Thursday, April 16, 2009

Joan's on Third: I'll take both

It came out of nowhere. One minute I was happily munching away on my cranberry tuna salad sandwich, and mere minutes later I was experiencing the early symptoms of cookie monsterism.

Hormanally inspired? Perhaps. But whatever its origin, there was no disputing that this craving was big, bad and all sorts of ugly. The type of craving that inspires erratic driving, crazy hungry eyes and the inability to formulate full and sensical sentences.

Last Friday afternoon, at approximately 2:03 pm, I was hit head on with a nasty case of the sugar munchies. I had to have a cookie. And I had to have it right away.

It didn't take long for me to pick my destination. Celebrity noshing hot spot Joan's on Third is a mere 5 minute drive from my apartment, and boasts an entire counter full of buttery cookies, impeccably frosted cupcakes, indulgent pastries, and other items that make me glad I don't follow a low carb diet. I found an open meter across the street from the perpetually bustling cafe and after emptying out my wallet to pay the absurd $1.50 for a mere hour and a half of parking, I darted through the oncoming traffic with no regard for my safety.

Upon entering the Dean & Deluca-esque cafe, I was dismayed to discover that every single table was taken. Even the outside tables where overwhelmed with sunglasses-wearing patrons and their miniature dogs. I stared at the dessert counter for a couple minutes, but didn't know what I wanted and didn't want to get it to go. I had planned on finding a cozy empty table to park out at for an hour or so. I had even brought reading material with me -- the aptly named How to be Single by Sex & the City writer, Liz Tuccillo.

Annoyed with the imperfectness of the situation, I tootalooed my way out of there, and decided to go to one of my favorite local bakeries, Susina on Beverly Blvd. instead. I parked a couple blocks away on an unmetered street, and told myself that my crazy behavior was actually quite prudent. I was totally burning off like 1/16th of the calories I would soon be ingesting! I told myself the same thing when I walked back to my car approximately two minutes after entering the bakery. Just like Joan's on Third, every seat was taken, and unlike Joan's on Third, there was not a single item that appealed to the cookie monster in my belly.

By the time I was back in my car, the craving had morphed into an epic-sized animalistic hunger. I couldn't hold out much longer. Despite my concern that someone would recognize me as the girl who "looked and left," I went back to Joan's on Third. This time I would not leave until my itch had been scratched.

Once I got there, however, I was again faced with a sugar dilemma. Did I want the lemon bar that everyone and their Maltese raves about? Or did I want the peanut butter & jelly bar? I asked the pleasant man behind the counter what he thought.

"The lemon bar is fruitier, and the peanut butter bar is sweeter. It depends on what you want." He said.

Fruity? Sweet? I didn't know what I wanted! My head started pounding, my forehead started beading with sweat, and my stomach started groaning with ambition. It was too much -- I couldn't decide!

"I'll take both!" I shrieked. "And, umm... a large citrus chamomile tea." I added more quietly.


A few moments later, I finally sat down at an empty table with my two oversized treats. Completely ignoring my book that I placed on the table for show, I dug into the lemon bar first. My mouth was immediately romanced with the perfectly balanced tart and sweet flavors. It was everything everyone said it was, and I easily chomped my way through the half portion I'd cut off.


I then attended to the peanut butter & jelly bar -- a dense peanut buttery monstrosity that would pair better with a tall glass of milk than a citrus-infused cup of tea. It was a bit heavy after the lemon bar, and ultimately, was not quite the cookie my belly beast was craving. Despite the server's claim that it is "sweeter" than the lemon bar, I found it to be less so. It cried out for a thicker application of raspberry jam, and perhaps a more restrained cookie top coat. After just a couple bites, my inner cookie monster deemed the lemon bar the victor.

Of course, that didn't stop him from reemerging later that evening to devour most of the leftovers. (He's not a particularly discriminating monster.)

15 comments:

Alessandra said...

HILARIOUS! I am dying... I can so see you doing this!

Esi said...

It's been AGES since I have been to Joan's...and it's practically down the street. I need to change that ASAP and go have a lemon bar.

The Blonde Duck said...

I. Want. the. peanut. butter. bar.

mattatouille said...

haha, funny story of the afternoon's events. I used to have the luxury of Joan's when I worked in BH and commuted back and forth from Eagle Rock. Everything is so precious there.

Mike T. said...

I'll have to visit this Joan's on Third. That picture of the lemon bar made for an "I want to go to there" moment.

Diana said...

Ali - The sad thing is, it is all embarrassingly true!

Esi - Yes! I think you should celebrate your cleanse with one!

Matt - When I worked in the area, we used to order in from Joan's up to 3 days a week. I was a bit heavier then! Everything is too delicious.

Mike - Hah, I know just the feeling! I sort of want to go to there right now too...

Reeni♥ said...

I'm sad that the peanut butter bar lost! I was cheering for it. And whooped it up when you went for both. That's a girl after my own heart!

Heather said...

oh no! cookie monsterism is a serious condition! i love that you left and went back to the place. that pb&j bar looks totally worth it!

sterling said...

I felt like I was watching your sugar adventure while it was happening, great story! I love lemon bars!

The Duo Dishes said...

Joan's is packed full of good stuff. So packed, there's always something new you find when you go.

Apples and Butter said...

I'm amazed you were able to save leftovers for the evening! I literally cried the first time I walked in Joan's. I was so happy that someone had actually created such a wonderful plaze with so many delicious things. I live on the Westside so I don't get over there too much, but sometimes, like you, the craving sets in and nothing else will do. Good call on heading back to Joan's by the way!

mattatouille said...

wow three times a week? pretty hardcore...then it's definitely not a bad pick for lunch. Maybe bottega louie will fill in the gap for me here in downtown.

Marie said...

Never been to Joan's because I fear it'll be crowded and more headache than I usually care for. BUT, let's face it... I just need to suck it up and go! By the way, I can relate to this story so well, it's good to know that I'm not alone in my twisty-food-craving-propelled incidents. :)

Pearl said...

your post is so adorable! thanks for the recommendation on an immersion blender! it'd be so neat to use in other dishes like soups, too!

Jenn said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this place!! Especially their chinese chicken salad and cupcakes. But, of course, theire selections are always good. That's the one thing I always order whenever I go there.

Nice site!!!