Hot Chocolate Time!

No no, not the drink, but an actual restaurant!! If you remember the Chicago Food tour I went on, we tried the milk chocolate hot chocolate from Hot chocolate and were intrigued by the award winning pastry chef & owner of the cute shop! Check out their wall of awards!

Hot chocolate awardsHow about using a $10 off a la card towards a $22 brunch for 2? Great deal once Nick and I split the bill at $8 a person, plus we even got dessert.

We started off with some cubes of cinnamon streusel pound cake when greeted by a host at the door. (Sorry, too many people watching to take a picture of the tray!)

Nick went for the Buttermilk Biscuit – a sandwich with Gunthorp Farms sausage patties scrambled eggs and aged cheddar

Hot chocolate biscuit dish

The plate was rather small for the biscuit, but I could tell that doesn’t matter at all to Nick. He devoured the biscuit in NO time and loved it. He’s REALLY picky when it comes to biscuits, and this one was apparently butter, flaky, and fresh. Nick couldn’t stop talking about the sausage all weekend, about how luscious it was and how much he wanted to eat more of it. Hehehe

hot chocolate biscuitI tried the potatoes on the side, and while there wasn’t a lot, they were well seasoned and peppery. It was roasted to perfection with a crunchy skin but a tender core. YUM. I also appreciated the fact that it wasn’t drenched in oil.

My selection was a special I guess and can’t be found on the online menu! I’m guessing it’s seasonal and switches off the menu depending on the month/season.

Here was the Turkey – Kaiser roll, apple butter, apple slaw, roasted turkey

Hot chocolate turkey sandwichLooks nothing like a Kaiser roll? Muhaha That’s right! I had the Kaiser switched to pumpernickel (because I’m obsessed with dark colored bread). Let me say this, I never imagines fruit would be yummy in a sandwich, but I am now looking at sandwiches in a whole new way!

hot chocolate turkey sandwich close upThe turkey itself was moist, flavorful, and comforting – kinda like Thanksgiving. The apple slaw provided a sweetness and crispness, while the apple butter provided…well…almost nothing because there was so little of it. So overall, while the flavors rocked, the entire sandwich was just way too dry (the bread kept scraping the roof of my mouth…grr).

We asked for a dessert menu, but apparently there is none at brunch. Our waitress suggested we order the donuts, but we decided to take a cookie each to go.

Hot chocolate oatmeal cookieTheir mini-cookies were $0.75 a piece, but we wanted to try the “famous” desserts from hot Chocolate since the owner has won so many awards! I got the Oatmeal Raisin and Nick got the chocolate chip. Let’s just say, these cookies were good (a typical bakery cookie. You can get one from Panera), but not worth the money.

RATINGS

Taste: 3.5/5

Originality: 3.5/5 (Has regular brunch items but some have a lil twist)

Plating: 3

Value: 4 (with a la card) but a 3 without the $10 discount

Service: 4

Last word? We both enjoyed our dishes and would go back again to try the dessert, but won’t be ordering cookies again from there.

Hot Chocolate on Urbanspoon

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OHHH Sweet Riot!

Sarah and the Sweet Rioters have brought a “piece-ful/peaceful” chocolate concept to help us fix the world! Thanks to Sarah, I was fortunate enough to sample their chocolate products – all of which I have to say, I adore. I’m very picky with my chocolate (I refuse to eat Hershey’s chocolates), but Sweet Riots all-natural, delicious, and environmentally friendly artist designed reusable packaged chocolate has won me and my sweet teeth over.

Oh and did I mention they are dairy free?? Check out their site here for more information!

I call these, “Nibs in Tins”

Sweet Riot nibs

I believe I’ve found a semi-permanent dark chocolate fix. With only 1-2 calories in a nib, the Sweet Riot chocolate covered cacao bits are a fantastic sweet tooth satisfier. The adorable tin cans they come in also helps, but more than anything all 3 “flavors” taste great, all different though, but great! I now use my empty tins to store coins and bobby pins in my purse! :)

All tins have roughly the same stats as follows:

DSC04301

Flavor 65 “100% dark cacao nibs dunked in 65% dark chocolate” & Flavor 50: 100% dark cacao nibs dunked in 50% dark chocolate”

Sweet Riot nibsReview: I’m lumping these two flavors together because they are very similar to me. While I like my chocolate dark (the darker the better), I really though the Flavor 50 was an excellent balance between feeling like you’re eating sweets, while still getting the only slightly bitter dark chocolate aftertaste. The 65 I tried was slightly more bitter than the 50, but wasn’t quite as delicious as the 70. You’ll see why!

Flavor 70: 100% dark cacao nibs dunked in 50% dark chocolate”


Review: This flavor 70 is my favorite because in addition to all the same ingredients used in flavor 50 and 65, this batch gets a spike of natural coffee flavor. I’m tellin’ you, it MAKES the chocolate. I fell in love after the first piece because the coffee flavor was noticeable and rather addictive. (I almost though there was coffee liquor in there before I looked at the ingredients!) There is no hint of the chocolate being too dark or bitter, in fact I thought it was perfect. This is definitely the flavor I would buy if I order from Sweet Riot!

Now…for the Unbars

unbar

Unbar 65: “65% dark chocolate with crunchy cacao ‘peaces’”

Per bar (4 pieces): 190 calories, 14g fat, 19g carbs (7g saturated), 2g fiber, 10g sugar, 3g protein Ingredients: Cacao Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Cacao nibs, Cocoa butter, Soy lecithin and natural flavor

Review: With only 48 calories per chunk, this chocolate is a perfect blend between indulgent and a little candy-bar like because of the little bits of crunchy cacao pieces scattered throughout. It isn’t as creamy or smooth as your Godiva or Giradellhi’s due to lack of dairy, but it is still yummy and has more natural, high quality ingredients. I can definitely see myself eating something with an even higher % of cacao content, and maybe flattening the height of the chocolate squares a little might make eating it easier on the jaw?

Unbar 70: “70% dark chocolate with crunchy cacao ‘peaces and plump raisins’”

Per bar (4 pieces): 180 calories, 14g fat, 19g carbs (7g saturated), 3g fiber, 11g sugar, 3g protein. Ingredients: Cacao Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Cacao nibs, Cocoa butter, Soy lecithin, Raisins, and natural flavor

Review: This is definitely dark chocolate all right, but with the (seriously) sweet plump raisins inside, it make this decadent treat a little more fun. I found it crumbly and like Unbar 65, a little too “tall” to bite into comfortably. Again, this is all-natural dairy-free chocolate so you won’t be finding that creamy chocolate texture.

Overall: One product has risen to the top, and that would be the tins of cacao nibs. I’m going off to buy my Flavor 70 nibs now! By the famous words of Sarah and her Sweet rioters, “Piece” out!!

Retail Price: $19.99 for a 3-pack/boxes of nibs

My cost: Free Sample from Sweet Riot

and of course, don’t forget about the Zensoy Pudding AND soymilk giveaway!!!! and another Grazin’ Giveaway right here.

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