Monday, August 27, 2012

Hot Chocolate Brunch

A blend of Belgium chocolate, French bitter - sweet chocolate & French milk chocolate with a hint of salt and an creamy marshmallow on the side.  It was like the mother ship was calling me home.  Heaven. Mindy's Hot Chocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar in Chicago not only has a wide assortment of drinking chocolates, but is actually know for their brunch menu.  Along with my creamy hot chocolate cup of splendor, I had the Veggie Scramble - a tasty combination of fresh seasonal summer squash, eggs and cheese with a side of potatoes and Pullman toast.  My husband loved his Brioche French Toast with seasonal fruit and sausage.  Great food and great vibe.  My new motto in photo below.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Terry's Award Winning Toffee

Next stop on the Chicago tour - Terry's Toffee.  Inspired by his Grandmother McCall's recipe, Terry followed the compliments and requests for more and more toffee and started Terry's Toffee.  Terry added creative flavor combinations to his Grandmother's recipe - cranberry & orange, ginger & wasabi peas and peppermint & pistachio to name a few.  There is a table loaded with samples.  I grazed through all of them.  Chai-cago Spice is my favorite - an amazing combination of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cardamon & pepper dipped in dark chocolate.  Chai-cago Spice is included in the Academy Award mix also featuring the flavors McCall's Classic, Hazelicous and Lemon Paradise, which has been a special treat at the Academy Awards since 2005.  Terry is an inspiration to do what you love.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blood Orange Caramel Dark Chocolate at Vosges

Vosges Haut Chocolat uses the art of chocolate to tell a story through such exotic flavor combinations as bacon & chocolate, blood orange & chocolate and curry, coconut & chocolate.  With chocolate as her medium, owner Katrina Markoff embarks on her artistic creative process in four steps - Fall In Love, Inspiration, Action and Experience. The results of which push the chocolate boundaries. I first tasted the bacon/chocolate combination in a Vosges bar a few years ago.  The combination doesn't resonate with some people, but I was immediately intrigued.  I love the sweet savory combination and smokey bacon flavor.  Their Armitage Street boutique in Chicago's Lincoln Park was a destination while in town and it did not disappoint.  A wonderland of truffles, bars, toffee, mixes and drinking chocolate. I bought the Blood Orange Caramel Bar, a delightful combination of dark chocolate filled with creamy blood orange caramel with hints of hibiscus flowers. Everything from the chocolate aroma and beautiful flavor combinations to the store decor and shopping bags reflect a dreamy journey of chocolate creativity.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Floriole Cafe and Bakery - Chicago

I've been in Chicago exploring the city and sampling the food. I fell in love with Carson's Ribs and Mario's Italian Lemonade, but also found some must visit chocolate locations.  If you love Tartine, then you must stop at Floriole Cafe and Bakery when in Chicago.  It is a relaxed cafe in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and a great place for breakfast or lunch.  One of the owners, Sandra Holl, trained in San Francisco and worked at Tartine.  Not only do they have pastries on par with Tartine, but a menu of sandwiches and salads of local, quality ingredients.  I tried the B.A.D. sandwich, which was G.O.O.D., a wonderful combination of bacon, arugrula, almond date spread and goat cheese on grilled yeasted cornbread.  There are many chocolate delights on the menu.  I took a chocolate croissant and several sea salt caramels to go, the right combination to help fuel my day of exploring Chicago.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kika's Treats at Bi-Rite Market

After another super cute haircut at Revamp Salon, I strolled down Guerrero, made a right on 18th Street and stopped by Bi-Rite Market to check out their chocolate selection.  Bi-Rite Market is located on guilty pleasure highway, near all my favorites - Tartine, Delfina and Bi-Rite Creamery. Among their amazing selection of food products, is a large range of chocolate - Fair Trade, single origin, exotic flavor combinations.  I tried Caramelized Graham Crackers in Pure Dark Chocolate from Kika's Treats, a local San Francisco company.  I loved the crunchy toffee flavor surrounded in dark chocolate.  The crackers are baked from scratch and made with natural local and organic ingredients.  They were voted Best Cookies by SF Weekly 2009.  Next, I want to try Kika's Sea Salt Palm Sugar Caramels.  The staff at Bi-Rite is extremely helpful and knowledgeable.  I do always feel like a guest in their home.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Devoring Chocolate at Craftsman & Wolves

A new must stop on my Mission District culinary path is Craftsman & Wolves, a recently opened contemporary patisserie on Valencia.  Offering well crafted savory and sweet options, I opted for the Chocolate Salted Caramel Brownie.  The perfectly blended classic combination was an excellent gateway to this new wonderland of flavor.  Other chocolate options on the their menu I plan to explore include Valrhona Hot Chocolate with Violet Marshmallow, Cocoa Carrot Muffin and Chocolate Croissant Stack.  I bought my husband the Sable Brenton with Berries and Rose Geranium Cream.  He loved the sensory sensation and counted it as one of his healthy fruits for the day.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

teacake for two

Strolling through Bay Street in Emeryville, I was drawn into teacake bake shop.  Who can resist cupcakes and other assorted baked goods?  I tried the Tuxedo Brownie cookie which included the chocolate trio of Nederland Dutch Cocoa, Chocoa semisweet chocolate and Callebaut white chocolate.  It is a big cookie and I tried only eating half, to save some for later.  I couldn't resist the magnificent chocolate trio and devoured the whole thing while watching the Olympics. But, I think I burned it off while watching men's swimming.  Wow. Those guys are in great shape.  I digress.  They have daily special cupcakes (Friday - Chocolate with Coffee Bean Buttercream) and cookies (Tuesday - milk Chocolate Chunk Pecan).  You can even buy frozen cookie dough starts to impress your friends.  I bought my husband his favorite cookie - Oatmeal Raisin. He loved it.  I think he counted it as a healthy carb. They have four locations in the Bay Area.