Chains tend to get overlooked when compiling "Best Of" lists, the logic being that the indie mom-and-pop always beats the corporate. But I pity the fool whobypasses Specialty's while trying to satisfy a chocolate-chip-cookie craving. The cafe and bakeries offer semisweet chocolate chip, milk chocolate chip, and black-and-white (chocolate cookie with white chocolate chunks) varieties, all of which are perfectly chewy on the outside and soft in the middle, and buttery and sweet without overdoing it. Made from scratch and just $1.75 each, the confections are baked fresh throughout the day, so there's a good chance the ones in the case will still be warm. And if it makes you feel any better, the brand started out in 1988 in a tiny space in a high-rise San Francisco office complex, selling food that was made in the owner's home kitchen.—Huan Hsu 1023 Third Ave. and other locations, www.specialtysdirect.com.