Dish List: Stax Cookie Bar
The newest dessert addition to University Town Center and open till midnight, Stax Cookie Bar has all the makings to become the go-to spot for a college student’s late-night sweet tooth. Located next to Cha for Tea and across from Eureka!, the ice cream store settles in nicely as a more high-end contender for Yogurtland and Golden Spoon.
Stax’s headliner is its cookie ice cream sandwich, and there is a tantalizing selection of freshly baked cookies and ice cream to pick and choose from. The store has a setup geared towards efficiency. Upon entering, you are directed to the cookie selection area, which then leads to the ice cream selection area, which in turn leads to the cashier. The walls are decorated with pictures of ice cream cones, ice cream sandwiches and various messages about the establishment. There is also a TV mounted on one wall displaying Instagram and Twitter posts with the hashtag #staxcookiebar.
The cookie selection is extensive, ranging from the standard chocolate chip and white chocolate macadamia nut to the more exotic green tea sesame and maple bacon. Ice cream flavors are plentiful as well, with classic vanilla and chocolate for those seeking a more familiar flavor fix, and black licorice and taro for those in the mood for something more adventurous. Gluten free and vegan options are also available. Beyond ice cream cookie sandwiches, items such as milkshakes, affogato and “smookies,” their form of personal pizookies, are also offered. With all of these options, Stax Cookie Bar is a fairly safe bet to go with a large group.
On my first visit, I opted for a red velvet with white chocolate cookie and a maple bacon cookie sandwiched with pistachio ice cream. It cost $3.75, their set price for any ice cream sandwich.
The cookies had a pleasing texture — chewy and soft, and the pistachio ice cream had a nice color and flavor, but it was not the most luxurious ice cream I have ever had. My friend ordered a sandwich with the M&M cookie and cookies and cream ice cream, which she said was delicious.
The one complaint I have about the sandwich is that the cookies are not warmed up. In my opinion, the extra step of warming up the cookies would give the final product a more gourmet feel that would set it apart from an ice cream sandwich available from the freezer aisle of Trader Joes just around the corner. However, the sandwich as a whole was still a quality and satisfying dessert that I can see myself reordering in the future when the craving arises.
The second time around, I decided to get the “smookie” for an extra 75 cents. It is basically a personal sized pizookie.
A pizookie is a cookie freshly baked, often pressed into a skillet like pan or in this case a cardboard pan, and topped with ice cream. The smookie at Stax also comes with either hot fudge or caramel sauce on top. I ordered my smookie topped with chocolate chip ice cream and hot fudge sauce, which came out to be $4.50. This item had everything the ice cream cookie sandwich had and more.
What the cookie ice cream sandwich lacked, the smookie made up for. My main complaint about the ice cream sandwich was its lack of temperature contrast between the cookies and ice cream. The smookie, on the other hand, had a warm cookie base that contrasted with the cool ice cream in a simply delightful manner, and the warm hot fudge on top added an extra layer of richness. It was also the perfect size for personal consumption.
My friend, who also ordered the smookie, went for the salted caramel ice cream and caramel sauce, and raved about it. I personally see myself ordering this for an extra 75 cents over the ice cream cookie sandwich in the future.
The one downside to ordering the smookie is that it does not qualify for the ice cream sandwich reward program, which awards you with a free ice cream sandwich every ten ice cream sandwich purchases; however, this does make sense since the sandwich and the smookie have different pricings. Might I suggest a smookie reward program?
Overall, Stax Cookie Bar is a fun eatery to visit with friends and satisfy sugar cravings. It’s conveniently located in the UTC right next to campus, is open relatively late and is a good albeit pricier alternative to the existing frozen yogurt establishments in the area.