Mikiko Donuts

Dear Liza,

There is a new donut place in Portland! We are already famous for the very sweet and silly Voodoo Donuts, and the adult flavored, organic, Blue Star Donuts. Coco’s Donuts, downtown, is a classic old fashioned donut shop, with maple bars and crullers.

But Mikiko Donuts are something altogether different. These donuts are made with rice flour instead of the familiar wheat flour. They are also dairy free.

But the big difference, to me, is that they are baked, not fried. This makes them healthier, because there isn’t extra fat in the donuts.

We visited Mikiko this past weekend. They are a very cheerful and welcoming shop. The fellow piping the donut pans welcomed conversation and gave me tips on how to do his job and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. “Let gravity do the work,” he said.

The lady running the shop said she loved not having the hot oil and all the accompanying mess, fumes, and ventilation requirements. The shop did seem quieter, cleaner, and less smoky than most donut places. Just regular bakery equipment, ovens and work counters, filled the place.

Auntie Bridgett and I carried our order (a Horchata Pudding filled donut for me and a Yuzu Funfetti one for her) up a few blocks to Oregon Park, where we enjoyed our treats while watching dogs play under the tall trees. I found my Horchata donut to be a bit gummy, but the Yuzu one was lighter. They both had good flavor and I would easily recommend the Yuzu Funfetti to anyone trying their first gluten-free, dairy- free donut.

One of the many things I love about living in Portland is getting to try new things. Even gluten free, dairy free, baked donuts!


Grandma Judy

North in the Sunshine

Dear Liza,

The other day I knew I needed to get out of the house, but had no motivation. Grandpa Nelson suggested a walk, and promised me goodies somewhere along the way. I went.

We headed north through the Laurelhurst neighborhood, then kept going up to Kerns. About a mile and a half from home, we stopped at Oregon Park and watched two little girls learn that going down a slide doesn’t have to be a straight forward proposition. It was fun to see their inventiveness.

“Where next?” Grandpa asked.

“I’m not sure, but it seems I remember a bakery just over that way,” I said, pointing north west-ish. He checked his phone.

“Good call! Helen Bernhardt Bakery is just 1.2 miles away. Practically around the corner.” So off we went. In the neighborhood in between, we found all sorts of delights. These stone lions are very stylish and Covid-aware.

These vintage, hand-carved children’s rocking chairs sat outside a turn of the century home, as if waiting to be adopted.

Window art is wonderful along Broadway.

We got to Helen Bernhardt’s Bakery, which has good Covid procedures in place, and chatted with the lady behind the counter.

She said that this past Easter, a week ago, was the best Easter ever for the business. That’s since 1924! It’s nice to know that some businesses have been able to survive and even thrive in this weirdness, and that we will have this lovely bakery around for a long time.

Grandpa Nelson has been eaten by a camellia!

After sitting on a low wall outside the bakery, enjoying our donut, Florentine and coffee as we watched happy folks come and go from the bakery, it was time to “South” a little. That is, to head towards home. We found this incredible camellia bush that was huge outside and magical inside. The flowers under the ‘umbrella’ seemed to glow pink with the afternoon sun.

We walked back across the Banfield Freeway and were soon in our own neighborhood. We stopped to say Hi to Auntie Bridgett, who was working her shift at the SideStreet Arts Gallery, then got home to crash before dinner.

The Banfield….. an ugly scar of a road with good views

Another fine adventure!


Grandma Judy

Kerns picnic

Dear Liza,

Yesterday it was so hot, we stayed down in the cool of the basement most of the day. We read, played Scrabble, and looked at maps of Portland to see neat places to go visit. once it gets cooler.

But at 6:00 in the evening, we gathered our folding chairs, cold water and a few snacks and walked to Oregon Park, up between Hoyt and Irving Streets,  for the Kerns Neighborhood picnic,  celebrating the National Night Out.

Oregon Park is not a fancy park, not as as forested as Laurelhurst Park.  But it is a nice park with tall Douglas firs and wide spreading maples, giving lots of welcome shade. There are climbing toys, including teeter-totters, which we don’t have in California anymore.

When we got to Oregon Park, people were beginning to gather, bringing chairs, blankets, or sitting at tables and chairs set up on the basketball court, which was resurfaced and donated by Nike in 2002. (There is a plaque in the corner of the court making sure we know this.)

A small band of fellows about my age set up, and started playing smooth jazz on an electric keyboard, bass, flute, and drums. Just the perfect music for a picnic. Happy, dance-able, and familiar enough to be friendly and welcoming.


The Kerns Neighborhood Association provided hot dogs and soda, which many families and their kids enjoyed, and a church group set up kids’ games in the shade.We met Thomas, a local minister and music producer, and his sons Kuyper and Tobin, and another pastor named Art.

A group of young adults played frisbee football, and later, just frisbee, with great skill and joy, running and jumping like athletic Labradors.

Raffle tickets for good donated by local stores were sold at a dollar a piece. Grandpa Nelson bought three and  we won a $30.00 gift certificate from Dov Vivi pizza, just a few blocks from home. Other folks won a corn hole game, gift certificates from massage shops and tea, and flotation shop, and Staccato Gelato, a wonderful Italian ice cream parlor just a few blocks from here, next to Whole Foods.

As the sun went down it got a tiny bit cooler. The music stopped, tables and chairs were folded and put in trucks. We gathered our things, helped throw away trash, said goodbye to our new people and dog friends, and walked home in the dusk. Restaurants and bars were full of people cooling off, porches were lit up with their sparkly lights, and we were happy to be here, home, and together.

I hope tomorrow is cooler!

Love, Grandma Judy