- Photo by Marie Tran-McCaslin
Due to a semi-insane decision to chase a new professional goal, I’ve spent the past six months at UCSD full-time for extra classes. My return to the alma mater meant discovering a few new things. For instance, the food options are broader and better. Good coffee is ubiquitous, the dining halls serve sushi and quinoa and tapioca drinks don’t require a drive to Clairemont. There’s even cookie delivery—brain cells stay fueled with freshly baked cookies delivered directly to your study area.
Damn kids! I shake my cane at you. The only food delivered in my day was gross pizza.
Secret Cookie Service is the brainchild of Agent Snickerdoodle, a former UCSD graduate student in chemistry. Snickerdoodle, who wishes to remain incognito, loved chemistry but found himself drawn to the challenge of building his own business using web-based marketing. He started in September 2011, selling small batches of cookies to UCSD students studying late into the night. Go ahead and snark all you want about the nerdy school, but this guy parlayed it into a successful business model.
Not surprisingly, the first finals week proved to be a major success for Snickerdoodle’s one-man operation and led to a growing business through online word-of-mouth. SCS eventually found its way to SDSU; its hubs are now five-mile radiuses around the two campuses. Next stop is the University of San Diego in January.
Orders are placed via phone or text message (727-487-2782 for the UCSD area, 619-356-8502 for SDSU), indicating the order, delivery address and contact number. Per the company’s name, a secret agent shows up with the order in a suit and sunglasses and carrying a briefcase.
Why the getup? Snickerdoodle says the secret-agent theme was almost an afterthought, but it stuck and became the business’ brand.
“People love a fun gimmick, and many love spy movies and James Bond, so the secret-agent thing works well,” he says.
Snickerdoodle’s primary mission is developing cookies for his ever-expanding menu, which started with his mother’s chocolate-chip recipe. The cookie is pillowy-soft and just chewy enough without being mushy. Like chemists who tweak their molecules to change the effects, Snickerdoodle began creating analogs of the original recipe. My favorite was the cookies-and-cream, with crushed Oreos in the cookie-dough base. The mint chocolate chip has chunks of Andes mints, and orange creamsicle features orange zest and white-chocolate chips. Not surprisingly, chocolate varieties sell better, and flavors like oatmeal raisin show up less frequently. The cookies are on the heavier side, so a few go a long way, and milk or coffee is a must.
Operating hours are usually 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.; daytime deliveries require 24 hours notice. Not a student? SCS will deliver outside of La Jolla and the College Area (surcharge is based on distance). Hitting the books is not a requirement for delivery, so enjoy the cookies without the pain of having to study into the wee hours of the night.