If food is art, then cookie dough is the Vincent van Gogh (or van Dough, if you will) of the food world—it evokes passionate thoughts and, while once thought of as not very honorable, now no one can get enough of it. Over break my cousin and I ventured to New York City to go to Cookie Do, a cafe that sells edible cookie dough in ice cream cones. Using pasteurized eggs and heat-treated flour, the shop generates pounds of cookie dough a day and attracts large lines that file down the block. When food is presented this beautifully, one can truly compare it to a piece of art.
After seeing Cookie Do featured multiple times on INSIDER food videos on Facebook, I was convinced that I needed to experience this place, so my cousin and I perused their cute website and decided to go the 550 LaGuardia Place location near Washington Square Park on the Lower East Side.
Before you get too jealous of my outing, let me just tell you that the Cookie Do experience was two-fold: While in the end my cousin and I left with a hefty load of creamy chocolate chip cookie dough and luscious fudge brownie batter topped off with chocolate chips and sprinkles—it wasn’t all fun and games throughout the entire process.
At first, approaching the shop, we were excited. The interior decor looked quaint and warm, decorated with mirrors and pink signs making puns with the word “do.” It looked crowded inside, but we were ecstatic that there wasn’t a line out the door.
It was all fine and dandy until we tried to open the door and an employee brought a small detail to our attention. Little did we know, the line did not end inside the shop—it started across the street and spanned half a block long. There was even someone at the shop’s entrance guarding the door and ushering people across the street to their proper placement in line. As people laughed at us, we reluctantly joined the rest of the commoners on the other side of the street. I should have known that you can’t just walk into heaven.
Here is where the pain and suffering came in. We waited in line for a whole hour (which was apparently lucky as the wait can get up to four or five hours) on a 30-degree New York winter day. My cousin and I huddled together like penguins fantasizing about the intoxicatingly scrumptious cookie dough we were determined to consume. We watched enviously as others left the shop across the street, stopping leisurely to take photos and smiling down at their massive amounts of dough.
Besides eating the dough, the main highlight of the experience was watching other customers make the same mistake we did, trying to enter directly into the shop and not realizing that the line started on the other side of the street. My cousin and I found this sadistically funny. We laughed at how everyone seemed to share the same expression of shock and outrage upon realizing that they too would have to wait in the freezing cold for hours to get their cookie dough.
After a while, however, our feet and hands had lost feeling and we became even more antsy. Eventually we made it to the front of the line, and an employee gave us special Cookie Do tokens that would get us through the door once we crossed the street. At last, we entered the shop which was pleasantly inviting with its warm, sweet smell and cheery music in the background.
We had to wait about 20 minutes in the shop before it was our turn to order, but it was all right because we could watch how the dough was made through a huge glass window looking into the kitchen. While this was a cool touch, it didn’t distract from the fact that the shop was a little disorganized, as there was only one freezer from which the employees were scooping the dough and they kept having to move around each other to get to the specific flavors that customers were ordering.
An hour and 20 minutes in, it was time for us to us to feast. I took my time sampling the different types of dough and deciding what the best combination would be. I ordered one scoop of “confetti,” which is Cookie Do’s signature chocolate chip dough with extra sprinkles and chocolate chips, and a scoop of “cake batter.” The dough was expensive, which I was expecting knowing its immense popularity. One scoop in a cup cost $4, and two scoops cost $7. I also ordered a container of it to take with me back to Vassar, which was a pricey $9.
After finally paying, we impatiently posed for a classic tourist photo that my aunt forced us to take (the requisite aesthetic aspect of this experience), and then without further ado, dug in. The dough did not disappoint—it was extra sugary and the texture was soft like clay. It was “do-licious” as one might say. Although, after a few bites, I had to put it away because it was so rich.
In the end, the full Cookie Do experience brought out both the best and worst parts of humanity. On one hand, you get an extreme amount of satisfaction in indulging your primal desire to consume. On the other hand, though, you become a cold-hearted fiend laughing at the folly of others, selfishly complaining about the wait and basking in your own pettiness for caring so much about a dessert you could buy for $2 at Safeway. It’s a whirlwind of emotions—shock, anger, boredom and pure enjoyment.
In all seriousness, is it truly worth all the waiting? If you are really, really, really hankering for the ultimate sweet treat—an artistic and artisinal experience—and you want to make a trip out of it, then maybe the Cookie Do experience is worth it. But at the end of the day, it might be more practical to acquire some Ben & Jerry’s and call it quits.