Best Chocolate Ever: Part 1
My friends, it’s been one of those weeks. You know, the kind that tests one’s very will to go on in this pig anus of a world. The kind that, simply put, suck.
And whenever I find myself dwelling on such a week, I know there is always one thing that can cheer me up.
That is my fond recollections of chocolates past.
Suddenly, life seems worth living again.
I may be hypoglycemic now, but hey, I worked diligently throughout the years testing many a chocolate treat to become so. So when I tell you what’s good, you best be believin’ it.
While I am a chocolate elitist, I am also going to include some down-home and even downright commercial offerings to round out the list and make you feel less sad about the fact that you will likely never be able to try some of the deliciousness that has graced my digestive tract. You may even want to try to make me jealous by listing delicious chocolately goodness that is out of my reach; it could inspire me to visit otherwise utterly worthless places like, say, Alabama, which I would otherwise avoid like a proctologist. (And yes, I am implying that I would visit a place for the sole purpose of tasting a unrivaled chocolate dessert.)
Chocolate Mousse — When one thinks of decadent chocolate desserts, I think the first thing that springs to mind is this gift from our pals en France. Oddly enough, I never actually had this en France — which, now that I’m thinking about it, makes me wonder what the hell I was thinking. (Oh, yeah, that’s right — pastries every damn day!)
The best chocolate mousse I ever had was at a place on Melrose in L.A. called Caffe Luna, a little Italian joint that closed several years back. That mousse was out of this world, and I’m sad to say I’ve never been able to find or make its equal.
However, there’s a restaurant in Tucson, AZ, called Cafe Poca Cosa that has a Mexican chocolate mousse — which essentially means they’ve added some cinnamon to it. I suspect, though, that their cinnamon might be magical, because that mousse is delicious.
Chocolate Sour Cream Cookies — “What are these?” you may be wondering — to which I reply, “Delectable clouds of chocolate.” Not meringues — thank the lord — these cookies are hands-down the moistest (I know, I hate the word, too, but what can you do?) and best “homemade” chocolate cookies I’ve ever had. Too bad I haven’t had them in years, since the recipe I tried was an epic fail, and even the one I had my baker friend attempt didn’t come close to the original. Plus, I no longer live in BG, OH, where I used to get them. Not to mention the fact that the place that makes them there, The Cookie Jar, rotates their menu monthly, making these tasty treasures available at most a mere 12 times each year.
Hot Chocolate — In high school, nothing could beat Cuppucino’s hot chocolate, which was literally a melted bar of chocolate in milk. You could stir it and see the chocolate swim up from the bottom like happy little sugary fishies just waiting to swim around in my tummy pond. And then, Ike’s took over. And Ike blows.
I was a woman lost at sea — a sea of subpar cocoa alternatives.
When I met Starbucks’ Chantico several years later, I was still guarded. Was I really ready to try to love a hot chocolate again? But with 40 g of sugar in a single 6-oz cup, seriously, how could I not fall for this short, dark and handsome suitor?
And then, God smote me again, and the chain stopped offering it for reasons I still feel are completely insane. I’m the only one who likes it just as it is? Other people are stupid. (Not you, though. I meant other other people… Well, now this is awkward…)
I swore I wouldn’t be hurt by another hot chocolate lovin’ and leavin’ again. I found other things to fill my hot chocolaty void. But then, years later, I entered a Vosges in Chicago. “I’ll just try La Parisienne, just this once,” I said. And there I found myself on the roller coaster of hot, liquidy cocoa love once again.
Cold Chocolate — But let’s not be mistaken here. There’s nothing like a cold, refreshing chocolate drink during a Vegas scorcher. And if you’re not going the ice cream route, there’s only one reasonable choice you can make in this circumstance: Get thee to a Godiva! I’ve gotten a couple of friends hooked on the Dark Chocolate Decadence, and I have no regrets. And neither do they. Well, except that one time T and I strayed from the formula and ordered the Milk Chocolate Decadence. “Where’s the decadence,” the despondent T said to me after her first sip. Naturally, I had to find out the truth for myself, so I took a sip. Where is the decadence, indeed.
Chocolate Cake — Now that I’ve made you all sad that you can’t access at least three of these desserts, I’m going to throw you a bone and tell you where the best chain-restaurant chocolate cakes are at. Perhaps not surprisingly, these cakes far exceed the quality of any meal you might order at either of these places, but neither of these places is one where you’d think, “You know, I should really try the chocolate cake.” In fact, who eats chocolate cake after Chinese food? I’ll tell you who: this guy right here. Why? Because P.F. Chang’s Great Wall of Chocolate is actually pretty amazing. You got to get it heated with the raspberry sauce, though. Don’t be a punk and corrupt it by asking for it some other way, now; I may be far away, but I’m not far enough away to high-five your face.
And after loading up on pasta, who in their right mind thinks, “You know what I need right now? More carbs!” Well, I never said I was in my right mind. I only said I wouldn’t lead you astray when it came to chocolate. And neither will Macaroni Grill’s Homemade Chocolate Cake. Just make sure you get plenty of ganache. That’s where it’s at. And by “it,” I mean your impending — yet delightful — diabetic coma.
Speaking of, at this point in my life, I can only have a couple bites or sips of any of these most beloved treasures of mine, so it’s probably for the best that I’m so far away from so many of them. But if you happen to be near them, indulge on my behalf!
However, since I have to wait to be reunited with my preciouses once again, I’m going to have to make you wait for the many more chocolate wonders of the world I have to tell you about. We’re talking truffles, folks. Gelato, too. Just you wait and see…