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.)