People tend to remember the aspects of my personality that they can fit into a trope. Sad single girl with cat who has an album of Tinder nightmares. White girl who loves yoga and brunch. Competitive person who went to smart school, keeps all kinds of spreadsheets, and should not be allowed near board games. Writer, whatever the THAT means.
Then there are the (very strong) aspects of my personality that get lost along the way because they don't fit in to how people think of me. Former resident of Italy. Soccer player. And, most importantly for this article, cookie monster.
Maybe people don’t notice because I usually eat lunch on my own, or they make assumptions since I'm thin, but regardless, it is honestly problematic. I literally base my lunch choice on how good their cookies are, and I have one pretty much every day. It's bad.
That said, here is a ranking of cookies near my office in terms of deliciousness. A few ground rules:
This is all based on chocolate chip because nothing else matters.
“Crispy” is not a positive thing in a cookie.
I do not have a nuts vs no nuts preference or allergies or anything. Just make it good.
Cookies should be made with lots of butter and/or whatever industrial palm oil that is probably going to give me heart disease but also makes them soft and delicious.
I work near 24th and Lamar, plz don't stalk me kthxbai.
I am going to say some harsh things, because I am a tough critic. Also, I make some bomb-ass cookies, which means I have room to judge because I know it's just NOT THAT HARD, PEOPLE.
It's important to remember that at least all of these places offer cookies, and are therefore infinitely better than places with no desserts. Plus at the end of the day, just like pizza and sex, it's still a cookie.
Dishonorable mention: TacoDeli
For a while, Tacodeli offered salted dark chocolate cookies from a baker that I randomly met at a party who was super nice, though apparently she couldn't keep up with the supply and had to cease production. I didn't understand the salt thing, but sure, they were acceptable. However my main problem is that these cookies were THREE DOLLARS. FOR A COOKIE. Much like their tacos, this kind of price gouging meant I eventually evolved past Tacodeli to better things. Now I feed my twice weekly taco habit down the street at gas station trailer trailer (what up, Taqueria Anyeli!) for half the price and twice the flavor. AND they serve breakfast tacos with REAL-ASS POTATOES, ALL DAY. But I digress. Back to cookies.
Places I cannot rank because I haven't tried their cookies:
- The Steeping Room (I have had pastries here, they were good, so cookies are probably good).
- Upper Crust (I have had cakes here that were good and pastries were NOT good [UC, how do you fail at muffins so hard], so unsure of cookie quality).
- Searsucker (Went there for lunch and saw the table next to us get complimentary warm chocolate chip cookies but when our check came, nothing. NOT THAT I AM BITTER)
THE ACTUAL WORST: Quack's Bakery
It's possible that some things at Quack’s are good, but I haven't had them because their cookies are god-awful. Remember how I said cookie is better than no cookie? Not in this case. They are hard and legitimately difficult to eat. With no viable cookie options nearby, this means my beloved Julio’s is only a lunch option if I've done the baking myself.
17. 34th Street Cafe: Everyone at my office goes nuts over the Asian Chicken Salad here. I don't get it. Also do not get cookies because there is no softness to them whatsoever.
16. My Sweet Austin: This is a new bakery right by my office run by a very lovely woman who I kind of don't want to include on this list because maybe she just didn't have her cookie operation fully running yet, but #journalisticintegrity. They are not good. Her cookies have the opposite problem of the previous two in that they are WAY too soft and cake-y. Cakey cookies are weird.
15. Thundercloud Subs: This can actually vary based on location — some of them are fine, if tiny. They're also like 50 cents. So.
14. P. Terry's: Again, acceptable, but still too hard for my taste. And what is this oatmeal bullshit? Are you trying to get fiber into my body? I will not be fooled.
13. Food! Food!: This little Tarrytown takeaway spot is SO GOOD! I just discovered them on Super Tuesday. It's the kind of place where everybody runs into neighbors and stays to chat. However their cookies are like a 6/10 — too flat. Going to give the blondies a go next time though.
12. Panera: Why does everyone like their chocolate chip cookies? They are sub-par. Sure, they're soft, but taste like nothing. The best cookies at Panera are unquestionably their toffee nut variety, which are only available "seasonally" (I have not yet determined when toffee is in season)(?).
11. Moojo: I wanted to enjoy Moojo so much more than I actually did. They make you a cookie ice cream sandwich where you can choose the cookie and the ice cream. Sounds amazing, right? Not as good in actual practice.
10. Fricano's: These are also slightly crispy for my taste BUT they're usually still warm so the chocolate is a little melty = 100 emoji.
9. Houndstooth: SUSTAINABLE LOCALLY OWNED COFFEE BREWED WITH THE PURIFIED WATER FROM AFRICAN SAVANNAH RAIN blah blah their cookies are great, but they're usually out of them :(
8. Whole Foods: Now we are starting to get into the cookies that I legitimately crave. And don't think I'm talking about the Whole Foods chocolate chip cookies — get that crispy bullshit out of here. The Vegan "Big John" cookies are where it's at. First of all, true to advertising they are gigantic. Second, they have huge chunks of (vegan, so, dark?) chocolate. Third, vegan => it’s a fact that all vegan things are healthy and good for you. So it’s like I’m not even eating dessert at all. Bonus! However, due to lack of actual butter, they don't fulfill that sumptuousness that a cookie needs.
7. Jason's Deli: Great cookie. Solid choice. Lots of vanilla flavor. Much yum.
6. Central Market: Have you had a chocolate chip cookie with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, AND macadamia nuts? If no, you have not lived. If that’s not your thing, they also have chocolate chip and pecan. And chocolate chocolate chip. And normal...look, just get their cookies, they’re delicious.
5. Texas French Bread: I can tell that the cookies here are made with actual ingredients, not like, corn syrup masquerading as vanilla extract or anything. This is a plus.
4. Subway: YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE. For all their “fresh” and “healthy” menu, Subway is being sneaky because their cookies are too tempting for any dieter to pass up. They are the gold standard of cookie quality, as you can get three for $1.20 which is just stupid. Again, I’m sure these are made of things that I cannot pronounce, WHATEVER, they’re good. So what could possibly be better???
*~Honorable Mentions/Dance Break!~*
Before we get to the top 3, these two places have some serious cookie game but as they are in the Arboretum, are a bit too far for me to go for lunch. Does that mean I haven’t made the drive, speeding down Mopac in my hour allotment? Absolutely not. Again, people seem to underestimate how crazy I am about cookie quality.
Zoe's Kitchen: I can eat literally nothing here because I’m allergic to garlic, but I saw their cookies in a Houston list so decided I should try. Holy shit. Terrific cookie. Two kinds of chocolate, gooey, flavorful. Yum.
Blue Baker: Lots of pecans in these. Great texture. Wunderbar.
3. Foodheads: Foodheads is good at pretty much everything they do, and cookies are no exception. They did change the recipe a while ago and I think the original was better, but still, assuming no one burned the cookies to a crisp that day (has happened), they are some of the best. Good size, just the right amount of softness in the middle. And the adorable atmosphere does not hurt.
2. Cafe Express: I get this weird vibe from Cafe Express, because it’s like, corporate? But chef-inspired? But they give you your food on a tray? And it’s right by the hospital so filled with people wearing pagers? IDK. However, I will gladly tolerate the weirdness because their cookies, which they usually run out of, curse them, are SO GOOD. Again, it’s all about balance: they are baked just right, they have lots of chocolate but the vanilla and butter of the cookie shine through. A+.
~And the winner is...~
1. Tiff's Treats: Was there even any doubt? Buttery cookies, delivered right to your desk while they are still warm? A guy sent me some after our third date and after a year and a half together he is one of the great loves of my life. Coincidence?
Although, for the record, I have a very specific reason for preferring Tiff’s Treats: They make cookies with chocolate chips AND M&Ms. I cannot stress how infinitely better cookies are with M&Ms. It’s like extra chocolate but with the added benefit of crunch and candy. It’s just a scientific fact, okay?
So there you have it. If you work near me and need a cookie fix, these are your best options. If you disagree 1) you are wrong 2) please leave a comment and let me know your misguided opinion. And feel free to bring me cookies for sampling.