Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (coming out Oct. 3), we'll be bringing you periodic lists of some of the best things we've found to eat and drink around town. Ice cream sandwiches and bowls of tsukemen, fish tacos and dan dan mian, cups of boba and glasses of booze. Read on.
A chocolate chip cookie, when made with quality chocolate and no small amount of deftness with proportion, almost always beats belabored efforts to upgrade it. This is not to say that the various attempts at major overhaul of the classic are without reason -- for a baker, a chocolate chip cookie is a starter recipe upon which he or she builds a repertoire. A seasoned baker knows, though, that what makes a basic, truly good cookie is more dissertation than pop quiz, an invitation to study nuance. The better examples of chocolate chip cookies we found around town undoubtedly came from a fair level of dedication to experimenting with shifts in ratio. Turn the page for our favorites.
In a second-floor walk-up off of Highland near Melrose, DeLuscious Milk + Cookies appears more corporate wholesale distribution center than bakery. You can nevertheless purchase one of the individually packaged cookies, or several, without having to meet any minimum order requirement. Quite a few cookies, including the chocolate chip, are as big as a saucer. 829 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 460-2370.
A chocolate chip cookie at Ramekin, Jason Park and Paul Yoo's dessert shop located a few blocks south of Griffith Park, will require 10 minutes of your time and compensate your patience well upon its arrival -- all warm on a small metal platter. Baked to order, the cookies have one of the more appealing textures, with a pliable center that gives way to an easy crunch. It's a cookie that demands accompaniment, either by cold milk or by strong coffee -- both of which are available on the menu. For the intrepid, this might call for ice cream, which Ramekin conveniently also has. 1726 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 667-9627.
It may appear as if meant to be shared, or at least eaten in stages, but the size of a chocolate chip cookie at Joan's on Third, heftier than most, belies subtleties in taste and texture. The chips are comparatively well-distributed, giving you equal parts chocolate and cookie dough with each bite. Sooner rather than later, you'll finish the whole disc. 8350 W. Third St., Los Angeles; (323) 655-2285.
2. Valerie Confections Grand Central Market
At Valerie Confections Grand Central Market, chocolate chip cookies are perched on a glass platter just behind the display of cakes of the day. You'll see them on your right as soon as you walk up to the iPad register to pay for a slice of the Brown Derby grapefruit cake. Smaller in circumference and flatter than what you'll find elsewhere, these cookies hark to a time before the size of a cookie was a determinant of quality, packing no less intensity in taste. 317 S. Broadway; Los Angeles.
1. Proof Bakery
Your first bite of a Proof's chocolate chip cookie is a 5-second demonstration of the Hegelian dialectic. Your mind will first register the chocolate. Then you'll taste the Maldon salt, throwing you off just a bit. And then almost immediately thereafter, the flavors will come together -- one component informing the other. There's the chocolate, sweet with a hum of smokiness like that found in freshly ground dark roast coffee, and an underlying note of vanilla in the cookie, all the more crisp in distinction. 3156 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 664-8633.
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