doll. Looking back I probably should have gone for one of their more loaded flavors, but like I said I was full from all the sweets and couldn't imagine eating something like that! Either way I enjoyed my last donut.
Tyler decided to continue his lucky streak with bacon after enjoying the Pip's so much, and went with the Bacon Maple Bar. He said it was good, but now that the crazier donut flavors have gained popularity you can find a bacon donut almost anywhere. Not a disappointment, but not a stand out either.
And the winner is..... Pip's!
We both really loved Pip's and it was a unanimous decision. The wait was worth it, and I usually prefer mini donuts anyway. Tyler usually opts for a standard sized donut whenever possible, but said Pip's were the best minis he had ever tried.
Overall we had a great time, and plan to keep trying more donut shops in future trips to Portland. They have so many to choose from beyond these 3, and since Portland is only a few hours away we will definitely be back!
When Brittany and I visited San Diego this year, I made Holy Matcha my number 1 priority for our first morning of vacation. While I try to avoid caffeine, matcha is one of those things I just can't resist. It's a pretty controversial drink (you either love it or hate it) but I've never met a matcha latte I didn't like.*
*as long as it's sweetened. Unsweetened matcha tastes like grass, sorry about it.
Since it was a sunny day in San Diego, we both decided to go for their iced options. Mine included a strawberry puree, for a little extra natural sweetness that I loved and Brit kept hers classic. Both were a delicious start to our day, especially with the donuts we shared!
Hopefully Seattle get's a good matcha shop sometime soon, but until then I'm definitely planning to return next time I'm in San Diego. From the refreshing drinks to the pink booths and leafy walls, Holy Matcha did not disappoint!
Whenever I'm planning a trip to a new place, the first thing I do is look up all the cutest places to eat, so it's fitting that my first post about New Orleans is about Hansen's Sno-Bliz Shop!
I saved posts about Hansen's on instagram long before I knew we'd be visiting NOLA, and knew I wanted to make it a priority. Luckily we found time to take an Uber (about 20 min from the French Quarter) Saturday night with two of Ty's younger cousins! Traveling with kids is the perfect excuse to stop for dessert as often as possible, and they hopped on the chance to try Sno-Bliz.
The shop itself feels very classic. Hansen's is family owned and opened in 1939 - that's 79 years of snowballs! The walls are lined with photos taken through the decades to really show off the history of the business. Back before the shop was opened, Mary Hansen created the flavors herself and would sell snowballs for only 2 cents! In 2018 they cost a bit more (about $5 a piece) but there are a variety of sizes to choose from.
I wanted the plastic cup as a souvenir, so we ordered a medium to share. If you have a big group that's in agreement on a flavor you can even order a party bucket for > $30!
For a place that seemed like a hole in the wall, Hansen's was clearly popular and had a line when we arrived. The guy in front of us seemed to be a regular, and helped us out by recommending his favorite flavors. Ours was a Thai tea with coconut milk and tasted so so good! The snow was incredibly soft - a huge step up from the rainbow snow cones the ice cream man sells.
I'm really glad we were able to take a bit of an excursion from Bourbon Street for the evening. The trip to Hansen's was fun, and we all left with a satisfied sweet tooth! Next time you're visiting New Orleans I definitely recommend you swing by to try one of the many flavors. Exploring local favorites and small businesses is always so exciting, and Hansen's Sno-Bliz did not disappoint!
Happy Tuesday! Today I'm sharing another "Seattle" favorite - Daddy's Donuts! Full disclosure, they aren't actually located in the city, but I definitely consider Kenmore to be a part of the "Greater Seattle Area" and it didn't really take any longer for us to drive there than it sometimes takes to get downtown.
Daddy's Donuts is family owned, and makes their mini donuts fresh when you order them. You can choose between a cup of classic donuts, or a donut sundae (I'm bad at choosing so we tried both). I ordered the Robot Roberta, which is covered in chocolate sauce and oreos, and Ty went for the Caramel Apple sundae. For the classic donuts we decided on cinnamon sugar. Since everything is made to order, the donuts were warm and super soft! I ate waaaaay more sugar than I could ever justify having in one sitting but I have no regrets 😋
If you find yourself in Kenmore, or are craving sundaes made of tiny donuts, be sure to check out Daddy's Donuts!
If I had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it would probably be ice cream. If I had to pick one ice cream shop to visit for the rest of my life, it would probably be Molly Moon's.
From the unique flavors to the homemade cones, Molly Moon's is a Seattle must. There are several locations, including University Village and Capitol Hill. These photos were taken in Wallingford, where the shop features this fun mural and a parklette with outdoor seating!
My favorite flavors are all season, the all-time-best being Vegan Coconut Chunk (paired with their vegan hardshell chocolate) followed closely by the Mixed Berry FroYo (paired with lemon curd). However, there are definitely some classics on the permanent menu that are super yummy as well! I like Scout Mint, Stumptown Coffee, and Yeti. Tyler always goes for Sweet Cream!
Beyond the ice cream, Molly Moon's does a lot for the Seattle community. The purchase of Thin Mints sends several Girl Scouts to camp each year, and the Anna Banana Milk Fund was set up to provide families in need with fresh milk. They also support up and coming performers with their record label, and hire local artists to create art for their cups and merchandise.
Next time you're in Seattle be sure to check out one of the shops!
24 | Seattle, Wa