Saturday, February 28, 2009

Best Cookie: Detroit

Detroit has got some good cookies going on. There is Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown, with its never-ending case of cookies, baklava, and pastries. And Traffic Jam and Avalon Bakery in the Cass Corridor neighborhood are both home to exceptional cookie fare.

But the best cookie ever, the go-to for the most intense craving of all, is Todd’s Evil Cookie.

Once found at Mercury Coffee Bar, I am unsure of the future of this formidable chunk of bliss—as Mercury Coffee Bar, after being open just four months, is closing. There is talk and hope of its eventual reopening and I optimistically wait for the day—both for the health of Detroit businesses and, selfishly, for my cookie fix.

I love Detroit. I believe in Detroit. And I want to see the city, and its inhabitants, thrive. So, for the love of cookies, go to Detroit. Go to Detroit to listen to rock ‘n roll. Go to Detroit to see some great art and eat delicious food and talk to some exceptional and refreshing people.

Seriously. Go to Detroit.

The view from inside MCB is of the old train station.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Best Cookie: Jersey City

My friend Kelly, who lives in Jersey City, was kind enough to help me find the best cookie in town.

Made With Love is the name of the bakery that sells cookies that are so easy to love.
Check out their website: Made With Love Organic Bakery

And it's not just a clever name. I had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Celeste Governanti, who created the cookies that you're about to meet. She exudes warmth and extends kindness to the people who enter her organic bakery; there is no doubt she infuses her inventions with the same such love.

The long and narrow bakery is lined with tables on one side and a counter stocked with goodies on the other. Pity I wasn’t searching out the best bread, pie, tart, cupcake, etc. because they all looked incrEDIBLE! Kelly and I decided on a getting an assortment of flavors to sample: Oatmeal, Coconut Butter Cookie, and Gargantuan Walnut Chocolate.

We sat at the table next to the window, watching drops of rain gather, pool and roll in our periphery. We sat with a cup of Earl Grey each. We sat for a tea party on a chilly Sunday in late February.

As soon as I bit into the Oatmeal cookie, I felt like an ooh-la-la-lady! The cookie, like 3-dimensional lace, was lightly spiced and ladylike.
The Coconut Butter Cookie read like a macaroon, with its abundant flecks of coconut, in the body of a shortbread. It had a fine gossamer outer crisp and a delicate chew (from the coconut) throughout. It was a perfect treat.
And the Earl Grey complimented both, wonderfully.

Everything was femme-tastic.
And then we pulled out the Gargantuan Walnut Chocolate Chunk cookie. If Paul Bunyan made cookies, they would look like an 8-bedroom apartment. There were actual “compartments” to this cookie—what, with the large walnut pieces and dark chocolate chunks. We pulled off three rooms to sample and the cookie still appeared to not have been touched. Remarkable! A good, firm chew. Yum-mum-um-yum.

Would I eat it again?
On Yin days I'd eat the Oatmeal or Coconut Butter cookies.
On Yang days I'd eat the Gargantuan Walnut Chocolate cookie.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Best Cookie & Sandwich: Eugene, OR

The featured cookie and sandwich are neither a cookie nor a sandwich. But who's counting?!

If you find yourself in Eugene, OR you've got to move your hooves to the Wandering Goat Coffee Company.

Check them out on myspace HERE!
Or at their website HERE!

I went just for the coffee.
But then life happened:
While waiting in line, I watched one of the bakers, through a window to the kitchen, rolling balls of dough. (They make all their food in house.) More specifically, I was watching a three-year-old watching the baker. Then the baker, holding three balls of dough, turned around to face the child. And he started juggling for the child! There were no words exchanged as he smiled from behind the glass—the only sound was the murmur of cafĂ© patrons. The child was delighted. As was I.

Then I noticed, not the cookies, but the peanut butter chocolate bars in the food display case. That, and the seeded bagels.

These bagels are something special. I had to try one based solely on their appearance. They are LOADED, COVERED, BLINGED-OUT in seeds…sesame, poppy, sunflower!, pumpkin—what?—yes, pumpkin seeds! Toasted and served with a side of cream cheese, every bite was rewarding, for the taste definitely, but also for the texture. I couldn’t wait to feel the next bite! They were earthy, wholesome, and satisfying. And if you think they sound too healthy to be good, you have got to open your ears and listen when I tell you: They are 10,000-calorie-delicious! (But without all those calories--they're bagels, after all.) I assure you, they are made with love, sweet love.

And the coffee was seriously delicious. They take their coffee so seriously, in fact, that when I returned the next day for an espresso and peanut butter chocolate bar, the barista took my espresso away before I could even try it, insisting that she pull another shot because the first one was uneven.

The espresso was top-notch. And the peanut butter chocolate bar…well, let’s just say that eating it was only like frenching a soulmate. The bar: an inch-thick sweet peanut palette hosting…wait, are those pieces of crisp rice inside?…hosting a dark chocolate wonder-top that was a thinner consistency than fudge but thicker than frosting. I wanted to run away to South America with it. But it was gone before I could even say goodbye.

Would I eat it again?
Yes to both! I wish I could everyday.