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.
8389 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
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.