When I go to NYC, the one place I never forget to go to before I head back to LA is Levain Bakery. There are now two locations (One in Harlem, one in the Upper West Side) and I'm hoping to God that one day, they will decide to have a west coast branch in LA. I'll help man it if I have to!
My first time: I've read all the yelp reviews and food blog posts regarding this particular bakery before my stay in the Upper West Side so I knew that I would be tasting this amazing cookie...which is more like a brownie shaped into a cookie. I was only 7 blocks away but of course, it's NYC sized blocks so it's more like 2 LA blocks away.
On the first visit, I must have still thought I was in LA because I ordered the oatmeal raisin cookie thinking that it was somehow a little healthier than the artery clogging deeply chocolatey or walnutty ones everyone was raving about.
The oatmeal raisin was okay. It wasn't the best oatmeal raising cookie I ever had. I couldn't finish the cookie because it was about half a pound! I want to know who can actually eat the cookie in its entirety and not skip a meal. I saved it for future ingestion but it didn't leave that much of an impression on me or the calling wasn't that strong for me to return to it so eventually, it ended up sorta rotting in my bag.
But!!!!! I knew there was no way in hell I was going back to LA without having tried the chocolate peanut butter cookie or the chocolate chip walnut cookie son on the day I was flying out, I got up two hours earlier and I RAN (not jogged) to Levain Bakery (wearing my pj's, no socks, and tattered sneakers no less) and bought FIVE cookies. I spent $17.50 on COOKIES! I skipped happily back with 2.5 pounds of cookies.
The results. Let me just say that by the time I got back to LA, 2 of the 5 cookies were gone and 3 of the 5 I saved for my brothers to try and they were completely gone in 1.5 days. They're not big eaters and I snuck in a few cookie bits every time I passed by the kitchen.
I was torn between sending my body to the coronary ER or saving the cookie with frugal bites so that I could refill my taste buds with its gooey buttery chocolatey peanut buttery goodness again. It was like being stuck between heaven and hell, not knowing which way I was to go.
Yes, of course they were deliriously good. So good that I never have any good shots of the damn things. I went back a couple more times over the years and it's stuffed in my face before I can take another freakin' picture of it.
I apologize to all those who were victims of my morning run on July 15th, 2011, who had to wait in line next to a hungry and sweaty and slightly demented girl.
(Post from 2007, went back almost every year and still as good, if not better!)
167 W 74th St
New York, NY 10023
New York, NY 10023