Lead banana pudding correspondent Nicki Camberg takes us to Magnolia’s Los Angeles location amidst these turbulent times.
It’s been 15 days since I left New York, and on every one of those days, I’ve thought of little else than Magnolia Bakery’s legendary banana pudding. I was going at least once a week back at school, and I have had feelings of withdrawal without it. After completing my two weeks of isolation when getting back to LA (my hometown), I knew where I had to go — nay, where I was being called to go. My mother and I suited up in our finest jeans, the firm fabric feeling strange after a fortnight of pajamas, and embarked on the 45-minute trek to West Hollywood. We entered the glorious space, practicing social distance and ready to support local businesses.
I wanted to cry. The smell was the same here as it was in NYC, the rich beautiful scent flavors of heaven’s choice bakery. The space was at least three times bigger than the NYC locations, but the smell was just as strong. The display cases were the same, as were the deserts, branding, and open kitchen display. I wanted to not only buy all the pudding but buy the store. However, I (or really, my mother) decided to exercise restraint and only got three large banana puddings, in addition to various cupcakes.
Over this break, fellow Bwoggers have been taunting me. They have sent photos of their homemade banana puddings, laughing at my misery and jealousy. But who is laughing now?? I have the real pudding, everyone else only has mere imitations.
We got back in the car, sanitized our hands, and it was time. I looked upon the 16-ounce container of the godly elixir, and took off the lid. I heard an angelic choir as my spoon descended upon the fluffy goop. And in that first bite? I transcended reality; no longer existing on the mortal plains.
It’s been 24 hours, and I’m now ready to make my final thoughts:
- The LA pudding is somehow more yellow than the NYC pudding, but perhaps my memory of Magnolia’s has just been sepia-tinted in my heartbreak of loss.
- My mother didn’t like it, which shocked, confused, and disappointed me, until I realized that it means that there is more for me.
- I felt like the LA version was somehow sweeter? The flavor palette was the same, as was the texture, but my teeth could feel the tinge of concentrated sugar. I’m not sure how I feel about this difference, only further field testing can determine the true superior.
- The identical packaging was a nice touch, the material of the carton felt the same which warmed my heart.
- The spoons provided by the NYC location are superior to here; the 69th street location have these lovely plastic spoons that have a weight and a texture to them and a satisfying width to the spoon’s face, while the ones in LA felt cheap and basic. They were the narrow light plastic ones that they have for the soft serve at Costco or an elementary school birthday party.
- Both puddings coat the tongue in such a satisfying manner, but it seems that the taste of the LA one lasts longer than the NYC pudding.
- I want more pudding.
*Note: The author practiced appropriate coronavirus prevention techniques in obtaining this pudding.
Image of the top of the food pyramid from Bwog Archives.