I’ve had a major sweet tooth lately. I started to feel like I wasn’t taking advantage of all of the wonderful bakeries/sweet shops in my area. All that has now changed. I am averaging about one major chocolate/sweets excursion per week. Here are my discoveries:
Today I stopped by Raindrop Chocolate while I was running errands. This shop, located in a strip mall just down the street from me, has always intrigued me. I have heard that they make amazing gelato, but it’s very rare that I’m in the mood for ice cream-y concoctions. I decided to stop in this afternoon and see what else they had to offer besides the gelato. They had a very small selection of baked goods (2 things: some type of cake and amaretto cupcakes), around 8 gelato flavors (including unusual picks such as Blood Orange Chocolate and Wine with Raisins), a wide selection of truffle flavors, and several other chocolate treats. I went with 2 varieties of truffles: Sweet Curry and Dark Chocolate Caramel with Grey Sea Salt. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the Sweet Curry truffle, as I ate it before I was out of the parking lot. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it. It’s exactly as it sounds- Dark chocolate shell with a creamy chocolate interior that is spiced with curry powder. A sprinkle of the bright yellow stuff over the top made for a nice presentation. The Dark Chocolate Caramel one was my favorite, though. I love salted sweet things. The salt heightened the flavors of the sweet caramel- this particular version was standout because they used the large crystals of sea salt. It looked great and tasted the same.
Another place I’ve been visiting recently is The Chocolate Bar, a cutesy place in Montrose. They are rumored to have awesome gelato as well, but my eyes were on the baked goods the first time I went. I sampled several gelato flavors, and was really impressed with all of them. I particularly liked the Coffee Toffee Time. I decided to go with a slice of Uncle Darryl’s cake, and it was an excellent decision. I am usually wary of any kind of cake that’s not made by my mom. I find that most store bought cakes (even from bakeries) are too dry and the icing is usually tooth-achingly sweet, so it was pretty hard for me to plunk down $10 for a slice of the stuff. This specimen was perfect- the cake was suitably moist, and the icing was actually a dark chocolate ganache, and the whole thing was sprinkled with toffee bits. This thing was HUGE. I ate it for 3-4 days, which is pretty impressive for me. That should give some sort of indication of how big these slices are (well that, and the price). I’ve been back since then for a couple of scoops of gelato. It’s a cool little place. The best part is that it’s open late (even on Sundays), so it’s there whenever I need it.
I have a thing for cupcakes. I don’t even know that I like them that much, but I tend to crave them frequently. I think it’s partially the look of them, and partially the fact that they are a cheap, portioned way to satisfy my baked good cravings. The closest cupcake shop, Crave Cupcakes, is a boutique bakery that specializes solely in cupcakes. I believe it’s based on the famous LA cupcake outlet, Sprinkles (and it looks like we’re getting one of those soon!). In my opinion, the cupcakes from Crave aren’t really anything to write home about. The times that I have gotten them, the cake has been semi-dry and the frosting is a hard shell of the sickeningly sweet variety. However, it serves the purpose to satisfy my cravings (it could also be due to the fact that I usually go right before they close in a mad rush to cure my sweet tooth).