On Labor Day, with the day to myself and seeing in Instagram that they'd still be open, I decided to journey up there to see what they had going on. I joined the Ashevillians in line for doughnuts and ordered a box of four plus one of the interesting drinks. I ended up with three cake and one yeast raised doughnut - one apple cider, one Black Mountain Chocolate ganache, one blood orange (and chocolate drizzle), and the yeast doughnut was topped with a raspberry and matcha glaze. I chose a Thai Eye Opener for a drink - two shots of espresso, lemongrass syrup, and coconut milk (so a vegan option by default.)
It seemed like the flavor options were available as either cake or yeast, and I saw something on the board about chocolate cake, but during the minutes I was ordering, there wasn't a chocolate cake doughnut in sight. I know their flavors change frequently, and following them on Instagram can be quite alluring.
The yeast doughnut was fine, but these are not my favorite kinds of doughnuts. I always judge a doughnut place on its cake doughnut and I have to say that their cake doughnuts were impressive. The one topped with Black Mountain ganache may have been the most perfect cake doughnut of all cake doughnuts. It had a slight chew instead of being stale or crumbly. It had been freshly topped, unlike a certain unnamed local donutier who makes her doughnuts the night before she sells them, which is doughnut blasphemy. They are creative with flavor but start with a good base. It isn't just cleverness; it's backed up with quality. I feel I have to clarify after a disappointing trip to Portland's Voodoo Doughnuts, which long ago traded quality for kitsch.
I try not to eat a lot of sugar but I would probably return to Vortex just to try another creative drink. They have a few details that they would benefit from sorting out - the one public bathroom had a line the entire time I was there, and most of the people there had parked illegally since there aren't enough spaces in the immediate vicinity. These are practicalities that I hope the business will attend to as they grow their customer base.
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