Categories
Chicago reviews

Eating Chicago: Roundup

It’s been a week since we got back from Chicago, and we’re pretty excited about going back there when the weather’s a lot warmer. Here’s a quick rundown of the rest of our Chicago trip.

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate offers a menu of comfort food from savory to sweet, but the savory dishes we had were disappointing. The mac and cheese tasted good, but the cheese was more soupy than cheesy. A hamburger with fried egg is one of my favorite things to eat, but Hot Chocolate’s was surprisingly boring. Also boring was the Lamb and Krema Kasa, which sounded great on paper: sourdough flatbread with housemade lamb sausage, Carr Valley Krema Kasa cheese, wild arugula, and oregano oil served with pickled beets.


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Despite this, I wholeheartedly recommend Hot Chocolate for their dessert and pastries. I had a coffee cocoa nib milkshake with my burger that was really good, and it was accompanied by cookies that were great for dipping. For dessert, my wife ordered the Chocolate Again (40 percent), a “milky” chocolate pot de créme served with peanut butter and concord grape jelly sandwich, peanut butter blondie, and milk chocolate peanut brittle, which was really good. I had a Mexican hot chocolate that was easily the best thing I ordered all night. It was a rich mix of 2/3 dark chocolate, 1/3 milk chocolate, and cinnamon, served with a housemade marshamallow. It was nice to see that Hot Chocolate lived up to its name.

Hot Chocolate
1747 N Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647 map
773.489.1747
Web site

Categories
bacon candy chocolate dessert

Bacon + Chocolate = LOVE!

If you believe that bacon makes everything better, you really need to try it with some chocolate. That’s what some of the higher-end chocolatiers are doing, and it really is a match made in heaven.

The salty/sweet combination works in mysterious ways, especially with fried chicken and waffles, bacon and maple syrup (which is often accidental), and the classic peanut butter and chocolate. But bacon and chocolate is combination I’d never considered or even heard or until my friend Soo Jin gave me a piece of Zotter’s Bacon Bits bar. The finely chopped bacon bits are incorporated throughout the bar giving it a subtle, salty bacon flavor that was really nice.


zotter bacon bar

Let it be known that Soo Jin is my chocolate enabler, having introduced me to Fog City News, one of San Francisco’s best newsstands. It’s also one of the city’s best chocolate shops, sporting an extensive selection of imported chocolates from around the world. They offer a Premium Chocolate Passport, a frequent buyer program that gives you a free premium chocolate bar for every 10 bars you buy. Needless to say, Fog City News is an excellent place to try some exotic chocolate concoctions.

Last week, I got an email about one of Fog City’s chocolate tasting events, and here’s what caught my eye:

Meatpaper and Meaty Chocolate Tasting
We hope to see you tomorrow (Friday) between Noon and 2pm when you’ll have the chance to meat (sorry, couldn’t resist) Amy and Sasha, the editors of this unique new “magazine of art and ideas about meat.” And what could be more appropriate than trying samples of the latest chocolate bar with applewood smoked bacon which are being donated by the sweet (can’t help myself today) folks at Vosges? Be among the first to pick up the premiere issue of Meatpaper (Members take 10% off the magazine at the event) and learn about the trials and tribulations of launching an independent print publication in the electronic age.

First, there’s a magazine called Meatpaper? I gotta really look into that!

Since Soo Jin works nearby, I suggested that she stop by on her lunch break and she was happy to oblige. She ended up enjoying herself and picked up a Vosges bacon chocolate bar for us. Vosges has been a sentimental favorite of mine for awhile; I bought my then-fiancee some of their fabulous truffles when I was in New York on business a few years ago, and recently we discovered their delicious chocolate bar with goji berries.


Vosges bacon bar

The Vosges bacon chocolate bar is fantastic. Instead of finely chopped bacon bits like the Zotter, there are much bigger pieces of bacon in the Vosges bacon bar, and it’s got a hearty, smoky, salty kick that the Zotter lacks. So if you see a Vosges bacon chocolate are at your local market…make sure you pick one up and give it a try.

And remember…bacon makes everything better.