July 18, 2010

Magnolia Bakery... in LA!

I often joke with my friends that I go where the food takes me. But it's more of a truth than a joke. I am known to drive to OC for authentic Thai and Indian, SD for California burritos and carne asada fries, and the SGV for legit dim sum and Taiwanese... for food alone. Sometimes, aka - often times, cravings need to satisfied without compromising quality. So when Magnolia Bakery opened its doors today here in LA, I was there (naturally), with my FPFL (naturally).

Let me preface this entry by saying that I'm actually not a huge fan of MB. First, it's overpriced. Second, it's over-hyped. Third, while the novelty of having another New York ship on our coast is fun (LA>NY, what?), it will soon wear off when Angelenos realize it's just another Sprinkles in disguise (bleh). Sufficiently warned, I restrained from going zOMG-crazy on the cupcakes. In fact, I set my heart on a slice of red velvet cake instead.

Oh hi.

The texture kind of reminded me of sponge cake and the ultra-whipped frosting severely toned down the cream cheese taste. But after a few more bites, the sponge-cake texture made me kind of miss the familiar underlying cocoa tones traced in red velvets. And though the non-dense frosting was good initially, I missed the cream cheesiness. In fact, with each new bite, it began tasting like vanilla frosting... but no one would dare match red velvet with plain vanilla... right?! If it was vanilla, that's a biggie no-no. I'll eat my leftovers tomorrow to confirm. {update: still unclear, but definitely leaning on the vanilla side...}

The famous banana pudding!

The banana pudding, however, was a completely different story. It was exactly how I remembered it in New York after waiting in a ridiculously long line on Bleeker and after a no-joke bike trek through Central Park. Flurry and sweet goodness, I borrow this ode and re-dedicate it to you.  Now that you're just a short drive away, I no longer have to risk tripping and spilling homemade pudding all over myself (not a culinary highlight in my life). { recipe here }


The lineup: Banana Pudding; two organic (free-trade!) coffees; Red Velvet Cake
Thumbs up: Late-hours (opened 'till 10PM); large space w/ well-circulated air (look at the ceiling to be greeted by epic-sized fans); friendly employees; on 3rd St., near some good restaurants.

Thumbs down: No tables or eating area (must resort to standing or sitting on narrow window sill); the layout of the different "stations" is not really efficient; I'm paying $3.25 for a cupcake?!

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cuisine: Dessert
location: West LA
website: { magnolia | yelp }
good for: in-between munchies or round two or round three or...
cost: $3-55 (for a 9" cake). In other words, not cheap.