How about some cookies to go with that great Paso Robles wine you’re tasting? Red Moose Cookies in Cambria, just out to the coast from Paso Robles’s wineries on Highway 46, has some of the best cookies you’re likely to find. Once you find their bakery, that is. It’s away from the tourist district of Cambria, but worth the search.
I first encountered Red Moose cookies at Cambria’s Annual Pinedorado parade. This wonderful home-grown parade featured floats and bands from around San Luis Obispo County, many of whom threw out candy or gave out flags, along the way. Reversing the trend, the folks from Red Moose Cookies sat up on the road verge overlooking Main Street and threw plastic-wrapped cookies down to the parade participants, giving them a sweet treat to munch along the way.
But where is Red Moose Cookies located? You see signs on street corners around Cambria’s East Village, but the Red Moose is an elusive beast. However, if you follow Burton Drive away from Main Street, across the Santa Rosa Creek bridge, and a few hundred yards up the hill, you’ll see a road leading down to your left, with a sign for Red Moose Cookies. Follow it past hardware stores, light industrial, and storage facilities, almost to the end of the road, and then turn left down into a lane full of warehouses and you’ll arrive at their bakery. There is nothing cute or fancy about, but this unpretentious facility bakes some amazingly good cookies. So good, in fact, that they ship them all over the U.S. and to as far away as Korea!
Using only the freshest ingredients, Roger Wall is always baking up a storm, whether it’s Nutless Wonders with white and dark chocolate chips, or fudge brownies, or their Pumpkin Moose Pies, which have to qualify as some of the most decadent cookies you will encounter. Moose Pies come in bags of two, sold for $8. (The rest of their cookies sell for $6 a bag, but trust me, Moose Pies more than make up for the difference in price!) These toothsome treats are sandwich cookies with two huge and fluffy pumpkin cookies surrounding an inch-thick layer of the most heavenly buttercream you’re likely to taste! I was instantly in love, and don’t want to even think about how many calories I was consuming. I rationalized by eating my cookie in two sittings, though it was hard to restrain myself from gobbling it up all at once!
Talking to Roger, I found out that Red Moose has been around for two years, taking over the facilities of a bakery that operated out of the same location for several years. In that short amount of time, they have built up a loyal following solely by word-of-mouth. They have no web site, although they do have email and do mail order. As a matter of fact, he’s not sure how they’ll handle it if their fan base continues to expand. They’re already shipping cookies to distant places, and are quite busy with their family business. He grew up in Cambria, as did I, and as we chatted, I found out that I knew his family and older brothers! Small towns are great in that sometimes, you find yourself connecting with your roots in unexpected ways.
So next time you’re checking out those wineries around Paso, head over to the coast, shop at a few antique or specialty stores (I love handblown glass, and the East Village has some amazing glassworkers selling there). Have lunch at one of Cambria’s great restaurants, and look up Red Moose Cookies.
Here are a few of their specialties:
Pumpkin Moose Pies: a sandwich of two soft pumpkin cookies with a brown butter, vanilla bean cream filling
Cinnfull: oatmeal with cinnamon chips, toffee chips, and walnuts
Nutless Wonders: double chocolate, with white and dark chocolate chips. No walnuts.
Lemon Moose: lemgar cookie made with real lemon
Caramel Walnut fudge brownies: with Rolos and walnuts, 3 per bag
Naughty Rods: 8-inch pretzel dipped in homemade cramel, rolling in roasted, salted nuts, finished with amaretto chocolate and white chocolate drizzle.
Red Moose Cookie Company
2531 Village Lane Suites C&D
Cambria, CA 93428