Saturday, July 17, 2010

Magnolia Bakery: So much more than cupcakes

I've never gone to the "hot" new restaurant on opening night. I've never beat down the doors at Nordstrom at 7 am on the first day of the pre-season sale. And I've never gone to a midnight showing of Twilight just so I can be among the first group of vampire-worshippers to watch Kristin Stewart and Rob Patterson make eyes and fangs at each other.

Being "the first" has always seemed unnecessarily stressful and painful to me. I don't like mob restaurant scenes where every one is dressed better than I am, I get tired and cranky when forced to wait in a line, and I don't like teen girls screaming in my ear. Unless I'm listening to Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" on my iPod at the gym.

Yet when I first heard that New York's beloved Magnolia Bakery -- the bakery credited for starting the cupcake trend -- was opening its first LA location on the corner of West Third Street and Orlando Avenue, a mere half mile from my apartment, I couldn't help but have a giddy, pubescent reaction. For months I stalked the boarded up space as it underwent construction like I was hoping to find a Jonas Brother inside. I'd peak in the window on my way to a Bar Method class, or sneak a photo of the interior as I walked toward Joan's on Third for a sweet pickle fix. I stalked it like I've never stalked anything before in my life. (Aside from the cute swimmer I had a crush on in college.)

Even though I've always been more partial to chocolate, ice cream, cookies and bar-type items when I'm craving something sweet, I could scarcely wait to sink my teeth into one of Magnolia's prized cupcake possessions. I was going to be there on opening day. I was going to be the sugar-crazed girl pounding on the door, pushing children out of the way and throwing elbows into the faces of my vanilla cupcake competitors. And I was going to be the first for once in my life. As such, I was more than a little delighted when I received an invitation to attend a special "Friends and Family Preview" hosted by owners Steve and Tyra Abrams at Magnolia last night.

I may have had another giddy, pubescent reaction.

As I walked into the bright, dusty blue and white space last night, my heart palpitating with pent-up anticipation, a strange thing happened. My eyes didn't immediately gravitate toward the tiers of pristinely frosted vanilla, chocolate and red velvet cupcakes in the corner.

I didn't want a cupcake. I wanted everything in the old fashioned bakery, but a cupcake.

I wanted the "Famous Banana Pudding" with its tempting layers of fresh bananas, cloud-like vanilla pudding and crunchy chunks of vanilla wafers ($4.50 for 12 oz. or $5.50 for 16 oz.). I wanted the Peanut Butter Toffee Bar ($2.50), a dense triangle of peanut butter goodness frosted with a thin layer of peanut butter icing topped with crunchy bits of toffee. I wanted to dig my fork through the lofty tower of peanut butter, cream cheese and whipped cream filling in the Snickers Icebox Pie ($4 for a slice), and I wanted to massacre the White Chocolate Macadamia Mini Cheesecake ($5.50) until it was no longer recognizable as such.

With so many tantalizing options flirting with me from every corner of the vintage space, I completely forgot about my previous mission to knock children out of the way for a cupcake ($2.75 for classic flavors, $3.25 for specialty flavors). Because contrary to my perception -- gleaned from Magnolia's appearance on "Sex and the City," the family-owned and operated sweet shop is more than cupcakes. It's Pecan Pie, Homemade Sprinkles, Hummingbird Layer Cake, a Raspberry Crumb Muffin, Blueberry Jamboree, Key Lime Cheesecake, an Iced Molasses Cookie, and a Peanut Butter Toffee Bar that I will undoubtedly be returning for soon.

And I may just have another giddy, pubescent reaction when I do.

Magnolia Bakery opened today, July 17th.

Magnolia Bakery
8389 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 951-0636

Mon-Wed: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m
Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. – midnight
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. - midnight
Sunday: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.


weezermonkey said...


Anna A. said...

Whoa baby! For a second there I though Magnolia was selling your famous toffee coffee cake - looking the the pb toffee bar very much :)

Caroline said...

Jenny and I used to always get the banana pudding when we lived together in New York - so good!!! I want to get the Magnolia cookbook so I can learn to make it myself.

Jenn said...

My sweet tooth and I are in agreement that I need to get down there and get me some cupcakes.

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake is calling my name! so jealous of your sneak preview!

Arianna said...

The banana pudding was unbelievable, but I had managed to curb my cravings for more until I read this. Now I have a problem. Excuse me, I'll be right back...

stuffycheaks said...

i'm not into the whole cupcake faze but that white choc macadamia cheesecake?? THAT I can get behind

Diana said...

Weez - Yes. :)

Anna - Hah, that would be amazing! Maybe I should sell them the recipe... ;)

Caroline - I thought of you when I was there! Now I know why you loved it so much! When you come visit LA next we'll definitely have to make sure Magnolia is on the schedule!

Jenn - I am in agreement with your you and your sweet tooth too!

Nastassia - You would love! If you are ever stopping by, let me know and I'll meet you there!

Arianna - I'm glad they were only giving small samples. I would not be safe around a vat of the stuff.

Stephanie - The cheesecake is AWESOME. And I'm not even a cheesecake person!

Cathy Danh said...

Yay for Magnolia finally opening its doors. Good to hear they have more going on than cupcakes, cuz that trend is on it's way out ;-)

r├ędacteur en chef du jour said...

Gorgeous! Can't wait to check it out. First Babycakes, now Magnolia.. but think I'll skip the cupcakes too!