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180's xuixos, xocolata dipping sauce, and xurros

Image: Karen Brooks

It’s official: Portland is Doughnut City. The city’s addictive lineup includes Pip’s Original two-bite wonders, Blue Star’s gourmet knife-and-forkers (now commanding lines in Tokyo and LA) and Voodoo Doughnut’s “Keep Portland Weird” tourist magnets, among others. 

In January, 180 exploded onto the scene—a tiny house of seriously good xurros (Spanish doughnuts) served piping hot at 2214 NE Broadway. The menu is small but focused on quality, with options both plain and filled, with playful dipping sauces. It might sound simple enough to deep-fry a serpentine link of dough, or brew a cup of xocolata drinking chocolate (the twin icons of Spanish comfort). But it took three cooks trained in the trenches of Spain’s Michelin-draped Restaurant El Raco de Can Fabes to nail the details. One of the xurro artists, David Martin, holds a degree in kitchen theory from Madrid (he’s the shaggy-bearded guy with a pervasive goofy grin taking your order); co-partners Jose Chesa and Cristina Baez (the hearts and minds behind Portland’s popular Ataula) also own Chesa, the bustling Barcelona restaurant next door to 180

After four visits, we’ve made our must-try list. This is what you need to order:

  1. Xurros, plain and simple, with xocolata: The epitome of Spain’s long, skinny doughnuts—hot, super crisp and weightless, with a fine dusting of cinnamon-sugar. They’re sold in orders of 3, 6, or 12, then served like horseshoes on handsome wood stakes. You couldn’t find a fresher version if you walked into the kitchen and pulled them out of the fryer yourself. The xocolata, melted with local Cocanú bars and favored by Portland purists, is rich, thick and superb. Order a cup and dunk away. 
  1. Dipping sauces: There’s no beating the xocolata, but there are options for everyone. I can live without the meek caramel-peanut and marshmallow, but the lemon curd has a comely pucker, and a new, dairy-free coconut tastes like righteous pudding. 
  1. Xurro rellenos: These are plus-sized xurros, with the proportions of a sawed-off zucchini, and a choice of three fillings oozing from both ends. Dulce de leche is the winner, wicked thick and caramelized.
  1. Xuixos: 180's xurro alternative begins with beautiful croissant dough, fragile and flaky. It’s filled with vanilla bean-speckled custard cream, then rolled in a crust of cinnamon, sugar, and Sichuan pepper. Eureka! Call it the Catalan cronut—or simply the top candidate for Portland’s next cult pastry.

180
2214 NE Broadway
Open daily, 8 am–4 pm

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Editor’s Pick

Ataula

$$$ Spanish 1818 NW 23rd Pl

Ataula brings the best of Catalan and Spanish cuisine with to the Alphabet District in Portland with chef Jose Chesa's creative takes on Iberian classics like paella and wine-friendly tapas.