Monday, December 13, 2004

Chocolate Tour

I've been remiss here. I realized it's been a while since I blogged about chocolate, so this should make up for that. My boss, who is also a friend, and I went out for chocolate after work today. We planned this last week and were more than ready for our adventure.

We started at Jacques Torres' new Chocolate Haven factory/store on Hudson Street in Manhattan. The selections were very varied and the chocolate aroma was enticing without being over-powering. The staff was super-friendly, seeming to take pleasure in watching the customers enjoy the ambiance, and the chocolate. There was a counter for seating and some tables and cushioned chairs like a small living room. The factory filled the front of the corner storefront and reminded me of the "I Love Lucy" episode when Lucy and Ethel worked in a chocolate factory, but without the hilarity. I left with a tin of classic hot chocolate mix and a package of four dark chocolate-covered grahams.

To make sure we were ready for our next chocolate stop, we decided to have dinner first. The Chick Inn, a rather unfortunately goofy name for what turned out to be a very nice bar/restaurant that wasn't busy yet at 6 p.m. The fare was comfort food, with breakfast served all day. B, my boss, had eggs and French toast, and I had a mini-burger with bacon and cheddar cheese that came with a mixed greens salad and yummy roast potatoes.

Dessert was a bit farther uptown, on 8th Avenue at the new Chocolate Bar. The young staff were polite but not as friendly as the folks working at Jacques Torres' place, but the snacks more than made up for any lack of ambiance. The store was smaller than that of Chocolate Haven, but there was a table with chairs in the back. We each had a classic hot chocolate that was rich and smooth and snacked on a chocolate cookie that was chocolatey but a bit dry and a dark chocolate/marshmallow/caramel concoction that reminded us of Mallomars (cookies found in the northeast in winter, tho with graham cracker base instead of caramel). The marshmallows were clearly homemade and the confection was one of the most incredible chocolate treats I've ever had. Tonight, calories were not a consideration.