She stood at the door, clutching her car keys with impatience.
"You're making me nervous," I said, as I hurried to change purses (I'd just spilled water over my preferred bag).
She jutted her chin out like a defensive child. "No, I'm fine. I can find something to do while I wait."
I smiled knowingly at her. I'd been in her situation many times before and could easily spot the tell-tale signs of her affliction -- the glazed look in her eyes, the pacing, the need for distraction. My mom had cookie on the brain. And she had it bad.
I didn't blame her. Ever since she suggested that we split one of Wonderland Bakery's famous frosted sugar cookies (the same sugar cookies Obama ordered for his Inauguration Day parties), I'd been in a state of continuous quasi-salivation. It had been a while since we'd treated ourselves to the $7.25 cookie that could really only exist in a bakery located in posh Newport Beach, and my tongue lusted for the sugar rush that the nearly inch-thick cookie induces in its consumers. I too had been thinking about it all morning, and the hour and a half drive from Los Angeles to Orange County was all the more excruciating because of what I knew was coming.
In a word (or three), pure packaged bliss.
Despite the sinfully delectable taste, the Wonderland Bakery frosted sugar cookie is more than just an exorbitantly priced, decadent treat. It is an experience that is apt to turn even grown women into cookie monsters. The lead up before is akin to the wait to ride Space Mountain at Disneyland or the period of "will he/won't he" before a cute boy finally finds the courage to lean in for the kiss. There is need involved here -- the need for gratification, yes, but also the need for something more -- a thrill.
The Wonderland Bakery isn't just cookies (or cupcakes, brownies and frosted rice krispies treats), the Wonderland Bakery is a little girl's Barbie Dream House. The inside of the shop is an explosion of pink, purple and so many fuzzy and sparkly things that even Russell Crowe would feel emasculated upon stepping inside. It is the type of place I would have loved as a child -- a fantasyland where all my wildest dreams (ie. the ability to buy both a tiara and a cupcake in the same place) came true. It's no wonder the shop engenders this kind of feeling -- by owning and operating the bakery with her mother, Sondra Ames, the chef, 21-year-old Allyson Ames is acting out her wildest dreams.
As I walked into the bake/gift shop with my mother this past Saturday, I was nearly overwhelmed by the sense of possibility within the rainbow-colored space. It's over-the-top and nearly nauseating to my inner snark, but it's over-the-top because of passion -- something that seems to be in short supply in the concrete world outside. Inside the Wonderland Bakery, colors are brighter than they are in nature, cookies come out thicker than they do when made at home and tiaras are the accessory of choice.
The sugar-lined environs have a transformative effect on patrons. As we ogled the display of oversized cookies and overfrosted cupcakes, my mother and I instantly became little girls again -- little girls with cookie on the brain, child-like whimsy in our hearts, and, after we paid, very empty pockets. Yet, in the moment, we thought nothing of blowing our allowance on a single indulgence. In the Wonderland Bakery, every girl is a princess worth the price of a $7 cookie.