Batter Chatter: Interview with The Cravory, San Diego

Cravory Cookies 1

About the author: Erin Jackson is obsessed with finding the best cheap and tasty eats in San Diego. Keep up with her other food finds on her San Diego Food blog,
The Cravory is one of San Diego's best cookie bakeries. Not only are the cookies exceptionally good from a technical standpoint (soft, chewy, and moist), they are also some of the most inventive. Like red velvet cake? They've got a cookie version. How about blueberry muffins or oreo milkshakes? They've got that too. There are also savory options like rosemary balsamic and pancakes and bacon -- and those are just some of the signature flavors. 
Every month, The Cravory also dreams up 6 "featured cookies of the month", which are typically even more unusual. This month, they've got mint chip ice cream, blackberry bliss, and chocolate birthday cake (among others). The bakery doesn't have a storefront, so you've got two options to get your paws on them. if you live in San Diego, you can pick them up from select retail locations and farmers' markets (read on to find out where) or you can order cookies online and have them shipped anywhere in the continental USA.
Cookies are available by the dozen, or if you're a serious cookie monster, sign up for the Cookie of the Month Club or go for the Ultimate Box Special, a 50-count assortment of all the signature flavors and some of the newest creations. Another option is to design your own cookies by choosing your dough and mix-ins. 
If you've got willpower issues and the thought of dozens of cookies just lying around presents an issue, you can always freeze them. When you're ready for more, pop the cookies in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or let them defrost on the counter. Cookies can remain frozen in their packing for 3 months, but who are we kidding? They won't last that long.
I spoke with Adam Koven, CEO of The Cravory to find out more about his history with baking, his favorite flavors, and what's in store for summer.

Your bio says you've always been a big fan of cookies. Did you bake when you were growing up, and if so, who taught you? A little bit, I cook more than I bake, but growing up, we always did cookies during the holidays. It's definitely in my genes, my great-grandmother was an amazing baker and she did the old European style baking, so I've definitely been involved with baking my whole life.

How old were you the first time you baked something by yourself, and what did you make?
I was probably 11 or 12. We always did the decorated sugar cookies growing up, which is ironic, because we don't do those at all now. 
Besides ordering them online, where can people find your cookies? On Sunday, we're at the La Jolla and Hillcrest farmers' markets, along with Wednesday evenings in Ocean Beach. As far as local businesses in San Diego, we're the featured dessert at Neighborhood, Craft and Commerce, and Leroy's Kitchen and you can get our cookies at The Deli Llama, and Shell gas station in Hillcrest.
How often do you come up with new flavors? Each month, we come out with 6 brand-new flavors each month, our cookies of the month. We carry 18 flavors online, 12 of those are signature flavors, including everything from sweet to savory. Those are our best-sellers from over the past year, and they don't change too often. We've only changed them once or twice because one of the new cookies really blew everyone's socks off, so we made it a signature flavor. But, every month we come up with 6 new flavors for the website, which get featured at the farmers' markets. The farmers markets are also where we test out new flavors. If they do well, they'll become a cookie of the month later on.
Do you work at the farmers' markets yourself? We try to go to the farmers' markets as often as possible. It's either my partner Nate or myself at the Hillcrest market and we have someone that does the Ocean Beach market and La Jolla for us.
Do you see the same people coming to get the same cookies frequently? We definitely have a very strong following at the farmers markets. It's pretty interesting, everyone that works the market has a different fan base, so to speak, but a lot of regulars come by. The really cool thing we do at the market is change our menu every week, so we have the people who come to see what's new and the people who come for their favorites. One of our favorite customers is only in town every third week or so and she absolutely loves the rosemary balsamic, which is one of the flavors we carry every week, but every time she comes, she buys us out. 


What are some of your favorite flavors that you've dreamed up recently?
My personal favorites right now are the chocolate truffle, even though I'm not a dark chocolate guy at all. That one is just unbelievably addictive and decadent and delicious. Our newest cookie, which was a cookie of the month and is now a signature, is the salted caramel cream cookie -- that one is amazing. And one of my all-time favorites is our original s'mores, which is original dough with milk chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers.
Have you ever tried to make a flavor that didn't quite work? My business partner Derrick is our chef, and he's the one who comes up with all of the recipes and actually goes back to the kitchen and makes the cookies, and I'm actually the cook of the group, I make a BBQ sauce from scratch. Two years ago for Memorial Day Weekend, he stole a bottle of my sauce and decided to make a BBQ cookie with the sauce as a base, along with smoked almonds and BBQ chips. He said "Here's what you have for the market, see if you can sell 'em".  I took a bunch of them to the market and needless to say it wasn't a huge hit, even with the BBQ theme of summer, but it was definitely an interesting attempt to think outside the box.
Can you give us a hint of some of the new flavors you're working on for summer?
We have some amazing summer flavors coming out over the next few months, like cotton candy, apple pie, corn bread with candied bacon, and pink lemonade...the next few months are going to be a lot of fun in terms of flavors.


CakeSpy Undercover: Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego

Apple Pie, Extraordinary Desserts
CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post from Cake Gumshoe Laurel, a sweets enthusiast and handbag designer! She has also designed custom CakeSpy totes and wristlets which would make great Christmas presents. Just saying.

San Diego Beer Week started a few days ago. Many of the beer and food tastings are in bars, but one of the places participating in the ten day celebration of craft beer is Extraordinary Desserts. I'm a dessert nerd and my husband is a beer nerd; there was no way we couldn't go. We'll have babysitting later on in the week and plan on taking part in another beer-related event or two, but we figured this would be a good one to go try out for an early evening with our son. I didn't realize that Extraordinary Desserts was also a restaurant, with delicious looking sandwiches, appetizers, and even happy hour specials. We were here for the beer-inspired desserts though, so that's what we ordered. My husband had the warm caramelized apple pie with house-made St. Peter's Cream Stout ice cream, and I had the Coconut Porter beer float. Our 16-month-old son had a scoop of their house-made vanilla ice cream.
Float at Extraordinary Desserts
Some friends and I made beer floats once and they weren't nearly as good as this. (They were kind of gross, actually.) The house-made vanilla ice cream that went in my beer float was absolutely divine. It was rich and creamy, and it paired really well with the beer in the float. I've had the Maui Brewing Company Coconut Porter that they topped the float with, and it's not especially coconutty, so I appreciated that they also topped the float with toasted coconut flakes to bring out the flavor.

As much as I liked my beer float, my husband's apple pie (pictured top) was hands down the star dessert. The pie crust was flaky and buttery, and there was just a hint of cardamom in it that made it really stand out from ordinary pie crust. It was more like an individual pot pie than a slice from a whole pie, and we could definitely taste the caramel flavor in the apples on top. The ice cream was fabulous as well; the cream stout gave the ice cream an almost hazelnutty flavor, which complemented the pie very well. I could easily eat a whole bowl of the ice cream on its own, and it was all I could do to not lick the plate clean when my husband declared himself too stuffed to go on.
Toddlers love Extraordinary Desserts
Our son also loved his bowl of vanilla ice cream, as you can see. He's clearly thinking about how this ice cream is so much more creamy and velvety than any other ice cream he's ever had, and how strong the vanilla bean flavor is, and how the next time he eats plain old ice cream from somewhere other than Extraordinary Desserts he'll just be thinking about how it's not as good as this ice cream. Our son has a very discerning palate.

We lived down the street from the original location on Hillcrest for two years and somehow never managed to make it in, and boy, do I feel dumb about it now. We'll definitely be visiting again in the future to try some of their regular sweets. If you're interested in visiting Extraordinary Desserts to taste their beer week offerings, make sure you go before November 15, when San Diego Beer Week ends. (And if you happen to go, and you see a crazy mom fighting her toddler for the right to lick the bowl clean, stop by my table and say hi.)

Extraordinary Desserts on Urbanspoon
Extraordinary Desserts has two locations in San Diego, 2929 Fifth Avenue on Hillcrest and 1430 Union Street in Little Italy; online at