Last weekend, while I was aimlessly driving like Humbert Humbert at the end of “Lolita” (you’re going with that reference, Chason?), I made my way, as if by instinct, to Hello Robin in Capitol Hill.
Hello Robin is the new all-cookie bakery on 19th, and let me say off the hockey stick (baseball sucks) that it’s so refreshing to walk into a bakery that doesn’t feature scones, those stupid scones (you heard me, scones). The inside is adorable. A little display case features the moderately-sized cookies priced at a dollar and change, and doesn’t spin, which makes it much easier to focus on the respective items (I was once arrested for betting on slices of pie in a spinning display case at a diner).
To the right of the counter (my right, your right) is a large open baking table where the fresh cookies are rolled and placed into the oven to become their destiny (I wanted to ask the baker if I could lick the bowl, but that probably would have broken several health codes). While I was staring at the display case for answers, the woman at the table (I think it was Robin) let me know that some fresh, warm cookies were on their way.
This presented an odd issue. Like pizza and bagels and pizza bagels (what ever happened to pizza bagels?), cookies are always best when eaten fresh and gooey from the oven. Not my oven, mind you, but from ovens belonging to people who know how to bake (I’ve never successfully made cookies in my life). Warm cookies are so good that they wind up marginalizing non-warm cookies, or room temperature cookies, or cookies, to put it plainly.
If there’s a problem with warm cookies, however, it’s that you have to wait a little for them. That’s the cost. So there I was, caught between the oven that would soon have warm cookies, and the display case that had regular cookies now. What to do?
Since I am a person who has never been able to delay gratification (I watched three episodes of “The Larry Sanders Show” and ate an entire bag of chips in the middle of writing this article), I opted for the regular cookies. “Give me those cookies now!” I screamed, waving my hands crazily (not true), “I need them right fucking now!”
There were so many different cookies in the case! They had chocolate chip, the meat and potatoes of cookies, though meat and potatoes cookies would be terrible. There was also Birthday Cake, Mackle’smore, classic molasses, orange habanero, orange snickerdoodle (how much is orange paying you, Hello Robin?), and a breakfast cookie, which has healthy ingredients like carrots and oats that allow you to guiltlessly eat a cookie for breakfast. It’s the Bloody Mary of cookies (I’m not good with analogies).
All had light crispy exteriors that effortlessly broke away to gooey centers, like all proper cookies should. The snickerdoodle (my nickname in college) perfectly balanced the snicker with the doodle (I’m saying it was good), and the chocolate chip would do well in representing all chocolate chip cookies to an alien civilization, should the situation ever arise.
While I was ordering, I decided to get some extra cookies for friends of mine whom I was to hang out with later, thinking (like a robot learning about human kindness), “Yes, I will be the sort of person who gives cookies to his friends.” Later that evening, when I handed the cookies to said friends, I felt absolutely nothing. It was a total bust. I won’t be doing that again!
Yes, it’s truly wonderful to find an all-cookie bakery. In a city rife with cupcake shops, pie shops and shoelace shops (not a real example), a store featuring all cookies is a nice return to the simplicity of youth.
For, you see, cookies are a child’s first exposure to sweets. I didn’t have pie until I was 11 and fancy cupcakes until I was at least 26. And though I appreciate them, cookies will always be my first love, way better than my other first love, who won’t return my calls.
So let us all say, “Hello Robin,” despite the fact that their tagline, “Cookies You Wish Your Mother Had Made,” is a complete insult. What the hell did you just say about my mother? You talking shit about my mother? It’s a good thing THAT these cookies are good, Hello Robin, or there’d be trouble (not true).