Thursday, October 21, 2010

Magnolia Bakery: Satisfying my childish whims with pumpkin sweets and classic treats

I’m kind of embarrassed.

No, really embarrassed.

While I pride myself on always being punctual – on always being the one person in LA who actually gets somewhere on time – this is just ridiculous.

It’s Tuesday night at 7:50 pm and Sook from Yutjangsh and I are standing outside Magnolia Bakery waiting for the doors to open for a special media party featuring the bakery’s classic sweets and new fall treats.

I stare at my face in the reflection of the glass doors that have been decorated with Halloween cutouts, and feel uncomfortably like a parent waiting to get into a sale at Walmart or Toy ‘R Us.

“Who are you?” I think as I watch my face contort with self-disgust.

And then I remember.

I’m the girl who loves sugar.

When the doors burst open shortly after 8 pm to let us in, I already know what’s going to happen. I’m not just going to be the girl who loves sugar; I’m going to be the girl who ate everything – and savored every sweet second of it.

The famous New York bakery has only been open in its West Hollywood location for three months, but already it feels like a comfortable arm chair that has been worn down to fit who ever sits in it perfectly. It’s the type of place where calories don’t seem to exist – a safe haven where reality stands still while those inside surrender to chocolate cupcakes, apple pie and a banana pudding that could change lives.

Once I’m enraptured by the pale blue walls of the old-fashioned bakery, I forget that I’ve been trying to cut back on dessert. I forget that I have jeans at home that are fitting a little too snuggly for comfort. And I forget that I’m a 27-year-old, not a 7-year-old. I snatch up my first of three sample cups of the aforementioned life-changing banana pudding, and let the frosting flood gates fly open.

After the pudding, my first priority is to sample the seasonal pumpkin sweets – specifically the pumpkin cupcake with maple cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans ($3.25), the mini pumpkin pecan cheesecake with a ginger snap crust ($5.50), and the pumpkin whoopie pie with a maple cream cheese frosting filling. Each is disarming in its own way. The cheesecake is refined – an appropriate dessert for an adult who prefers sweets that are mellow and understated. I love the way it mimics the flavor and texture of an actually pumpkin pie, but my seven-year-old heart beats faster for the more playful pumpkins treats. I love the over-the-top sweetness and pillow-like plushness of the pumpkin cupcake and whoopie pie. I would gladly trade in a traditional slice of pumpkin pie for the cupcake on Thanksgiving.

After getting my fill of fall’s favorite squash, I tease my tongue with some of Magnolia’s classic goodies that are available every day during every season. Of the many bites I try, I find myself most excited by the mini red velvet cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust ($5.50) and the classic icebox cake composed of homemade chocolate wafers that have been lovingly lavished with fresh whipped sweet cream ($4.50/slice). Even though my palate is starting to grow weary of all the sugar, I glide my fork through the ravishing red interior of the cheesecake without hesitation. I love the silky, almost pudding-like texture that is the perfect contrast to the bittersweet chocolate cookie crumb crust. I am similarly transfixed by the chocolate ice box cake that is reminiscent of an Oreo in flavor. It’s cool, refreshing and far too easy to eat. I’m both disappointed and grateful when the shared plate moves out of my reach.

It’s a challenge for me to lay my fork to rest after an hour of indulging my every childish whim, but it’s a comfort to know that a place like Magnolia exists for the moments when I need to transport myself outside of reality. Even if it does mean recognizing the reality that I may never fit into my skinny jeans ever again.

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.


stuffycheaks said...

you remembered your age! sigh.. really love fall flavors. pumpkin cheesecake is def the one thats tempting me right now

Esi said...

Miss Diana, I don't think you'll ever have a problem fitting into your skinny jeans. Fun times though. I'd try that red velvet cheesecake.

Gastronomer said...

WOW! Everything looks and sounds INCREDIBLE!!! I need to try that banana pudding ASAP! Wanna bring some to Canele this weekend?

Nicole said...

oh my dear goodness all of the pumpkin deliciousness is making me drool! and the red velvet of course!

Eliza said...

If it wasn't past 11pm on a Thu night, I'd be in my car on my way to Magnolia Bakery.

bagnatic said...

wow, that is a whole lotta sugar young lady! every bite looked delicious though....dangerous.

Diana said...

Stephanie - Haha, I can't believe I forgot it at dinner! Shows I'm in denial. ;)

Esi - Trust me, when I get too friendly with the sweets, it's all downhill from there!

Cathy - If I can find parking, you got it!

Nicole - I so wish you were in LA to sample all of Magnolia's goodies. You'd be in pumpkin heaven!

Eliza - This could be our dessert version of Bar Covell?

Amy - Very very dangerous. And I live 1/2 mile away...