Everyone has had happy memories surrounding chocolate chip cookies.

Maybe you baked them with your grandma, and ate all the cookie dough while she wasn’t looking.  Maybe you ate a familiar bag of Chips Ahoy as your after-school snack every day.  Maybe you’ve been on a diet and have had to walk past store windows flaunting and taunting you with these disks of happiness.

When I hear “Chocolate Chip Cookies,” the only thing I can think about is my little sister.  The two of us have spent years trying to find the best chocolate chip cookie in New York City, and so far have decided that the most delicious resides on our very own block.  (Coincidence?  I think not.)

So when I was tasked with finding the best of any kind of food, choosing my food was something of a no-brainer–especially because I have never even thought to explore my chocolate chip cookie options in Cambridge.  Tragic and idiotic, I know.

After a little stroll through Harvard Square in the rain, I picked out five chocolate chip cookies:
1. Tates Cookie
2. Nantucket Cookie
3. Starbucks Cookie
4. 24-Hour Market Cookie
5. Crema Cafe Cookie

I then began a series of cookie face-offs to determine which should be my go-to cookie going forward.  In these face-offs, I evaluated each cookie on the basis of texture, smell, chocolate density, visual appeal, and taste.  In the end, however, I only judged how much I liked the cookie based on how good I believed it tasted.

Round 1: Tates vs. Nantucket

For this first round, I tried both of the packaged cookies.  From appearances only, I guessed that the Nantucket cookie would taste better, since it looked more like a stereotypical chocolate chip cookie.  After trying them, however, I found that the Nantucket variety was very artificial tasting, and very unsatisfying.  Meanwhile, the crunchy and salty experience offered by the Tates cookie was surprisingly satisfying.  
Winner: Tates

Round 2: Tates vs. Starbucks

For this next round, I tried the Tates cookie against the very delicious looking Starbucks one.  While I have learned to be skeptical about the taste of Starbucks food in general (usually its appearance is deceiving), the cookie’s authentic look left me optimistic.  After putting a piece of the Starbucks cookie in my mouth, however, I was immediately disappointed (I should’ve known…).  The cookie tasted more like congealed butter than a cookie.  Once again, the Tates cookie triumphed.
Winner: Tates

Round 3: Tates vs. 24-Hour Market

I’m going to be honest, I had very high hopes for the Market variety.  This cookie looked and felt like one that could have been made by one of my far-more domestic blockmates in our kitchen.  After biting into it, however, I was immediately taken aback by how hard it was.  Unlike the Tates cookie which is designed to be crunchy, this cookie was simply hard in an unpleasant way–and the bland taste of the cookie base did not make it any better.  
Winner: Tates

Round 4: Tates vs. Crema Cafe

For this final round, I was almost certain that Tates would come to its end.  The Crema Cafe cookie was undeniably beautiful.  With its cratered-appearance and its hint-of-coffee smell, I would’ve bet money that it have a taste and feel that perfectly combined sweet and salty and soft.  I was wrong.  This cookie tasted sweet–like some sort of bad combination of honey and molasses–but had a bitter aftertaste.  Would not recommend.  So, once again, Tates came out on top.

Moral of the story: Tates Cookies are the best you are going to find in Harvard Square–and they aren’t even made here.