My expectations were immediately diminished when I obeyed Google Maps and looked to my right after turning onto 85th St. I guess I’ve been spoiled by Dolce, because as I looked for a cute little shop advertising baked goods, my eyes fell on a dingy strip mall. Between
the signs for two nondescript stores was a large brownish oval that read “Garza’s Goodies” in Times New Roman. Having been planning on trying a new bakery, this was not what I was hoping to see.
After getting out of my car and looking inside the store itself, my heart sank even further: a dirty tiled floor upon which sat a glass counter and two tables, literally two, to eat at. This, plus the fact that no one else was there, didn’t really impress me in terms of business.
Upon entering Garza’s Goodies, a small man in a Santa hat sitting in a wheelchair cheerfully welcomed us. This along with the multitude of Christmas decorations around the shop (including a large tree with colorful lights) did something to improve my mood. I looked with restored hope into the glass case, which contained a section for baked goods and a section for chocolates.
My brother had asked me to bring him a chocolate chip cookie, which sounded good to me too, so I ordered two of the rather large, flattish blobs in the left-hand section of the glass case. The Santa hat man told me they contained white, milk and dark chocolate chips.
I then asked him which chocolates he recommended, and he happily walked me through their top three customer favorites. $8.13 later I was holding a bag containing two cookies and three pieces of chocolate. The two small tables didn’t exactly entice me to sit down and the store itself wasn’t particularly appetizing, so I headed back out to my car to eat.
The first chocolate I put in my mouth was strongly chocolatey at first, and then it turned spicy. The kick provided an interesting twist but I’m not really looking for spiciness in something I expected to be sweet.
Second, I tried one the man described as “chai.” It was dark chocolate-covered milk chocolate, and there was definitely a hint of something I assume was chai. This was my least favorite of the three; I thought the chocolate itself was average and the aftertaste was something I wouldn’t recommend putting yourself through.
However, both of these were somewhat redeemed by the third and final candy. It was white chocolate, shaped and colored like a pumpkin, with pumpkin-spiced caramel in the middle. Some people might say pumpkin season is over; I say any day below 40 degrees is pumpkin weather. This one was delicious and the only thing I tried that I would actually go back for.
Then, since it’s the holiday season and Christmas is not Christmas without cookies, I pulled one of the triple-chocolate-chip cookies out of the bag and tried to sink my teeth in. Instead, it was so hard that a large chunk broke off and I was left sitting with part of a cookie in my hand and part of it hanging out of my mouth, with crumbs falling all over my car.
I forced that rock-like piece down my throat and ended up only eating half the cookie. While the three kinds of chocolate chips were a nice touch, the dough was mediocre and a lot harder than it looked. It was so dense and thick it was nearly impossible to eat.
I don’t question the authenticity or effort behind the products of Garza’s Goodies, since behind the counter several workers were plainly visible, working at the creation of the treats that would end up in the glass case at the front. The service was excellent and while the inside of the store did nothing to heighten my appetite, the Christmas decorations were a nice touch.
The “goodies” themselves, at least the ones that I purchased (for a reasonable price I appreciate), weren’t inedible, but they weren’t anything special either. Overall, it was not worth a 16-minute drive through Waldo for some decent chocolates and a cookie I could make better myself without having to drive anywhere.
I found Garza’s Goodies to be nothing to go out of your way for, but if you happen to be driving by and have a sudden craving for something sweet, stop on in. Don’t bother with their cookies, but make sure to order that little white-chocolate-caramel pumpkin. With that, you will not be disappointed.