Pillsbury Doesn't Do it Best

"Life's short, eat cookies." That sounds right to me. That's the motto of Courtney Cowan the owner of Milk Jar cookies, an impossibly cute cookie shop in the Miracle Mile area-of Wilshire Boulevard.. Filled with all different kinds of milk jars (including the very cool light fixtures) get yourself over here as quickly as possible. Homemade cookies, baked daily in small batches are cake like and thick, and utterly outstanding. Enjoy your cookies off of vintage plates and drink your milk out of real glass milk bottles with striped straws! Fosselman's ice cream takes no backseat to the fantastic cookies either. For a real treat try the ice cream sandwiches too! Some of our favorite cookie ($3) flavors include the seasonal Lemon Blueberry, Banana Split, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road, White Chocolate Raspberry, and Mint Chocolate. You can customize your own box. Why not share the love with a friend? Send a dozen for $30! While you're eating the cookies at one of the adorable little tables inside, be sure to get a scoop of the Fosselman's ice cream. We adore the Mint Chocolate Chip! Service is excellent and we can't wait to order our first dozen! Milk Jar Cookies 5466 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles (323) 634-9800 Hours: Sun: 12 p.m.- 5 p.m. Closed Monday, Tuesday-Thurs: 11:am-8 p.m. Fri-Sat: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

 

 Recommended: Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road, Lemon Blueberry, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

It's hard to know where to start this review because everything here is so wonderful! While chilling in this lovely little neighborhood yesterday, Rhonda (who I often invite to be my Yelp plus one), and I decided to grab lunch at the Village Bakery and Cafe. All food is prepared fresh every day from farmer's market ingredients. Breakfast is served all day too. We're definitely going back to try it. Lunch was delicious! We had creamy mac and cheese with spinach. ($7.50) This dish was filling and enough for two. Elbow macaroni is combined with tons of melted cheese to make this dish taste like it's right from mom's oven. Though it's not crispy, the creaminess more than makes up for it. The BLT ($9) on toasted sourdough is heaven on earth. Add avocado for $1.50 and lovely marinated grilled free-range chicken for $2.50. This super sandwich includes nitrate-free double smoked applewood bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo. The tuna salad sandwich ($9) is also a winner! It's served cold on sourdough toast or your choice of bread with lettuce and tomato. All sandwiches come with a cup of homemade soup or a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette that is fabulous! Salads include Beet ($6/$8,) Greek ($9) Cobb ($10) and Italian Antipasti ($10). The bakery will knock your socks off! Check it out first then come back after lunch! S'mores Bars are sweet but eat them in phases. Just a side note: My friend Deborah T's are better, but these are pretty good. (hint, hint!) We love them! If you're a Hand Pie lover, you've come to the right place! These mini pies come in Apple, Berry, and Cherry. They are the perfect size to munch on as you walk off that BLT! Blondies and Brownies are very popular with the Atwater crowd as well as donut muffins and strawberry donuts. Service is over the top friendly too! We love Atwater Village and we think you will too! The Village Bakery and Cafe 3119 Los Feliz Blvd. Atwater Village (323) 662-8600 Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. Saturday & Sunday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

 

Recommended Dishes: BLT, Tuna, Hand Pies, Blondies, S'mores Bars.

My friend Rhonda and I love to have adventures. Today was one of the days we decided to have one. Only Rhonda calls our adventures "field trips." I bet you can guess what Rhonda's profession is. After dropping off two huge bags of toys at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, we decided to explore Atwater Village, and I'm glad we did. I couldn't ask for a better "field trip" buddy! One of our stops was Sweets for the Soul. Owner Lilly LaBonge, who bakes the perfect brownie, is a former tv commercial producer. Her gourmet brownies are made using French Valrhona chocolates and all fresh high quality organic ingredients. Brownies are creamy, rich and there is a wide variety to choose from. We especially enjoyed the homemade Tootsie Rolls! Try the Billionaire's Bliss ($3.25), an amazing shortbread cookie bar topped with Madagascar chocolate, caramel and fleur de sel. This is the way to use sea salt my friends! Chocolate Chip cookies ($1.85) are big and beautiful! Madagascar dark chocolate chips are packed into a dairy-free flavorful tasty treat. The Salted Caramel Shot ($2.85) is not to be missed either. Shots are simply "bite-sized balls of goodness." This shot is a cocoa based brownie with a fleur de sel caramel on top. The brownie is so good that I was willing to part with the caramel. With so many amazing choices like Peanut Butter Shots (Organic peanut butter topped with organic peanut brittle) and the Obama Brownie (cocoa base with white and dark chocolate chips), we can't wait to come back! We're getting our permission slips ready, because the next field trip is coming soon! Sweets for the Soul 3169 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles (Atwater Village) (323) 668-9338. Hours: Tues-Wed: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat: 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. Sun: 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

 

Recommended: Brownies, Cookies, Bars, Tootsie Rolls. 

I know, I know, all of their bakery goods are gorgeous. They are, I agree; in fact they are stunning. But would you rather have them look good or taste good? While the desserts at SLJ are not actually bad; they do not warrant the outrageous prices. Quite frankly, I've had much better baked goods for half the price. I was in the Montana store on Friday and picked up some desserts. Cookies ($2.50) are thick and on the dry side. Chocolate chip were pretty flavorless, and basically a boring dessert. Other flavors included chocolate chip cherry, pecan, and peanut butter. Oatmeal Raisin and Walnut, Linzer, Nutella, and Mexican Wedding all contain nuts as well as most of the bars. Sea Salt brownies ($1) are way too salty and teeney tiny for the price. I know a buck isn't much but the size isn't even a bite! (which really didn't bother me because it truly was way too salty!) I'm not sure what the deal is with people and the sea salt thing. It seems like 99% of the time baker's can't get it right. They over do the sea salt. Cupcakes are $4.25-$4.50 which is highway robbery for any cupcake anywhere. Six inch round cakes start at $37 and go up to $150 for 14 inches. A beautiful flourless chocolate decadence 9" round cake will set you back $49 plus $2 for an inscription. Pies are huge but a 10" apple will cost $55. And yes, there's a charge for the pan. Bring it back and they'll refund you $10. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, "Is this really worth it?" Sometimes the answer is no. Sweet Lady Jane 1631 Montana Avenue Santa Monica (310) 254-9499 Sun-Wed: 7 a.m.- 10 p.m. Thur-Sat 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Lunch 11-a.m.- 4 p.m. daily.

I think we stumbled upon paradise today! Raise your hand if you've ever done a chocolate chip cookie milk shot before. Really? Never? Me either, until today. Enter Platine bakery in Culver City. With its super friendly, welcoming staff and gorgeous baked goods, this is utopia! For $3, on Wednesday and Saturday ( at this writing), indulge yourself in a chocolate chip cookie cookie "shot glass" lined with chocolate and filled with cookie infused milk. This is one of the most yummy, creative fun desserts I have ever had. My hat is off to Platine owner and pastry chef Jamie Ginsberg. (French Laundry) I couldn't wait to share it with all 16, 800+ of you! You don't want to miss this! Only about two dozen are made daily, so when they're gone, they're gone! Regular (and I might add, there's nothing regular about these cookies- $1.50 each or 3 for $4) are crispy and delicious! Of course we couldn't help ourselves and bought a Chocolate Chip, Brown Butter with Dark Chocolate and Smoked Sea Salt, and Lemon Pieters (soft sugar cookies infused with lemon oil, soaked in lemonade, and rolled in lemon sugar). Our favorite cookie was the Brown Butter. We also could not pass up the Chocolate Fudge Cake Slice ($5) and the Chocolate Pot de Cream in a jar with Black Lava (Hawaiian) Sea Salt. The Pot de Cream is a cross between a mousse and a pudding and the salt lends the perfect finishing touch to this creamy chocolaty treat. I saved the cake for last. This was possibly one of the finest chocolate cakes, except for my nana's. Now you have to understand, I mention my nanas a lot because they were amazing cooks and bakers. This cake, however has found a special place in my heart. I am going to eat the rest of it and have a nice tall frosty glass of whole milk...the kind that comes in a glass bottle...because that's just what it deserves. This cake brings me back to my childhood. I love it! Needless to say we brought more of these delights home! So next time you're in need of a shot, a sublime chocolate cake, or a terrific cookie Platine has them all!  Platine means platnium in French, but this place is solid gold!   Platine 10850 Washington Blvd. Culver City (310) 559-9933. Hours: Tues-Fri: 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Sat. 12 p.m.- 4 p.m.  Closed Sunday and Monday.

 

Recommended: Chocolate Fudge Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot, Pot de Creme, Cookies.

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