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FOOD : Good-Cause Cookies

IT’S HARD TO WALK down a street these days and not encounter a cookie store, usually one of a big chain. But Corporate Cookie, despite its rather imposing name, is a one-of-a-kind operation. The small store is owned by Portals, a nonprofit United Way mental-health agency, and was created by two UCLA students for their masters’ theses.

The employees, all of whom have mental-health disabilities, work at the cookie store for about six months, during which time they gain experience in a variety of jobs--mixing, dropping, baking, manning the counter. About 65% go on to other, higher-paying jobs in the mainstream.

A Corporate Cookie is a yummy cookie--thick and chewy, slightly crunchy on top, moist on the inside, not too sweet. There are 11 flavors, including oatmeal raisin, white chocolate with macadamia, semisweet chocolate chip (with and without nuts), peanut butter, lemon-sugar, banana-nut chocolate chip, plus the chocolate chocolate-chip brownies with nuts. Corporate Cookie even makes deliveries, a unique service to L.A.-area businesses.

Corporate Cookie, 3111 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; (213) 738-6069. Contact: Gordon, manager; 213--738-6069

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