Monday, July 29, 2013

Move Over Cookie Monster; There's a New Judge in Town

Santa Claus loves 'em. So does Cookie Monster. And they go great with milk. Hmm, any ideas? We're talking cookies, of course... the fresher, the better. DC Outlook checks out some of the best (and worst?) baked, flat goodies in town.

Au Bon Pain: I actually made an effort to arrive after 4:00 PM for Au Bon Pain's half-off sale on brownies, macaroons, pastries, etc. I thought cookies were included (aren't they?) but the cashier rang me up for $1.39 (regular price) + tax for a Rainbow Cookie. C'est la vie. Sadly, whether or not I deserved a discount played no part in improving a relatively lousy cookie. It's well cooked, but thin. It also tasted like someone mixed M&Ms into the batter at the last minute. If I want candy, I'll head to CVS: Cookies should taste like cookies. And yes, paying full price did bother me.

Grade: D

Rainbow Cookie at Au Bon Pain

Boloco: Just about every place has some type of cookie for sale, but few rival Boloco's chewy, chocolaty version. Wrapped in plastic for freshness, there's plenty of gooey chocolate to go with a cookie that's equal parts chewy and moist. Just like Grandma used to make... assuming your Grandma was Julia Child.

Grade: B+

Boloco Chocolate Chip Cookie

Booeymonger: It may not look impressive (covered in saran wrap and stacked with various other snacks) but don't let that fool you: Booey's "takes the cake" where it matters... taste. Once unwrapped, Booey's $1.25 contender is delightfully thick with loads of moist chocolate chips. In two words? Booey-gooey!

Grade: B

Chocolate Chip Cookie at Booeymonger

Cosi: Raisin Oatmeal might be the litmus test for all cookies; but I found Cosi's "bigger is better" approach disappointing, especially given it's "break the bank" price tag of $1.99. Sure, it's chewy; and yes, it tastes like oatmeal and raisins, but two bucks for one thin cookie? No thanks.

Grade: C-

Cosi Raisin Oatmeal Cookie

Ebenezers Coffeehouse: Size isn't everything; but this cookie is so BIG (and affordable... just $2.20) you can't help but say 'Wow!' Available in at least four assorted flavors, I opted for Macadamia Nut; and boy, was it good. Definitely the biggest, close to the best.

Grade: B

Macadamia Nut Cookie at Ebenezers Coffehouse

Moe's Southwest Grill: Tiny (1.35 oz.) in comparison to the rest of the field, Moe's Chocolate Chunk fails to impress with a hard exterior and minimal flavor. At least the price is right, at just $.69 for one. Advice: Stick with Moe's free chips and salsa, and go elsewhere for dessert.

Grade: C-

Moe's Chocolate Chunk

Pei Wei Asian Diner: Soft & gooey, with a cinnamon sugar topping, Pei Wei's Snickerdoodle is a great value at just $.99. How great? Great enough to bump it up from a B- to a B. Not sure how a non-fortune cookie fits in with Asian cuisine; but tasty is tasty.

Grade: B

Snickerdoodle Cookie at Pei Wei Asian Diner

Roti Mediterranean Grill: Why settle for one, when you can get two chocolate chip cookies for a buck and a half? Roti's cookies are chewy, and chock-full of chocolatey chips. Solid as they come, and great value too.

Grade: B

Roti's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Starbucks: Just how outrageous can one cookie be? For $1.95, I'd settle for delicious. Sadly, the Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie tastes so-so at best... more healthy than flavorful; yet thick and chewy, with big, bright cranberries and apricots. According to the friendly sales associate who took care of me, I'm the only one who uses the word outrageous; and after tasting it, I think I know why.

Grade: D

Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie at Starbucks

Subway: Been to Subway lately? Check your receipt: It advertises a free cookie on your next visit, after completing a 1-minute survey online. It's only $.50, but two quarters is a steal of a deal for Subway's newest cookie... Raspberry Cheesecake. I couldn't believe my taste buds after actually tasting raspberry and cheesecake flavors. Best of all, you get it tucked inside Subway's rather excellent cookie dough. 200 calories never tasted so good.


Subway Raspberry Cheesecake Cookie

Ted's Bulletin
: We already know about their homemade pop tarts; but Ted's Bulletin has an entire bakery's worth of goodies for sale. It was my first time inside their new location at 1818 14th Street, and I wound up wrestling over a gargantuan doughnut and the eventual winner, Ted's Chocolate Pretzel Cookie. Huge in its own right, this cookie is heavy on chocolate with some surprise bites of crunch (pretzels, I'm guessing... although it's hard to discern.) Great texture, and a steal at only $1.99.

Grade: B

Chocolate Pretzel Cookie at Ted's Bulletin

Uncle Chip's: Available via Relay Foods and at Uncle Chip's new Cafe on North Capitol Street, Alvin Jr. offers GIANT cookies ($30 per dozen) made with real chocolate, real vanilla and no eggs. My pair were a bit hard, but chewy and chocolatey in all the right places. Interesting ingredient: Flax Seed Meal... Healthy!

Grade: C+

Uncle Chip's Chocolate Chip Cookie

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