(Disclaimer — I don’t like the word “kook.” I think it’s lame and archaic. But it fit as the blog’s headline. “Tweakers and Milk” doesn’t have the same ring. -P.Ho)
This past Saturday Darlene, her brother Warren and I went up to L.A. to hit some favorite haunts and while in Sherman Oaks we spotted a new cupcake place called “Puddin’ Out.” I confess I didn’t get the double entendré until today. Whatever. it takes more than a clever name to be a good cupcake shop, and this one wasn’t.
The shop was cramped and messy, typical of a mom & pop joint in a struggling strip mall. The selection of cupcakes was modest and I’m still not sure of the exact cake/frosting combos. Why? Because the twitchy dude behind the counter appeared to have been dividing his time between selling pastries and building a meth lab in the back.* I got a red velvet cupcake, Darlene a “Boston mumble mumble” cupcake (that’s how Twitchy identified it) and Warren got an “ice cream cupcake” which was just a hard muffin-shaped cookie cup with ice cream in it. None of us were particularly impressed with our choices. In fact, we’ll never visit again.
*Clearly I’m just kidding. But wow — all of us came away with the same hyperbolic scenario. So there you are.
Now, unlike Puddin’ Out, we had actually scheduled a visit to Milk in Hollywood. I’m glad we did. Milk is probably as close to a “dairy” as I’ll get (a “dairy,” to all you Western young’uns, is what “malt shops” in the Midwest were called 50 years ago). Besides ice cream concoctions, Milk offered soups, salads, sandwiches, coffee beverages and a variety of baked goods.
It was typical L.A.: lots of hipsters paying 20% more than they should for food in a trendy joint. But to defend Milk, their ice cream was pretty damn good.
Still digesting the cupcakes from earlier, Darlene and I showed rare restraint and split a trio of Milkies (mint chocolate, peanut butter & chocolate and white chocolate/strawberry bonbons) and an ice cream sandwich. The bonbons were good but the sandwich was exceptional. The meriques (the “sandwich” part) were surprisingly sweet and there were Scrabble tile-sized chunks of toffee embedded in the ice cream.
I’d like to visit Milk again, but with an empty stomach and a serious sweet tooth to conquer. Next on the list would be their grasshopper ice cream sandwich or banana butterscotch bars. And their cookies and brownies looked really good.
All the while I was there, I couldn’t help but to think of the grade-school rhyme, “Milk milk lemonade… around the corner fudge is made.” Indeed, around the corner of the front counter, they were making brownies and scones.