Of course for me doing a story on cookies, brownies and tiny cakes is a dangerous proposition. I am a true addict when it comes to dessert which is why I rarely make it and ask people to bring the leftover dessert they contribute home with them. I especially love cookies and anything made with chocolate so this story was quite a love/hate type of experience. Hate- only because I don’t want to eat sweets often for the simple reason that I don’t want to get fat. That is it- if I could let myself go it would be death by chocolate for me.
So that said I have tried three of the places within 10 minutes of where I live in Mar Vista.
There are bakeries and then there are fine bakeries I will start with the former, Angel Maid Bakery on Centinela right past Washington Boulevard. It is a Japanese bakery so the goods are not too sweet, which, from reading all the reviews on Yelp about them, is their claim to fame, so to speak. The place is a no frills working bakery with nothing fancy about it but they crank out some very nice items. I went in there about a month ago to buy a few dozen cookies for a meeting I was going to and they were very yummy; Chocolate chip, peanut butter chip and one that was half chocolate and half vanilla in a swirl type of pattern. All of the cookies were delicious and tasted homemade and buttery. I hear their chocolate mousse cake is the real deal but didn’t try it yet, as I said I don’t want to get into this research too deeply.
Then I went to Schmerty’s Cookies on Ocean Park near 28th Street in Sunset Park. I have walked by there a million times and resisted the temptation and aroma to go in but finally in honor of this piece I broke down.
They are a family run business that have been around since 2001 and specialize in very delicious cookies. I know the owner as we both go to the same Pilates class so she hooked me up! I was treated to a large box of every cookie they make plus a brownie, lemon bar and their latest flavor cranberry.
First of all the place is so sweet and appealing that you want to sit there all day eating cookies and milk. It is a small space with a few tables and is clean enough to eat off the floor. They do have the ability to serve coffee and sell small bottles of milk for the true cookie lover. I really loved the soft chewy texture of all the cookies and my favorite was the chocolate, chocolate chip- what a surprise.
I also enjoyed the oatmeal, peanut chocolate chip- the only one that wasn’t my taste was the red velvet cookie, too buttery and there was no real taste to it and the heaviness made me not want to finish it. The cranberry bars were really good, surprisingly so, rich and dense. They do have the trendy cupcake featured with many flavors and icings and sell cookie dough to take home if you want to make your own cookies.
The name is an inside joke kind of deal so get over it and stop in!
I was lucky enough to find a true gem on Washington Boulevard in Culver City named Platine. The retail store opened in 2009 ( although the business has been around since 2002) with chef/owner Jamie Cantor at the helm. She has taken baked goods to a new level; elegant, refined and unique, this place was my favorite. It is a working kitchen which you see from behind the small display case, and delivers some of the finest cookies, pastries and tarts I have seen outside of Paris or New York. I had a sampling of their artisan cookies, fancy cookies and mini pastries, all done with subtle flavors and twists that made me want more. For example there is a chocolate gingersnap that I loved- what a perfect combination of ginger, spices and chocolate. They have created a Ho- Ho(remember those?) in a mini “updated” version that was to die for, a cheesecake cup that has seasonal flavors such as; blood orange, pumpkin and fleur de sel and seriously addictive new twist on an Oreo- with a soft dark chocolate cookie filled with thick vanilla bean frosting. This stuff was so much more refined than the previous two that it was like night and day. The cookies were delicious without being overly buttery or too sweet so you could taste the vanilla bean, chocolate chips, currants and nuts used. The bars, mini tarts and “fancy” cookies were just like you would find in a Parisian bakery.
I recall my last trip to France having a pastry every day and savoring each bite- Platine can take you back to such a memory or create a new taste experience if you have never been across the pond to enjoy baking as it meant to be.
Of course there are many more establishments worth visiting and endless goodies to taste all over the city such as; Thyme Café, the new Bite Bakery on Pico and 32nd Street and Hotcakes also on Centinela and Washington Boulevard, so venture out for your next sweet treat and enjoy!