On Day One -- surely this occasion merits capitals -- there was no way around the queue that wrapped around the corner shop positioned at the westernmost edge of downtown's glitzy CityCenterDC development. As morning stretched into afternoon, the line only grew longer.
"Is this the line for Milk?" one not-quite-with-it passerby asked. Others approached the rapidly multiplying crowd with slack-jawed curiosity -- and kept on walking.
A stoic, steely-eyed (or at least steely-sunglassed) special police officer kept a watchful eye on the polite, jovial and, yes, millennial-heavy crowd. But he was, presumably, getting paid to be there. Me, too, sir! Me, too!
Some of my fellow line-waiters, not so much. A group of three women who sheepishly declined to give their names and occupations said they'd been urged on the excursion by one of their co-workers who had visited Milk Bar in New York. She'd already bailed. "I don't feel silly," one of her colleagues said. "It's a light Friday," added another. "Why not see what's happening?" In a matter of minutes, she was the only one left standing, charged with bringing back a dozen cookies and then some to her office across the street.
To keep the natives from getting too restless, staff with samples of cereal milk soft serve ice cream worked the line, which had the buzz of fame bordering on celebrity in a social-media-happy world. There were selfie sticks, talk of live-tweeting and the clicking of the shutter sound-effect from cellphone cameras.
Of course, the sweets -- cookies, cake truffles, crack pie, shakes, parfaits -- were the endgame, the reason for all this, right? RIGHT? Maybe?
At least that's what I told myself. An hour older than when I arrived, I broke free, a Thanksgiving croissant (turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce) and a three-pack of birthday cake truffles among my haul.
I bit into my foil-wrapped bagel bomb (everything dough, bacon-scallion cream cheese) and -- OW. An eruption of lava-like filling.
Too hot, too fast.
That pretty much sums it all up.
Guess we're not going to play this one cool, eh, D.C.?
Milk Bar, 1090 I St. NW. Open 7 a.m. to midnight daily. milkbarstore.com.