Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Apr 14, 2009 07:16 PM

Anthony's Cookies

I stopped by last Friday after work. The space is still pretty spartan, but is more than filled with Anthony's outsized personality. I picked up a dozen (bumped to a baker's dozen, a bit under $10) cookies, half 'cookies & cream' and half toffee chip. I don't have much of a sweet tooth (these were ostensibly for my SO), but I couldn't stop eating these. Both flavors were remarkably complex, and not at all cloying or heavy-handed with the butter.

I spotted Giusto's flour bags in back, but didn't think to ask about the organic-ness of the other ingredients. Honestly, with cookies these good I'm not entirely concerned.

Located between 25th and 26th on Valencia; not a lot of foot traffic, and easy to miss. I hope they do well.

Anthony's Cookies
1417 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Dropped by this AM to counter the tax day blues... OMG these cookies are great.

    I've driven down this stretch of Valencia looking for the storefront a few times since hearing about this place here and on some other Mission blogs and I missed it every time. Finally I found it on foot. Its a few doors down from Clooney's. And, yes, the decor is spartan. Essentially nothing there but Anthony, accompanied by Derek, perfecting their cookie magic. It sure seems like there is nothing to distract from this quest. No retail signage outside or in. No decor. Empty retail lobby with a 8.5x11 print out of the cookie menu. Cash only. Mostly empty looking kitchen with ovens, racks, a table and not much else. And there they were, intently pouring over their work.

    Anthony greets me with a warm hello and a hand shake. We talk and he tells me he's been in the business for 10 years, but ths is his first experience with retail. He's wondering how I heard, what I heard... so I mention Chow Hound and the blogs and he's keenly interested, taking it in, but you can tell he's puzzled as to why there are already lines out the door on the weekends. He also want to know, the second I've finished by first cookie, what I like about it.

    Well, its fresh from the oven. Check. It's got a nice crunchy crust that gives way to a soft, moist inside. Check. The flavors are, like, WOW. Anthony nods his head and goes, yeah!

    So now I'm half way through the dozen tax-relief-pills and I'll add that, yes, the toffee crunch is great. The whole wheat walnut oatmeal could not possible be whole wheat, can it? Really? The balance between crunchy and soft and moist is just as good now that they've cooled as it was fresh from the oven.

    They are only cookies. They're not even fussy artistically formed, ornate cookies. These are straight-up cookies like you wish you could bake. This is not the 2nd coming. But these are f-ing great cookies.

    Release the hounds!!!!

    15 Replies
    1. re: BernalKC

      I went by today as well with my daughter. Appreciated that the cookies were not too large so we could try a couple kinds. Nice people as well. Wanted to know where we had heard about the store.

      1. re: BernalKC

        I'm not sure, given that description, whether I'm curious to try them or not. Cookies are not hard to make. I've been making cookies since I was ten. How good a cookie is depends more on finding a recipe that suits your tastes and buying decent ingredients than any exceptional skill. So when I buy a cookie, it had better be *better* or fancier than I can make.

        I can't remember the last time I bought "straight-up" cookie that I thought was even as good as one I would make -- Bakesale Betty's impresses me not at all. So I'm curious: are these cookies really "f-ing great" or are they just great for people who don't know how to bake?

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          my opinion - yes, they are like homemade cookies. that's it.
          in my home we usually have homemade choc chip cookies that we freeze then heat up.

          still nice to have a place like anthony's that have dif. kinds of cokies, or if we are behind on filling the freezer stash.

          1. re: rln

            What is that makes a cookie like homemade, anyway? Is it just a size and appearance thing? When most of us make cookies at home, they tend to come out smaller and more irregularly-shaped than their store-brought counterparts.

            Anthony's cookies are like that, but the opposite would be something like Teacake in Emeryville, which is just as much about how they look in the display case (or the gift box) as about taste - although to be fair, those are good cookies too.

            1. re: Agent 510

              My take on the homemade vs. non-homemade is that homemade-like are subtler and not overpowering, balanced...although I haven't been to Anthony's but they're on the list now. My reference is Bakesale Betty's.

              Re: balanced, there's been a tendency towards American pastries and cookies being rich or very in you need coffee or tea to wash it down. Don't know who started it but Mrs.Field's certainly had that going on. Cakes and other desserts I can see although not my style, cookies however are simple things and should stay in that range.

              1. re: ML8000

                You don't bake, do you?

                Mrs. Fields is very much what I would call a homemade cookie, although a very rich one. To me, the difference is not so much in the recipe (which is what you're talking about), but the way the cookie is made. A homemade cookie is made without special equipment. You can (and I have) make cookies completely by hand. It's a very simple process that involves three steps: creaming together the sugar and shortening/butter (it's labor saving but not required to use a powered mixer), blending in the egg and then the dry ingredients, and then scooping/spooning/dropping them onto a cookie sheet.

                Basically, now that I've been forced to articulate the difference, I think of all "drop" cookies as "homemade" cookies.

                Although almost any cookie can be made by a home cook with a little skill and tools like a cookie press, I think of bakery cookies as cookies that have multiple steps, some of which require special equipment (molds, cutters, etc.). Cookies with fillings, multiple layers, special shapes, etc. Even cookies that need to be rolled out and cut rather than dropped might qualify.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  My take "These are straight-up cookies like you wish you could bake." Sounds like you are able to bake cookies like you wish you could. So you will not be impressed. Tant pis.

                  Anthony's are similar to Bakesale Betty's. They are smaller, a bit less rich, with more varieties. But they are simple drop cookies whose appeal comes their quality ingredients, simplicity, freshness, and the difference that a commercial kitchen's quality ovens and controlled process can make. That is all I want in a cookie. YMMV.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Mrs. Field's has too much junk in them. They have a heavy after taste and finish, like too much egg or vanilla...or just chemicals from the "frozen dough technology".

                    1. re: ML8000

                      You can argue that you don't like the ingredients, but a homemade cookie can certainly have a lot of egg and/or vanilla. BTW, I don't know how Mrs. Fields cookies are made now, but in the beginning they were mixed fresh on the premises (although the ingredients were premeasured to preserve the "secret recipe").

                      As I said, whether a cookie is homemade depends, as the word "homemade" suggests, on the way they're *made* not what they're made out of.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        The word "homemade" seems to suggest that whether a cookie is homemade depends on *where* it is made (i.e., on premises or not), rather than the way it is made or what it is made out of. The word homemade can carry different connotations to different people. To some, those connotations are process-oriented, to others they are ingredient-oriented. At least, seems that way from the previous posts.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          To me homemade cookies mean taste, texture, etc., i.e., balanced and not overly sweet, heavy or overpowering not how how they're made. You can of course get technical as in "homemade style" etc.

                          To me Mrs. Field's are not balanced and of course they're not really homemade but perhaps "homemade style". The gooey nature and coming right out of the oven masked a lot of things so it doesn't really matter to me.

                          1. re: ML8000

                            You seem to be equating a "homemade" cookie with a better cookie. There are plenty of bad cookies that are made at home -- there are hundreds of recipes for chocolate chip cookies out there, and some of them would fit you description of well-balanced, etc. and many of them wouldn't. In fact, generally, being well-balanced is a characteristic of something that is made by a trained/professional cook, not a home cook.

                            And as I've said, taste and texture are primarily a function of the recipe -- the proportions of the ingredients and the quality of the ingredients, and are not correlated with whether they can be made by home cooks (ok, maybe texture is, a little).

                            A "home-style" cookie is one that could be easily made by someone at home. The taste and to some degree the texture are irrelevant.

                            1. re: ML8000

                              Mrs. Field's were at one time hand made, and it was their decadent flavor and the fact that you could buy them fresh out of the oven that was the appeal once upon a time. It was a "home baked style that was far more rich than any results you could get from a tollhouse cookie recipe.

                              Anthony's are similar to the recipes amateur bakers would play with from the back of a chips bag, or from a Joy of Cooking recipe. Soft and chewy, and yes it does benefit from an industrial oven but taste wise, these are really basic, although maybe a tad too sweet. It's not trying to be the cookie sold at Tartine. This is the cookie equivalent of buying a cupcake, and getting something very home baked. You know it's a no thrills recipe, and that's part of the appeal for some, and part of why others find it a lame trend.

                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                  The description was very accurate, and aside from the banana wheat variation, you're right to conclude they're unlikely to impress you. If you're in the area and feel like a homebake cookie, they're pretty good. It's not a destination cookie, or a stand in line cookie.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Don't know if you've had a chance to try them since your original post, but since this thread's been bumped up, I figured I'd add my two cents.

                    I think the cookies are top-notch homestyle cookies - they have the burnished golden color, chewiness and complex, well-developed toffee/caramel flavors that I've only been able to achieve at home by refrigerating the dough for at least 48 hours before baking ( ). So yes, these are cookies you can make yourself, but they'll take some planning ahead.

                3. Tried these a couple weeks ago at a gallery opening next door to Anthony's. Thought the chocolate chip cookies were outstanding-- crisp outside, warm and soft inside, with warm chocolate chips and just the right sweetness. Banana cookies were not quite as successful-- a little too bready for me, with not the contrast of textures of the chocolate chip cookies.

                  I was impressed by the cookies and am eager to return.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bernalman

                    We had a mixed dozen this weekend. Very good, straightforward cookies. By that I mean there was no equivelent of the "maple bacon donut" among the dozen we tried. Great chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal varieties. Really enjoyed them.

                    1. re: Calvinist

                      The banana or wheat oatmeal might count for their maple bacon donut.... I almost wanted them to have something a little more one of a kind, but nope, just standard cookies. Chewy, small, good ingredients, well made cookies. They taste "homemade" rather then finessed with technique, or trying to be much more then just fresh baked cookie. As long as people don't go expecting anything more, they'll do really well.

                      My biggest criticism is I don't like when I can't taste individual ingredients, like a chip or a nut, inside a cookie. It was all the same bite to bite. Also, it's great they're two personable guys but it didn't feel like the business was entirely open, and it would be great if they posted what types from their menu were currently available.

                  2. Anyone have any idea about the hours?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Agent 510

                      Opens at 10am, I think its Teusday to Sunday, not sure when they close. He's not officially open until a week from Saturday (I think). There are plans for a few tables with coffee, odwalla... The current spartan look is because he's not really open. So he is a bit taken aback by the instant demand. As I told him, his cookies sell themselves. I had to go back for another dozen, but this time my son got to them before me and demolished them. The cookies & cream and cinnamon sugar (snickerdoodles) were the hits this time.

                      1. re: BernalKC

                        Love these cookies! Anthony says he is working on a vegan recipe for a banana nut cookie, interested in seeing how that turns out!

                          1. re: sugartoof

                            Sad they didn't have any banana cookies ready so couldn't try it. Tried choc chip variations, toffee, and cinammon sugar. Really liked the toffee chip. Texture is great-- a little crisp on outside, then chewy good on inside.

                            There was a line today-- about 15 deep. People seemed happy to wait.

                      2. So today was the grand opening. Lines all day, mostly around the corner. Finally my son and I figured there would be a lull around dinner time so we get there just before 7:00 and -- no lines. The selection was limited but what they had were already favorites of ours: cookies & cream, snicker doodle, toffee, and oatmeal chocolate something... Tthey sure looked like an exhausted but happy crew.

                        1. I've read good things about Anthony's Cookies. I went the day after the Grand Opening. It's painted pink, no sign outside yet, It's next to Receivers on Valencia between 26 & 27th. Close to 24th Street Bart.

                          Line was long, about 10 people in front of me. Everyone has to order minimum 1/2 dozen it seems. I don't think they are sold individually.

                          6 cookies $5
                          12 = $9.25
                          18 = $13
                          24 - $17

                          I got there after 4pm so not much selections were left.

                          NO Samples were Given!

                          cookies & cream
                          cinnamon sugar
                          double chocolate chip
                          whole wheat oatmeal raisin
                          toffee chip
                          banana walnut

                          I wanted walnut chocolate chip - sold out

                          I took a bite of each and did like that they were warm and a bit crispy on the outside, just ok for me. Not something I'll go out of my way again.

                          No public bathrooms that I could see.

                          CASH ONLY.

                          M-F 10-7
                          Sat 11-8
                          Sun 11-5

                          Some pics linked below.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: hhc

                            I have bought cookies individually. I don;t know if that is the norm though.

                            1. re: absc

                              Cookies are 85 cents for one. It is a storefront rather than a cafe, and it's between 25th and 26th.

                              Anthony is as sweet as his cookies. I'm thrilled to have him in the neighborhood, a good contrast to the $2 muffins and often lackluster service at Mission Pie.

                              I got six. The classic chocolate chip, toffee chip, and oatmeal raisin were my favorites, although I'd buy cinnamon just for the aroma. Banana walnut is more like a muffin--round and puffy.

                              This is exactly what I want in a chocolate chip cookie. Half of them were warm. They're not the size of Frisbees. Chewy and slightly crisp.

                              In a city where you can drop quite a bit of cash on lackluster desserts, these are the perfect dinner party treat, preferably with vanilla ice cream. Thumbs up.