Now let’s just get a few facts straight before we get started this week: Yes, I’ve been to several bars in my lifetime. Yes, I may still frequent bars from time to time. And yes, I may have even worked at a bar or two during my university days (tough to remember, details somewhat blurry). But I have never, ever, in my wildest dreams, been to….wait for it….a milk bar?! And more to the point, a milk and cookie bar!
This year, instead of arriving home in the early hours on a St Patrick’s Day Saturday night, I’m in bed shortly after little Felix and sound asleep by 10:00. And instead of rolling out of bed somewhere near 11:00 the next day to a greasy breakfast and lazy day on the couch, I find myself up and at ‘em by 8:00 a.m. and out the door by 10:00 with a surprisingly perky husband and a fully loaded infant car seat, on the way to the only bar I’ll see this St. Patty’s Day’s weekend – the milk bar at Elm Hill Cookies. Oh how my life has changed.
We arrive at Elm Hill Cookies shortly after 11:00, and the place isn’t too busy (think greasy breakfast, lazy couch scenario) so we can take our time admiring the stunning décor of the little shop before we even make it to the cookie counter. Every detail has been painstakingly thought out, from the graphic bakery-wording on the walls, to the antique flour and sugar canisters interwoven with more modern elements on the shelves, and a TV monitor showing stunning photos of the various cookie creations on tap.
And then there’s the cookie counter…..oh la la. Twenty-five different kinds of cookies are before our eyes. Several different flavours of shortbread, chocolate sandwich cookies, cinnamon bun cookies, whoopie cookies….lemon, blueberry, orange – so many flavours and textures!
The hubbie and I decide to try the orange whoopie cookie, chocolate mint sandwich, orange shortbread, and lemon sandwich cookie with blueberry filling.
Here’s what we thought: The flavours all matched their namesakes – 10 points. All cookies were unique in texture and flavour (whoopie cookie soft and cake-like, shortbread crisp and crumbly) – 10 points. The quality of the ingredients was apparent (butter, vanilla, fresh orange zest, etc.) – another 10 points. In short, they were all delicious. And at $0.95 per cookie and $1.95 per whoopie, we didn’t have to dig into the diaper fund to cover our bill.
The experience really was enhanced with a good ol’ glass of 2% from the milk bar, served with a cardboard straw.
Janis, the owner, told us the cardboard straw is a thing of the past that she thought would be nice to bring back for environmental reasons and because it’s just a nicer experience than drinking through a plastic straw, and I agree! I can’t recall the last time I ordered a glass of milk ANYWHERE, but it really works at Elm Hill Cookies, and I’m sure it has something to do with that straw. The taste combination also took me back to memories of after-school dates with my mom’s cookie tin and a tall glass of milk….oh happy times.
So turns out our little road trip to Oakville this past post-St. Patty’s day morning was well worth the drive, and although the shop has only been open since December 2010, Janis said they already have regular customers from across the GTA – a sign of great things to come. Janis also told us that one of her visions when designing the concept of the shop was to have mothers come in with their kids after school for a little “milk and cookie” treat to celebrate a special day or event – LOVE IT! Here’s wishing Elm Hill Cookies all the best going forward – CHEERS!
Elm Hill Cookies
250 Kerr street
Oakville, ON L6K 3B2