So I stopped by Amernick bakery yesterday afternoon to buy some cookies and see what the deal was. I asked what happened to the cookie plate at the restaurant. Ms. Amernick said that the cookie plate is not on the dessert menu at Palena but that she does "take requests" for it. She said that if I (or anybody else) really, really wanted those cookies, I could tell the server that "Ann said it was ok." Armed with my Dispensation and a small box of cookies, I left.
So there's the answer...you have to make a special request and utter the magic words "Ann said it was ok."
I felt silly in the end since because I had just bought plenty of cookies for me and my roommates for a fraction of the price of the cookie plate (no caramels, but that's ok), which may be part of the point of having people go to the bakery for them.
Sorry for sounding so rude...I was offended before because I felt like I was being refused something that other people were getting and I wasn't sure why. I suppose I wasn't insistent enough on the cookies.