Ooh La La Bakery: A Confection Consortium
To say I have a sweet tooth is perhaps the understatement of the century. I could easily live on chocolate chip cookies and have been known to fight children for the corner piece of a sheet cake (best icing-to-cake ratio). Although I get away with eating more brownies and pie and donuts than the average bear thanks to some good genes and a lot of endurance training (for the record, however, I acknowledge low-glycemic index foods and lean protein are far better fuel), I have tried to rein it in as I grow older in an effort to preserve my liver and pancreas.
But when I visit a place like Ooh La La Bakery any and all attempts to restrain myself go out the window. There. Is. Just. Too. Much. Goodness.
You know how people say a drink made by someone else tastes better than the one your pour yourself? I feel similarly about baked goods, the exception being chocolate chip cookies, as I have invested an excessive amount of time perfecting my own recipe. Part of the reason sweet treats Not Made By Me are so appealing is that I don't know exactly what's in them (and I know even as I'm writing this post someday this assertion will bite me in ass). I like nibbling on an oatmeal cookie and tasting a little bit more cinnamon than I'm used to or noshing on a piece of cake and detecting just a hint of almond extract in the ostensibly vanilla icing. For me, the deliciousness of baked goods is in the nuances. Thus, I relish the little surprises.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary "C-U-P-C-A-K-E." Yes, that's pretty much my bat signal.
And I found many sweet surprises among my haul of goodies from Ooh La La, beginning with the seemingly demure "cupcake truffles." I tried an assortment of these upscale cake balls, among which my favorite was a strawberry variety whose fragrant fruity interior was artfully encased in a white chocolate shell.
A delicious over-sized oatmeal raisin cookie was a bit crisper than I usually prefer, but the crunch seemed appropriate given the strong notes of brown butter and the infusion of pecans. And though milk is the obvious beverage with any good circular baked good, I actually would recommend a warm mug of chai with this cookie, for the spices would nicely complement the cookie's own sweet seasonings.
To drink anything besides milk with the lovely Cap'n Crunch bar (think rice krispie treat but with a different cereal) seemed just wrong as it would with any sticky confection involving a breakfast grain.
For Ooh La La desserts as decadent as the Boston cream pie and "Velvet Elvis" cupcakes, I had to switch to water, and needless to say, share bites with my friends. The former, a fluffy yellow cake infused with white cream and topped with chocolate ganache, pleasantly eclipsed its namesake pie in terms of sweetness as well as boasted a more supple texture. As for the "Velvet Elvis," aka red velvet cupcake, I would have liked a cake base with a stronger cocoa flavor. This petite flaw was easily forgettable in the face of an absolutely terrific crown of cream cheese frosting that I found myself licking off my fingers.
Although my pals and I certainly tried a variety of Ooh La La's wares, there were many other treats left untasted. The voluminous menu makes Ooh La La in some ways resemble an American Chinese restaurant rather than a traditional bakery--in a good way. And for that reason, I think, family-style is the best way to enjoy its diverse and delicious offerings.