Thursday, February 3, 2011

LA Tour Part 3

Without further ado, let's get to today's critiques!

Alright, so from the glorious Crumbs, we headed to 3rd Street in LA's West Side to visit Magnolia Bakery and Joan's on Third.  

Of all our destinations on Saturday, Magnolia was probably the one I was most curious about.  You see, it is super duper famous in New York City.  There's always a line-up, and I know people who have waited absolutely preposterous amounts of time to just get inside the store.  But, I haven't heard wonderful things about their cupcakes from those who have had first-hand experience.  Needless to say, my interest was piqued.  

Walking into Magnolia is liking being transported to an old-fashioned,  small-town European bakery {or at least what I would imagine one to be like as I have never been to a bakery or a small town anywhere in Europe}.  I would describe the decor as fresh, darling, adorable, whimsical....the kind of place you'd want to sit down and enjoy coffee and a sweet with a friend.

Isn't it just so cute?!  Cupcake options here were limited, so we went for one that sounded a little different and interesting:  Lemon cupcake with lemon meringue buttercream icing.  It's in the front middle of the picture below:

The cupcake wasn't much to look at, but we hoped its taste would make up for it.

We were sooo wrong.

Very, very, very rarely will I ever consider a cupcake un-edible.  I mean, there's usually some element of saving grace in something so loaded with sugar and butter.  But I'm not kidding you, Polly and I each took a bite and almost spit it out.  It was THAT bad.  We set it aside and didn't even so much glance its way again.  Incredibly disappointing!

Magnolia scored mostly 2s in each category, aside from Atmosphere, which we awarded a 10. 

Total score was 24 out of a possible 70 points.  34% satisfaction.  Yikes!

We both did mention that we'd be willing to go back and try another item from Magnolia.  The ambience was just too fun and there has to be something that makes them so darn famous, right?!  

Onward and upward!

Just down the street from Magnolia is Joan's on Third.  Joan's was added to the tour as a latecomer due to an episode of 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate' on the Food network, in which a chef claimed their Chocolate Coconut cupcake was the best thing she ever ate with her hands.  So of course we had to order this one!

No photos were allowed inside Joan's, but it is another place I'd love to go back to. One part bakery, one part market, one part restaurant with seating inside and out, this place was packed and smelled awesome.   I found a stock photo online to give you an idea:

And here it is from the outside:

Here's how that raved-about cupcake rated:

Highest scores were in the cake category (8/10), and atmosphere (9/10).  We only gave Joan's a 3/10 for variety, as there weren't too many cupcakes to choose from.  But we won't fault them much for that, given what else the store had to offer.  

All in all, Joan's on Third ended up with a 43 out of 70 possible points.  Satisfaction: 61%.

It is at this point in the day that we encountered what I would call the Defining Moment of the tour.  You see, parking was really scarce off 3rd street, and so we decided to risk a no parking zone, hoping we'd be fast enough.

We weren't.

A little gift was waiting for us on the hood of Polly's car when we returned:

Three words for you:  SIXTY THREE DOLLARS.   I'm not even kidding.  I really wish I was.

I dub this the defining moment because Polly handled it like a champ.  While I literally felt sick to my stomach over the insane amount of the ticket, she laughed it off and took total responsibility.  I guess we don't have much of an argument given we were parked directly under this:

Although I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you'd like to donate to a good cause and send a bit of cashola her way.  You can find her blog here.  Polly, you are such a good sport!  And I really, really want to help you pay for that ticket!!

Stay tuned for the summary of our final two stops!


  1. You have perfectly described our experience! Except... when you use "we" in reference to "MY" illegal parking!! Glad we can laugh about it!

  2. Fight that baby! Do they have a guilty with an explanation plea down there to lower the fine? I think "post recession" is probably a good enough reason.