A sign sporting eyeballs and long lashes announced our arrival at a Topanga Canyon strip mall, the last sign of civilization before entering the Santa Monica Mountains. Due to cheap start-up costs, Los Angeles County hosts over 2000 donut shops, but not many can compete with Blinkie’s, which has been a Woodland Hills fixture for over 30 years. In 2003, Orange County residents Harry and Teresa Larsen purchased the donut shop, instilling a fresh energy.
The Larsens completely remodeled the shop. The space used to be lined with flimsy plywood. The couple built a solid wall, repainted everything, installed a fish tank and fresh furniture. The Larsens also added a coffee station festooned with signs leaving no doubt about where to find a caffeine fix.
Teresa said Blinkie’s emphasizes “high quality ingredients” and “cleanliness.” Her father Henry makes the donuts from his own recipes using soy bean oil, which provides a cleaner tasting fry. The selection ranges from $0.60-$1.50.
We limited ourselves to six donuts, but Teresa said people have literally been known to buy her donuts by the thousands. For Hanukkah, a Malibu Canyon temple purchased 2500 jelly donuts. Blinkie’s has cultivated a number of corporate accounts, including schools and hospitals. Teresa is also pleased that Blinkie’s attracts celebrity clients like Roseanne, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jerry O’Connell. She’s even FedEx’d donuts to Melissa Etheridge while she was on tour.
Column One featured a glazed blueberry buttermilk donut, a vanilla cake donut and a cinnamon-dusted cake donut; Column Two: a glazed donut lined with coconut strands, a crumb glazed donut and a glazed donut filled with raspberry jelly. Each donut was clean tasting and distinctly flavored.
It was a risky move for the Larsens to change the recipes at a donut shop that has been so beloved for so many years. Considering the light but still flavorful results, it’s clear that their gambit paid off and that Blinkie’s still deserves mention as one of the city’s premier donut establishments.