FoCo Joe at Home: Susiecakes

By Joseph Kind, The Dartmouth Staff | 5/19/15 6:58am

It was a pleasant Saturday afternoon in San Francisco’s Marina district. The sun was out, as were the usual crowds of young families and trendy twenty-somethings. I am all too familiar with Chestnut Street and its array of clothing stores and restaurants, its always-busy Apple store and the seemingly immortal Marina movie theater. Susiecakes, however, is special — I have never once set foot in the store, despite having frequently passed its light blue walls and glass windows full of frostings from all over the rainbow. I have avoided this wonderland for far too long, and when the family for whom I was housesitting last weekend insisted I write about their whoopie pie for this column, I finally had the excuse I needed.

Thus, I planned to head to Susiecakes after grabbing lunch at In-N-Out. I travelled with my very anxious younger sister, who had her last-ever prom that night. I was finally able to persuade her to let me come along for the photo shoot, but it took a lot of convincing. Back to the sweets — what I am about to say is a very broad generalization, but Susiecakes is the type of establishment that is very popular with girls, especially young girls who like treats. The colors, the writing on the walls and the strong smell of buttercream in the air — girls just love it. Susiecakes is also impressive because it is one of the few dessert shops, not just on Chestnut Street but across San Francisco, that have remained open in spite of the city’s strong trend toward healthier eating. I have seen many wonderful dessert options — Susiecakes’s neighbors among them — fizzle out. Susiecakes certainly knows what it is doing.

I had to take a bite of the whoopie pie as soon as I bought it. I just couldn’t wait to take a more appropriate photograph for my Instagram account, @focojoe. Whoopie pies have never been my go-to dessert – I think I have yet to eat an entire FoCo whoopie pie on my own. But I knew as soon as I laid eyes on this whoopie pie that all my expectations were about to be shattered.

The two outer chocolate chip cookies were of the ideal consistency — soft enough to be deliciously chewy yet firm enough to not crumble in the face of big bites. And the vanilla-buttercream filling — wow. The vanilla flavor was on fleek, like my eyebrows. I was initially worried the frosting would overwhelm me, but I think that must have just been the buttercream air infecting my brain’s gustatory region. Additionally, volume for these kinds of treats is important to me -- I cannot eat a cream cheese bagel when the ratios are out of proportion – and Susiecakes did not disappoint. Finally, I think what really gets me about a dessert like this is just how dangerous it is. This might sound absurd coming from me and my past FoCo creations, but I feel uncomfortable eating something so bad for me all by myself. My prom-bound sister, predictably, refused to indulge. But now that more and more friends of mine from other colleges are finally coming home, even if only for a short period of time, that problem is likely to disappear.

Joseph Kind, The Dartmouth Staff