Mondays always present a challenge in my culturally rich list of events because all the museums, gardens, and shows are closed or dark on Mondays. Today my friend Matt was going to be in town for the day, and he wanted to take part in whatever adventure was going to present itself, so I was doing a little research to try to come up with something fun and unusual. I came across an article in the NY Times from earlier this week about how to make the best chocolate chip cookies, and the article also included some of the best bakeries and bakers in the City, and information on how they made their chocolate chip cookies. So armed with the Times article and some other information about the City's bakeries, I figured a perfect afternoon for me would be traipsing the city and taste testing all the best chocolate chip cookies to come up with a very un-scientific study about which was the absolute best. Matt was game, so we set out.
We started in the Village at Jaques Torres Chocolates. These chocolate chip cookies are made not with chips, but with chocolate disks that are at least an inch in diameter, so that each bite contains swirls of chocolatey goodness. They are served warmed and are about the size of a flattened softball. The cookie was truly excellent, and we thought for sure there wouldn't be a better one. The next stop was Insomnia cookies, up a little further in the Village, and while that cookie was decent, it was nothing to write home about. The third stop was City Bakery on West 18th street, and with both the complexity of the taste of the dough combined with the slightly more bitter chocolate, we decided that hands down this cookie was the winner. It wasn't even beat out by the two excellent upper west side contenders; the Levain Bakery with their basketball sized doughy wonders, and the famous Magnolia bakery - famous for cupcakes, but making a mean cookie as well.
The problem with this event was that by the end of the day, the thought of eating another cookie made me want to throw up on the sidewalk. Luckily, Matt was really pushing us both to finish strong, and not give up before the 5th bakery. But when we got to Magnolia and split open the still warm, soft cookie, and put it up to our noses for a sniff, we both had the same expression as if we had been sniffing dog poop. It's amazing how something as wonderful as a chocolate chip cookie, when not sampled in moderation, has the same effect as trying to eat burnt brussel sprouts. If anybody wants to try this little adventure themselves, I would highly recommend spreading it out over several days so you can enjoy all the cookies instead of forcing the last cookies down like you would melted down tires. And if you want to go straight for the gold, head to the City Bakery, because that cookie would brighten even the darkest days.