Categories
cookies reviews

The Twitter Chocolate Chip Cookie Smackdown 09

I went on a baking spree last weekend because two of my favorite bloggers, Alice of Savory Sweet Life and Ashley of Not Without Salt, started talking smack on Twitter about who had the best chocolate chip cookies. Since they both live in Seattle, there was no way I was going to be able to try their cookies and make up my own mind unless I made them myself.

Cookies!

Lorna Yee from The Cookbook Chronicles also threw her hat into the ring, but she hasn’t posted her recipe yet, so I haven’t had the chance to make them. But Lorna did show off her cookies last week, as well as provide a thorough breakdown of Alice and Ashley’s recipes. Inspired by Lorna’s analysis, I decided to compare their recipes to my favorite recipe, Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc Chocolate Chip Cookies (courtesy of Food Gal Carolyn Jung), and the Original Nestle Toll House recipe.

Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home Chocolate Chip CookiesMy attempt at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc Chocolate Chip Cookies

With a few exceptions, the ingredients and techniques are basically the same, so it’s interesting to see how the proportions vary from cookie to cookie.

ingredient
Ashley
Thomas Keller
Alice
Toll House
butter
8 oz., softened
8 oz., unsalted,
cold, cubed
8 oz., salted,
softened
8 oz., softened
sugar
2 oz.
(1/4 cup)
3/4 cup
1/2 cup
3/4 cup
turbinado sugar
2 oz.
(1/4 cup)
brown sugar
12 oz.
(1 3/4 cup)
1 cup, packed
(molasses preferred)
1 1/2 cup
3/4 cup, packed
eggs
2
2
2
2
vanilla extract
1/4 oz.
(2 tsp.)
2 tsp.
1 tsp.
all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups
(1 lb.)
2 1/3 cups
plus 1 Tbsp
3 cups
(12 oz.)
2 1/4 cups
baking soda
1 1/2 tsp.
3/4 tsp.
1 1/2 tsp.
1 tsp.
baking powder
1 tsp.
salt
3/4 tsp.
1 tsp. kosher
1 tsp. sea salt,
small/medium coarse grind
1 tsp.
chocolate
16 oz. chopped
10 oz. chopped
16 oz. chips
12 oz. chips

Ashley’s cookies could easily be called “pound cookies” since they contain a pound of flour, a pound of sugar and a pound of chocolate. They’re crispy on the bottom and dense and chewy in the middle and reminded me of the Ad Hoc cookies. Her use of chopped chocolate instead of chips allows the chocolate to pool inside the cookie so that you get huge bursts of chocolate in every bite. As Ashley says in her “last chocolate chip cookie” post, the dough is really only there “to hold the chunks of chocolate in place.” The addition of turbinado sugar gives the cookies a nice crunch and texture, as well. I didn’t have 16 oz. of chocolate to make the cookies since I had sort of eaten away at the Scharffen Berger stash I got at BlogHer Food 09, but 12 oz. was still plenty of chocolate.

Not Without Salt's Chocolate Chip CookiesAshley’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was a little worried when I made Alice’s cookie because the dough was much lighter and airier than Ashley’s, and it showed in the final product. I couldn’t find my usual Guittard chips at Whole Foods, but Ghirardelli’s semi-sweet chocolate chips were a nice substitute. The cookies came out thin and fluffy with crispy bottoms and reminded me of the classic Toll House recipe. When paired with milk from Straus Dairy, possibly the best-tasting milk I’ve ever had, I was transported straight back to elementary school.

Savory Sweet Life's Chocolate Chip CookiesAlice’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know you’re probably wondering which cookie I liked better, and my extremely political answer is this: I think Ashley’s cookie is a grown-up, sophisticated cookie, while Alice’s is capable of illiciting an Anton-Ego-in-Ratatouille kind of revelation, so it really depends on what you really want out of your cookie. I’m eagerly awaiting Lorna’s entry into this smackdown, but after this experiment, I may be off cookies for a while. :)

Categories
Korean reviews Southern California street food

Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go: The Twitter Chronicles

Kogi BBQ‘s now-famous Korean taco trucks have eluded me on my last three trips home to SoCal, but this weekend, I was determined to hunt one down. Kogi has two trucks, Roja and Verde, and I met up with Roja yesterday at 9th and Hope in Downtown LA.

Let me just say upfront that I think Kogi’s food is great. We really liked everything we had, especially the Kogi Sliders and the Kogi Dog. But our first Kogi experience was a logistical disaster. It took two hours from the time we got in line to the time we got our food and left and they ran out of kalbi right before my order was fulfilled, so we missed out on their signature meat.

Since Kogi relies on their twitter account (@kogibbq) to keep their devoted followers updated about their whereabouts, it’s appropriate that this review contain my tweets about my first Kogi experience (follow me @inuyaki).

Watch how things progress by checking the timestamps of each tweet. (Timestamps from the Tweetie iPhone app.)

12:15pm Line for @kogibbq isn’t too bad right now (9th and Hope in Downtown LA) http://twitpic.com/4cnnw

kogi1.jpg

12:17pm mic_dee @inuyaki d00d! aare they quick to serve at least?
12:18pm 3ND14P3 @inuyaki O_O that line “isn’t too bad?” ?? LOL Wow. I hope it’s moving quickly
12:20pm The @kogibbq line isn’t moving yet because they haven’t started serving. Will see how fast it goes when they start.

A few minutes after this tweet they started taking orders.

12:43pm LadyDucayne @inuyaki is the kogi anticipation still going strong? What’s ur place in line? red or green?
12:52pm @LadyDucayne I think it’s roja. Line is moving slow but steady. I’m actually hungry right now. :)
12:55pm @LadyDucayne I think we’re about 25 people back.

1:18pm The @kogibbq line is moving so slow. I wasn’t hungry when i got here but now I’m starving

1:28pm The people that wait 4 @kogibbq at night are either dedicated or crazy. Don’t know if I would do this again unless I was near the front.
1:31pm LadyDucayne @inuyaki both times I have been first in line. I like kogi, but not enough to wait in line for more than ten minutes…
1:36pm 90 minutes later…Finally near the front :) http://twitpic.com/4cu8t

kogi2.jpg

1:50pm A tow truck just showed up. Minor panic. Dudes just wanted food. http://twitpic.com/4cvfi

kogi3.jpg

1:51pm hsiawen @inuyaki bastards better not have gotten cutsies

A couple minutes later we placed our order: 1 kalbi burrito, 2 kalbi tacos, 1 spicy pork taco, 1 chicken taco, 1 tofu taco, 1 order Kogi Sliders, 1 Kogi Dog, 1 brownie with Chinese spiced nuts. I ordered the Kogi Dog because they said they didn’t have enough kimchi to make the Kogi Kimchi Quesadilla. I should have known we were in trouble then.

1:59pm They just ran out of short ribs…for my order and beyond. Not very happy now, just give me my food please! @kogibbq

They also announced that they were putting a limit of one burrito or three tacos per customer. There were probably a hundred people behind me at that point.

2:03pm So @kogibbq was expecting a regular lunch crowd and weren’t prepared for all the people that showed up, which led to logistical failure

I think the people at the front of the line were buying lunch for their respective offices and depleted Kogi’s supplies right off the bat. My wife said she saw people leaving with bags of food. If this is true, it explains why the line moved so slowly and why they ran out of kalbi.

At this point, I stopped tweeting because I was focused on getting my order completed. We were supposed to be at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles at 2:30pm to donate blood platelets for my friend’s daughter, and I was getting annoyed because I didn’t want to be late. Donating platelets is by appointment only because the process takes a couple of hours, but apparently, so does Kogi.

They called me to the window to ask what other meat I wanted since they were out of short ribs. I got the spicy pork instead and changed the burrito order to a second brownie. I thought that I might as well get another dessert out of this. I told the guy expediting orders that I needed go to the doctors and that I needed to leave ASAP.

The tow truck guys were seen leaving with food five minutes after they arrived.

2:06pm @hsiawen they did get cutsies
2:08pm hsiawen @inuyaki that’s BS that means they got your ribs!!!

Actually, the guy in front of me, who almost got out of line because it was taking too long, got the last of it. He only had to substitute spicy pork for part of his order.

But were the tow truck guys the reason I didn’t get short ribs? We’ll never know. Damn you, tow truck guys!

A couple minutes later, we had half our order and were waiting on Kogi Sliders and a Kogi Dog. The guy in the party that ordered after me got his complete order, which included a Kogi Dog and Kogi Sliders, before I did, which was really annoying. I reminded the expediter that I had an appointment.

At around 2:15 were in the car and on our way to CHLA, two hours after we arrived. I snapped a couple quick pics of the food before leaving the area, and we ate our food while driving over to CHLA. The Kogi Dog was especially challenging to consume…good thing I don’t drive stick.

Kogi DogKogi Dog
Kogi SlidersKogi Sliders

We got to the CHLA blood donation center about 10 minutes late. The last three tweets are from when I was in the chair giving blood.

3:01pm While I’m a little bitter about my @kogibbq experience, the food was really good. Had to sub kalbi with spicy pork
3:05pm kogibbq @inuyaki – hopefuLLy the experience was both bitter and sweet. or at the very least, meat. MEATY…! ::drools::
3:22pm @kogibbq kogi dog was great and i liked the spicy pork. brownie with spiced nuts were nice. just sad you guys ran out of kalbi.

If you’re still reading, I commend you for sticking with this epic ordeal. :) Like I said, I think Kogi’s food is great, but I feel like the experience is incomplete because I didn’t get to try the kalbi. I’m also sure they’ll learn from these logistical snafus as they and their fanbase continues to grow. Some people might not give Kogi another shot if they endured a similar experience, but I think what Kogi is doing is worthy of a return visit. It all comes down to planning and understanding, a responsibility that belongs to both Kogi and their customers.

Personally, I won’t wait more than 30 minutes for Kogi again, so I’ll have to do my homework and be more diligent the next time I seek them out. I hope Kogi does the same so that they’re prepared to get bumrushed every time their trucks open for business.

INFORMATION
Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go
Web Site
Twitter