Jade and I got our first taste of mini-doughnut bliss a little over six years ago on our first trip as a couple to Seattle. We were still in college, still working terrible part time jobs, still not living the way we wanted to, but man were we in love. We planned that trip for months, saving up our part time wages so we could go and explore the amazing culinary scene of the emerald city. We ended up going on a guided food tour, but of all the fantastic things we had, the best things were the mini doughnuts from Daily Dozen Doughnuts in Pike Place Market. We even had them again when we went back last summer and they were just as good as the first time, if not better. I thought that driving two hundred miles for the best doughnuts I’ve ever had was a small price to pay to bask in perfection…
I am happy to say that there is a new mini-doughnut spot within the Northwest and this time we only have to drive across town for them. We were invited to come in to Pip’s Original, a place we had been meaning to go into for quite a while. I assumed we would have some good doughnuts, coffee, and maybe some delightful chit-chat… oh how wrong I was… I mean, the chit-chat was incredibly delightful, but my assumptions about the fare was incredibly off base. We came in one day before noon and were greeted by Pip’s owners, Nate and Jamie. I usually try to do a fair amount of research on a place before I go into an establishment, but this time I really wanted the element of surprise to lead my experience. It turns our Nate is actually Nate Snell, who has been a mainstay of the Portland rock scene for a couple decades, one of which I have have admired from afar. Jamie is actually the owner of acclaimed Portland catering service, The Lamb’s Table, and is the mastermind behind their simple but incredibly complex taste sensations. The Lamb’s Table is actually ran out of the back of Pip’s Original in their own unique test kitchen.
Once we walked inside of the quaint shop off of Northeast Fremont and 48th, I was immediately struck by the charming and kitschy decor as well as the handcrafted front counter. It turns out that Nate had gutted the building before they set up shop and used his abilities and skills in woodworking and as a craftsman to construct a good portion of the front end of the venue. The walls were painted by Jamie and the paintings that adorn the walls were as well. It had it’s own unique appeal that immediately made us feel at home. We took a seat and ordered a flight of their house made chai and a plate of a dozen mini-doughnuts. Their donuts are freshly made to order as is pretty much everything else in their shop. To keep things simple, they have three donut flavors; a not so basic cinnamon and sugar, a hyper-local (literally made a few blocks away) raw honey dusted with sea salt, and last but certainly not least, a nutella cream dusted with sea salt. These things were beyond words in describing their perfect balance of savory to sweet ratios. Melt in your mouth amazingness. Suffice to say, we need not travel to Seattle for the best mini-donuts in the Northwest, because they are right here in our hometown at Pip’s Original.
Though the donuts are really what blew my mind, that wasn’t the only amazing thing about this occasion. The chai latte’s were among the best, if not the best we have ever had the pleasure to drink. You have’t had chai until you’ve had house made chai at Pip’s. There are a few different kinds of chai latte’s that rotate during the weeks. The King and I is a re-imagining of a classic Thai tea which uses the spice pandan and black tea. It’s complexities were very reminiscent to thai tea’s I had drank in the past but with more flavor. The Ginger Rodgers is a black tea based latte with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and thai chili which was incredibly apparent, but not in an overwhelming way. The tingle from the heat was calmed by the smoothness of the chai overall. The EmmyLou Chai is a decaf herbal chai using lavender and chamomile and sweetened with their house used honey. They also make a Bootstrap Chai which is made with sang souchong tea smoked over pine needles and a Kashmiri matcha tea which we did not try.
After indulging in their fare which they are known for, I wanted to also try a couple other things. I ordered a cafe latte and one of the Squirrel Bars they had sitting on the counter. Jade and usually try to remain gluten free when eating at home but it is always nice to try a few gluten free options when we’re out and about too. These Squirrel bars were the perfect compliment to the latte, being sweet and salty, and not too overwhelming in brittleness. Their espresso and other house coffee’s are provided by local Extracto Roastery, which brings their commitment to keeping their fare local full circle. The perfect end to our Pip’s Original culinary adventure. Nate and Jamie are the nicest, sweetest, most genuine people and we are happy to call Pip’s our new spot for mini-doughnuts, and much, much more.