My earliest food memories both have to do with chocolate and my grandmothers. I remember driving with my mom to San Antonio as a five-year-old to see her parents. Her mom, Mater, would have Blue Bell Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream and foil wrapped Hershey’s Kisses waiting for me, and I’d run straight to the pantry for my reward. At big family dinners and birthday parties with my dad’s side of the family, we were always eating Grandmother’s “Special Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing” (that’s what my dad named it). I’ve still never seen a sheet cake like it! For my birthday in elementary school, my mom would make yellow cupcakes with chocolate icing (Duncan Hines is still the best) and decorate them with those cool silver ball sprinkles for my entire class. Then, she had a full cake for me at home to celebrate with my family. I would have a little slice with breakfast for the whole week as I have clearly been taught to love dessert since I was born!
Fast forward to summer before senior year of college in New York City. I moved up there for a two month fashion PR internship where I worked on projects like the TV show Gossip Girl and Omega Watches. I kept my maroon Zagat restaurant guide book in my bag at all times and highlighted all the places I dined. I remember this chocolate chip cookie article in The New York Times came out while I was there in 2008, and I raced over to Levain. Their six-ounce chocolate chip cookie was the thickest I had ever seen, and I had TWO which is NOT normal (see me with it in my NYU dorm below). I still remember being too full to eat my bowl of pasta at Bar Pitti that night. It was the best cookie I had ever had (until I found City Cakes)! I was labeled as the Levain girl for several years because I talked about it so much before Instagram came along and helped make it a household name.