It's rare for a shuttered restaurant to ever reopen, so when Cafe Chiarini was resurrected under the new name Crave by one of its former owners, we actually stood in awe upon our first visit, gawking through the glass partition, only half-believing the chocolate chip cookies we thought we'd never see again were real and in front of us.
Such is the power of a Crave cookie.
While one of the county's best chocolate chip cookies is back in action, unfortunately, it's bested by its glorious former self. And that's why it isn't higher on this list.
Back when Chiarini was on Third Street in SanTana, Judy Fleenor's kitchen churned out cookies that were larger in diameter than they are now, but that's not simply a knock on portion size. When baked in a larger size, the buttery, chocolate-packed discs would take on a crisp outer ring, while, because of the longer width, the center was so thin that it would nearly fall out of the cookie if you held it off the plate. That's a perfect balance for someone who loves Chips Ahoy AND Chewy Chips Ahoy.
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Crave's cookie on La Cuatro is thicker and not as wide as its predecessor. What you get is the same "crust," but the middle is as thick as the outside ring, which provides for a chewier texture and a cookie structurally sound enough to hold its own weight.
It may not be the original, but it's a close second. And, where, once upon a time an Orange County existed without these delectable goodies, we're just happy take what we can get.
The list: 61. Lime Curd At Playground 62. Every Damn Thing at Mochi Cream 63. Most Things at Devilicious Donuts 64. Robiola Bosina at Provisions Market 65. Bite-Sized Stinky Tofu at Tofu King 66. Tacos Dorados at Tortas Ahogadas Los Primos 67. Tlacoyo at El Rincon Chilango 68. Whole Pig Roast at Haven Gastropub 69. Chingaderas at Smoqued BBQ 70. The Continuous Ramen Chronicles at The Playground 71. Shrimp & Grits at Slapfish 72. Bacon Cotton Candy at Biggy's Meat Market 73. Urban 3b at Urban Seoul 74. Waffles & Chicken from The Slummin' Gourmet & Waffles de Liege 75. Ahi Tuna Tartar at Nieuport 17 76. Chicken Wings at Hashigo Korean Kitchen 77. Brussels Sprouts Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza 78. Breakfast Sausage Hash at Thasos Greek Island Grille 79. Chocolate Doughnut with Jacobsen Sea Salt at Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee 80. Loco Moco Dog at Dogzilla 81. Fruit Tart at Le Croissant Dore 82. Daing Na Bangus (Marinated Milkfish) Silog Breakfast at Chowking 83. Strawberry Basil Lemonade at Mick's Karma Bar 84. Lemongrass Chicken Salad at Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop 85. Tofu Soup at Tasty Thai 86. Take-Out Dim Sum at Capital B.B.Q. and Dim Sum Express 87. Hodo Gwaja at Cocohodo 88. Popcorn Chicken Salad at Guppy House 89. Fried Okra at Memphis Soul Cafe & Bar 90. Salted Egg With Bitter Melon & Scrambled Egg at Tasty Noodle House 91. Boysenberry Lemonade from Bautista Creek Local Produce at SOCO Farmers' Market 92. Scallop Carpaccio with Curry Oil and Yuzu Vinaigrette from Cafe Hiro 93. White Board Specials at Taco Adobe 94. Coney Dog at LinX 95. Halal Pizzas from San Giovanni Pizzas 96. Clayuda at El Fortín 97. Lunch Buffet at Dosa Express 98. The Meats at Darya in Orange 99. Panocha at Taquería Zamora 100. Bean-and-Cheese Burrito from Del Taco