Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Girlchild in the Promised Land
Have you ever noticed that we never really grew out of the standbys of our childhood? They may change name, or slightly change form, but even if they've fallen out of vogue, those marketing wizards finds a way to sneak them in. Station wagons went away, but SUVs, only slightly less dorky, filled their giant shoes. Easy listening now goes by the names Kings of Convenience, Iron and Wine, and The Shins. Milkshakes are no longer part of the diet, but what's a Frappucino but a milkshake on crack? And playing video games? Well, it's been replaced with playing video games on your own widescreen.
Milk, the newish ice cream and bake shop on Beverly, speaks directly and persuasively to our inner child, with sugary sweet cookies, cakes, ice cream treats and more. It's like, we all had these dreams of pigging out on all this stuff back when we were kiddies, but there was mom, keeping all the goodness away from us. But now we have cars and incomes and we could probably take on mom, so binging on sugarflourcreamfatbutter is as easy as finding parking on Beverly (in fact Milk has a little parking lot of its own, so even that's taken care of).
Milk is not about balance, health, whole grains, and tempeh. Even their thick slices of honey bran bread belie the 'bran' in the name and the toasted oats sprinkled on top: they are heavy with honey, and the burnished crust surrounding the dense cake is so stickily sweet, it's almost too much. Nor is Milk about high-brow, sophisticated sweets piercing flavors like lavender or cayenne pepper. Instead, chase your honey cake with an ooey gooey chocolate cookie (their name, not mine), a tastes-like-homemade chocolate chip cookie, or an old-fashioned ice cream sundae (by the way, the mint ice cream is the kind of green reminiscent of those little vials of food coloring you'd use to tint tubs of Betty Crocker frosting -- and, don't even get me started on the color of the blue velvet cake), or a perfectly decadent coffee toffee ice cream sandwich, where the 'bread' is giant macarons so airy you can bite right through without smushing ice cream out the back of the sandwich and into your lap. Even the cappuccino tastes more of comfy warm milk than biting, grown-up espresso, and stiffly starched scones are brought down-home with bacon and cheddar.
It's funny, amidst one of LA's largest and most visible Orthodox Jewish communities, we find the land of milk and honey. The promised land, mannah from the heavens above, pure hedonistic flavor that appeals to our most childish tastebuds, all in a bright corner shop. (Of course there are also very decent (and slightly less gluttonous) salads and sandwiches here, but the sweets are really the thing here). And with temptation at every turn, an old lesson still rings true: our only salvation lies in moderation.
Milk is at 7290 Beverly Blvd. at Poinsettia (4 blocks west of La Brea).