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Archive for August, 2006

On West Houston between Mercer and Greene Streets lies a fab new espresso bar named Aroma Espresso Bar.  Irene wanted to get a drink before she went off to pack for Berkley, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to try this place, so off we went. 

aroma
wordpress shrunketh my photo

I walked by one day and saw humungo signs advertising the new space during its construction so I came back and googled it.  It turns out that Aroma is Israeli owned, and man, do they know their stuff.  They drove Starbucks out of business in Israel!  And we all know about Max Brenner.  Mmm.  According to Haaretz, an Israeli news source, Aroma transported its own employees to train the New Yorkers.  They’ve also changed the names of some items that may seem to controversial for today’s political times.  Either way, they have some good stuff.  What was suppose to be an espresso break turned into a whole meal.  But I guess that’s not much of a surprise to you, right?  I can’t seem to find the Haaretz article anymore so you can all read about how Starbucks has been driven out of Israel.  They blame it on the lack of marketing, but some say it’s because they couldn’t compete with Aroma and other coffee chains there.   [blames lack of marketing]

I ordered an Aroma coffee, which came with chocolate and whipped cream.  The chocolate at the bottom wasn’t completely melted [they stick a chocolate bar in the bottom I thin] so it just tasted like hot chocolate by the end.  Irene got the mocha cappucino – it was very chocolatey.  It was very pretty with all the different layers though.  I like how they give you pieces of chocolate on the sides [I gave mine to Irene since I don’t really like to eat chocolate]. 

 aroma coffee mocha
aroma coffee & mocha cappucino

I wanted to try the Bureka special [I think it was previously called the Iraqi sandwich].  It’s a sandwich made with pylo dough stuffed with hard boiled eggs, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.  I had mistaken the cheese for sauce, but I remember ths sign saying cheese so I guess that’s what the melted stuff on top of the tomato is.  I knew it definitely wasn’t mayo.  Whoever thought to put eggs and pickles together is a genius.  Pickles?  good.  Eggs?  good.  Together? Yum!  I was pleasantly surprised.  I would definitely order this again.  It’s like eating a crossant-wich in the afternoon.  Irene ordered an omelet sandwich; it was an egg omelet, with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo on whole wheat bread.  You get a choice of white bread, This sandwich was a bit harder to eat cuz the bread pieces were so big and the crusts were kind of hard.  I ripped off the bread and dipped it into my coffee- that wasn’t bad.  The ingredients in the sandwich with the big bread made it difficult to eat, but of course, this stuff never deters me.  The eggs were really fluffy- Irene thinks they used butter in their batter.  I would go with a switch in bread and more evenly distributed mayo.  Nonetheless, it was still a good sandwich.  Though, what’s up with only giving one piece of lettuce?

bureka   omelet

Since Irene was bringing an espresso machine to Berkley, and I just got one, we decided we should go buy us some espresso beans.  On our way to the shop, we saw a pink soon-to-be-opened place on St. Mark’s and went over to check it out.  I couldn’t get a full picture of the outside because there were other people standing in front taking pictures too.  Boo them.  The place, Bamn! is going to be a 24/7 vendor joint- meaning they have a whole bunch of food vendors in there and you go and get what you want and leave.  There’s no seating.  They plan to sell American/Asian finger foods for $1/$2 per serving.  Food vendors [with full meals] are actually very popular in Japan.  They even have them in food courts.  How do I know all this information on Bamn! even though it’s not opened yet?  Well, as Irene and I were standing outside chatting about how exciting this is, one of the guys who owns the place came out to give us an exclusive tour of the inside!  He wouldn’t let me take any pictures of the inside because they gave all the first-view rights to NYTimes and Time Out NY and such.  I was really disappointed when he said that it’s going to be American and some Asian finger foods.  I thought they were going to have a sit down area and have like chicken katsu or something.  When the guy said American finger food, I thought of chicken nuggets and Irene thought of fries.  Bleh.  They open next Tuesday for those of you who want to check it out.  I know I’ll be there. 

 ?  bamn

We spied something else on our way to the coffee bean shop.  In the window of the Black Hound pastry place, there was this lovely creature- chocolate teacup full of fresh berries. 

.

Finally, we reached our destination, the Porto Rico Importing Co.  Irene and I discovered this place one day on our way to sushi.  We finally have a chance to go in and not only look but to buy stuff!  It’s address is 40 1/2 e 8th.  How cute.  Their beans are pretty cheap too.  Irene and I both got half a pound of espresso and it was $3.50 each.  I got the Brazilian blend, which is suppose to be a lighter espresso and Irene got the French-Italian blend, which is suppose to be a lot stronger. 

coffee

Irene went home shortly after bean shopping and I went to get my nails done.  Jon and Daniel called me just as I finish and ask if I want dessert from Serendipity 3.  I wasn’t really in the mood for any of that stuff, but I went anyways. 

dipz

I didn’t know what I wanted so I ordered a fruit crepe with ice cream.  The crepe came with strawberries and bananas and tons of strawberry sauce.  The crepe was topped with vanilla ice cream.  I’m usually a fan of savory crepes over sweet crepes, but I do like my share of nutella and bananas.  The fruit weren’t bad but the sauce made things too sweet for me.  I had to neutralize flavors with the ice cream.  The vanilla wasn’t that great- I don’t remember where the vanilla was from but I know I’ve had it before.  I can’t explain it but it I guess it wasn’t vanilla-y enough for me.  The crepe was also burnt so I can say that I will not be having this any time soon- if ever again.  I normally order the Strawberry Fields Sundae but knew I couldn’t finish it.  The strawberry fields sundae has strawberry ice cream, cheesecake, real strawberries, with whipped cream.  Next time, I’ll stick with the classics.  The official staple, as we all know, is the frozen hot chocolate that Serendipity has even patented.  I think it just tastes like chocolate ice cream, but a lot of people seem to like it, ie. Daniel.  The two of them also got the Forbidden Broadway- it’s chocolate cake, fudge, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. 

 crepe frozen hot chocolate 
                                                   forbidden broadway

ack… what . to . do . with . self?  too . much . cho . co . late.

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I finally got to see the bestest this weekend!  I can’t believe she’s leaving in less than two weeks and I’ve only seen her a handful of times the entire summer!  Granted, I was eating my way through HK/China/Arizona for the first month of her being back, we still barely saw each other afterwards!  =[  The sadness.

Well, we made up for loss time by going shopping this Saturday.  What goes well with shopping?  Eating!  We stumbled across a Ben & Jerry Milkshake Experience [read: free milkshake tasting] in Union Square.  It was uber exciting.  They step up a little space in the theatre where Sandra Bernhard had her one woman show and gave out free samples from their new line of milkshakes.  There’s seating inside and there was a tropical island theme going on.  I even saw a woman giving out free massages in the Cherry Garcia side.  There were 3 flavors: Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

ben & jerry
enter here

The chocolate fudge brownie was too chocolatey for me and the cherry garcia would have been good if it didn’t have a cough syrup aftertaste to it [it would’ve tasted kinda yogurty], and the chunky monkey was best out of the three according to Ander and I.  The Chunky Monkey’s flavor wasn’t too strong and it was mostly banana tasting- but it was a light banana taste.  I think that the Chunky Monkey would actually go well with the Chocolate Fudge- someone should try it and let me know.  All the drinks were really thick so it didn’t really quench our thirst, but then again, milkshakes don’t generally quench thirsts. 

chocolate fudge cherry garcia 
                                                chunky monkey

I brought Ander to oggle and drool over Max Brenner’s new shop [the poor woman hasn’t even been to Ghiradelli!].  She’s a chocolate fan so I knew she’d appreciate Brenner’s works.  We made our way further downtown and I met up with Sherman to have a drink at Sambucca’s and to gossip a bit before we both had to run off for dinner.  Sambucca is a little cafe in Little Italy specializing in many home-made desserts.  There are better places in Little Italy like La Bella Ferrara’s across the street [not the one on Grand] but this happened to be Sherman’s place of choice and I didn’t really care since I was just getting a drink.  There’s outdoor seating in front of the cafe, which is where we always choose to sit and tourist watch. 

sambucca     sam
sambucca’s logo  //  the view from my seat

After a ton of shopping and indecision on dinner, Ander, Bak, and I stumbled upon a Cuban place on Thompson Street.  I was originally looking for Cuba, but didn’t recall where it was and Googl wasn’t helping too much.  I hate using my pebl for treo functions!  Anyhoo, we thought Cubana Cafe was a cute hole-in-the-wall type place to check out.  Little did we know, they were cash only!  I was cash-less and Ander had $3.  It was Bak to the rescue with his $60 dollars in cash.  Oh, they have an ATM machine next door for those of you who may need.  Since the place is a hole-in-the-wall, we expected hole-in-the-wall [ie. cheap] prices, which they supplied, so we knew we were okay with the $60.  The interior of the restaurant was very simple and reminded me of the inside of a grandmother’s Manhattan apartment.  Behind the door was a rod with a curtain that looked like it belonged on top of a bathtub.  You know, those rods that go all the way around a standalone tub.  The tablecloths were the odd plastic floral designs with a clear plastic covering on top. 

cubana cafe
3 guesses why the bestest is covering half her face

Their cuban sandwich was calling my name.  I don’t think I’ve had any since I was in West Palm, being served Cuban sandwiches by actual Cubans [whoa- that’s an entire year ago!].  Their cuban sandwiches are made with roast pork, sliced ham, swiss cheese, sliced pickle, chipotle mayo, with a side of chickpeas.  I generally don’t like meaty stuff but I lurve cuban sandwiches.  I definitely think the cheese and the pickles have a lot to do with it.  I don’t know how some people order the sandwiches without the pickles- the sourness gives it a good … sour kick?  It just makes the sandwich taste juicier to me.  I also love how the bread is smushed down and toasted so it fits into my mouth easily.  =D  In addition to the sandwich, I had to order regular food too.  Hey, the sandwich only costs $7.  I could afford a real entree!  I ordered the Palomilla pounded chicken breast marinated in garlic lime and onions served with rice and beans.  The chicken wasn’t very flavorful but it was good with whipped plaintains.  The rice and beans were okay, nothing special.  Ander got the pulled pork with whipped plaintains and roija wine pork gravy.   The whipped plantains were too sweet but the pork was good, although the roija wine pork gravy didn’t stand out.  I think I enjoy BBQ pulled pork more.  A liter of sangria only costs $15 so we just had to go for it.  It was good except they used a lot of orange peels instead of actual fruit which was very disappointing when Bak and I went to taste the wine soaked bits.  The only remarkable thing about this place is its cuban sandwiches.  I say take them to go and save yourself the tip.  They also didn’t bring us bread!  I was deprived of my favorite part of the meal!  We ordered it for “desert,” and they still didn’t bring it to us.  Boo Cubana Cafe for that.  The bill came to be just a bit under $50, btw.

inside cubana  inside cubana 2 
tablecloth  bill
  
  sangria  cuban sandwich
pulled pork  pounded chicken

Yesterday, Irene, Eva and I decided to celebrate our 10 year reunion.  This September would mark the beginning of 10 years of friendship.  Whoa.  Scary right?  We decided to go back to our JHS neighborhood [Stuyvesant Town] to celebrate at the original Ess-a-Bagel.  I drool just thinking about their homemade bagels with bluberry creamcheese.  As Eva and I got off the bus, we saw that a branch of the Belgian patisserie Petit Abeille has opened up on the corner.  They had outdoor seating and mimosas so we decided to scrape ess-a-bagel and have brunch at Petit Abeille.  I actually noticed another Petit Abeille being constructed along West 17th somewhere so I guess they’re branching out.  Petit Abeille is actually my sister and my place of choice to eat when we are waiting to get into the Metropolitan Pavillion for their sales.  I really do shop as much as I eat. 

essabagel
much better than H&H; no matter what anyone says

At the corner of 20th street and 1st avenue lies Petit Abeille.  We snagged a table outside and realized it was really humid out.  It might have been a better idea to get seating that was still inside the restaurant, but still facing the open-air. 

petit abeille  inside abeille

Irene and I ordered bellinis; strawberry and peach respectively.  The strawberries they used weren’t very sweet so the drink wasn’t as good as it could’ve been.  The peach bellini was absolute yummers though.  They have this brunch special for $16.95; you get an appetizer, an entree, and a Stella- the Belgain beer staple.  Since I ordered a bellini and couldn’t substitute the Stella for it, I decided a la carte would be best.  I ordered the Omelet Ardennaise, it came with onions, spinach, bacon, and mushrooms with a side of stoemp and mesclun.  The stoemp is belgain mashed potatoes.  it was sooo good.  I don’t know what they put in there, but I tasted onion- I am definitely a fan of stoemp.  The omelet was very hearty and had good flavors.  The dressing for the salad sucked but that’s okay- as long as they used mesclun, I can forgive them.  Irene got the waffle special with peaches and blueberries, topped with whipped cream.  It was sweeten whipped cream- so yummy.  I hate non-sweeten whipped cream.  The Firm actually makes some killer thick ass whipped cream.  I’ve learned to put that stuff on almost everything since I’ve started working here.  It definitely does not help the protruding tummy.  Anyways, the fruit was thankfully not canned and all fresh.  Waffle itself was good and soft.  Eva got french toast with fruit salad on the side.  Mmm… I lurve Challah bread.  It’s good even in non-french toast form.  A aprt of her toast was a bit burnt, so she refused to finish it.  The strawberry sauce was good, but I’m a bigger fan of syrup.  She also managed to finish all the fruit except for one piece of honeydew.

wafflse  french toast
omlet  omelet inside

After our fooding, Eva had to head uptown so Irene and I went downtown to Malia Mills because I was, and still am, in search of white bikini bottoms.  Little did I know, their bottoms cost $95!  AMERICAN dollars at that!  They may have the goods but they certainly do not have my business.  Pssh!  My top cost $19 and that’s already expensive to me!  Generally, I’m a pretty free spender- I see, I like, I buy as long as the price isn’t too ridiculous.  No wonder Malia Mills has to buzz customers to let them in- you walk away with one item, that’s like $100! 

On the way to Malia Mills, I decided I wanted ice cream- then it popped into my head- GELATO!  We got off the bus and hit up Ciao Bella– my favorite gelato place.  We ordered mango gelato with pear sorbet.  That’s a small sized cup Irene is holding!  I’ve had both before so I knew they were good.  Irene also gave them rave reviews.  It’s a really small shop- just a counter and barely enough space for 4 people to walk around inside comfortably.  There’s an itty bitty amount of seating outside by a tree, but otherwise, they’re more of a to-go type place, which is exactly what we did.  We walked and ate gelato on the Nolita streets. 

ciao bella    ciao bella

 Boo, Irene and Ander are leaving NYC!

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dinner with alvin

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I decided to visit Jackson, who moved to Tom’s River for work this weekend.  Tom’s River is known as the beginning of the Jersey Shore.  I recruited Jon & Phil to come with me so off we went on the New Jersey Transit system.  For a huge Manhattanite like me, it’s always hard to get up at the asscrack of dawn to visit the middle of nowhere- especially when I find out that nowhere has an entrance fee for its beach… and that the beach isn’t even that pretty.  We took the 10:30 out of Port Authority and got there a little before 12:30 with traffic.

Driving around, all we saw were chain restaurants- Checkers, Ihop, Chilli’s- and if you read Chew on This or Fast Food Nation, you’d know what that was all about.  All the fast food owners love to plant their restaurants on major interstates so that’s all people see when they’re driving by on the major roads.  We ended up at Friendly’s because the guys have never been and I haven’t been since my days of living in suburbia. 

friendlys
looks like any other friendly’s, eh?

There was a summer special going on- if you get something off that menu, they’d give you a free sundae!  We were all over that offer.  There were 4 dishes and 4 of us- we each ordered something different.  I got fish and chips that came with a side of cole slaw.  Their fish was pretty good, but their fries sucked.  I am a fan of the super crunchy shoe string fries and these were.. quite the opposite.  It was oil drenched soggy and lumpy stuff that shouldn’t be allowed in the fries category.  The slaw was okay- nothing special like the ones from the big apple bbq and not pictured below.

fish and chips
fish & fake chips

For the sundae, Friendly’s was very friendly about the idea of “free.”  I thought they were going to offer 1 scoop of ice cream, 1 topping, whipped cream and a cherry.  Instead, we got two scoops of ice cream and a topping- they also have a very wide selection.  I chose the black raspberry and vanilla with marshmallow fluff [mm… fluff] on top.  The black raspberry was very purple, which kinda put me off but it was yummy so I don’t care.

sundae
*slurp

For dinner, I decided I didn’t want to go to another chain restaurant.  Jax said there is a chinese buffet near him so I figured, why not?  I knew it couldn’t be that good because it’s chinese food in the suburbs but I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.  Jax just moved to Tom’s River a month ago, and he is always busy at work so he hasn’t been able to explore all the cool insider places to eat yet.  We did pass by a Stewart’s Root Beer stand/kiosk type place that I thought was really cool.  Anyways, we had dinner at Amy Buffet 2 for $11.95 per person.  

amy buffet
what happened to one?

The hot and sour soup was okay.  The rice for the sushi was too hard; it wasn’t fresh.  The squid wasn’t chewy enough- it was also breaded oddly… not enough breading to matter but too much to ignore.  The breading for the sweet and sour chicken was also bad.  The clams were good.  The cake was okay.  I heard the ice cream and hibachi were good too.  Here is everything I ate that night.

plate 1  plate 2 

plate 3  soup

After dinner, we got dropped off at the bus station and decided to open up the pack of Airheads I bought earlier at Target.  They had advertisements from the movie Cars.  I grabbed the flavor named “burnt rubber.”  It turned out to be grape.  How clever.

burnt rubber
vroom vroom

Daniel called us out for desert when we got back to the city, so we hit upFerrara’s in Little Italy. 

fer
leather bound menus

Daniel got a slice of tiramisu and I got a hazelnut cappuccino while the others got other drinks [Italian cherry soda and lemonade].  The lemonade was a hit; it was made with real lemons and was a bit of a slushy.  The tiramisu is always good here and cappuccinos are ordinary. 

hazel   tiramiscu
cappacino & tiramisu are perfect compliments.

It’s been a long day after all this traveling and fooding, so I cabbed it home and watched Ocean’s 11 [Target $7.50] before crashing.

 

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I’ve been looking for an excuse to go to Daisy May’s– a west side bbq eatery for some time now.  Fortunately, my friend Rich is a huge bbq fan & fellow foodie [as in he actually makes the food, not just pay for it like I do], so instead of going to Virgil’s like I knew was inevitable, I suggested we try Daisy May’s.  Eventually, our friend Jon got placed with the responsibility for organizing everything.  Of course, my friends who are not very big on the planning just took my suggestion from days ago and ran with it. 

ethiopian-001.jpg  daisy may   
the fronts of daisy may’s take order area [there are also benches in front]

Little did we know though, there was an event going on at the restaurant that day.  They have this cafeteria style seating, where you order your food and sit anywhere in their dining room so no one bothered to check for avaliability.  We decided to try out a nearby Ethiopian restaurant recommended by a friend of Rich’s, but not before ordering a half a rack of baby back ribs to go.  I enjoyed the rub; it tasted like a sweet rub with a layer of dry rub on top, which excited me b/c I always love to rub my ribs with dry rub before eating [it’s always more fun to play with your food, no?].  The ribs were also more meaty than I expected.  You know those ribs where it’s just a layer of skin and bones on the bottom?  This was not one of those- it was a hearty rib.  We ate on the streets of Manhattan while walking to the Ethiopian restaurant.  Take a look at the succulent ribs for yourself.

ribs
finger-linkin’ goodness

We ended up going to Meskerem, which is just a block and an avenue away from Daisy May’s.  Meskerem is a fairly small restaurant; there are about 10 small tables when you walk in with additional big table seating in the back [about 5 tables].  The night that we went, they warned us they had no liquor and didn’t state why.  We were just there for dinner so that didn’t affect us much, but the guys and I did want to try some Ethiopian beer. 

meskerem
47 btwn 9 + 10

I’ve seen pictures of Ethiopian food, and we’ve been talking about trying some, but none of us have had any until this day.  You can call us a bunch of Ethiopian virgins, I guess.  I decided to get the vegeterian combo so I could try out several selections in one sitting.  It came with miser alech [split lentils dipped w/ ginger, garlic, onions, olive oil & curry], miser wat [split lentils w/ garlic, onions, olive oil in berbere sauce], shro wat [ground chickpeas in berbere sauce], sauteed string beans, carrots & onions in tomato sauce, & fresh cabbage, potatoes, & carrots sauteed w/ garlic, ginger & curry.  Other people got lamb combos and some chicken stuffs [it’s too much to type].   You can go browse the menu for yourself. 

vegie combo
mushed veggies galore

One of my friends made the comment that this stuff looks like baby food to which I agree, though I don’t know if the actual food will agree with babies.  There are too many spices.  Phil wouldn’t even think of touching it [boo him for his unadventurous soul] and we ended up eating his portion too.  Who gives up a chance to legitimately play with his/her food?

My inchoherent review:  A lot of people seem to like the blob on the top left hand corner [it can come with lamb- which is what Phil got and we devoured for him] and the veggies were really good- meaning the cabbage, string beans and spinach.  I wasn’t a fan of the two yellow blobs on the bottom row [I think one of them was a lentil dish- it’s flavor wasn’t too pleasing].  It’s hard to give a more comprehensive review of their food because it’s mostly thick sauce and bread.  I didn’t enjoy the way they made their bread though- it was too sour.  I’m holding the belief that ethiopian bread doesn’t really taste like this; Meskerem just needs to improve their recipe.  We all thought it took away from the actual food, so we just started picking at the food with our hands [or using the meats to help].  Next time, I’m going for a meat dish because both the lamb in that red sauce and the chicken were both good! 

 

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are you hungry?

smores keyboard
s’mores keyboard

what about now?

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Me: let’s have dinner tomorrow
Irene: okay!
Me: Don’t you want to know where we’re going?
Irene: okay, where are we going?
Me: Max Brenner’s!
Irene: [dead air]
Me: that chocolate shop by Union Square! It’s opened!
Irene: OhH!!!! Yes!  Let’s go there!

And that is how we decided to go to Max Brenner’s Chocolate Shoppe in Union Square yesterday- after a call to invite Eva, of course.  Only, on the day of… there was a little incident with Eva & her tummy.

her: i feel so sick … nooo
me: does this mean ure going to cancel?
pinkbunni: no
HELL NO
me: but u cant come and not eat!
pinkbunni: i will!
i don’t care
if i barf it
at least i got to try it
and some of it gets absorbed!!
 

 And that is why we are friends.  Anyways, onto stuff about the actually eatery.

max brenner

Max Brenner’s is reminiscent of Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco- only, it’s in New York and it serves regular food in addition to chocolate stuffs.  I always wondered why Ghiradelli has never invested in a NYC shop – it’s because they probably had a deal with Mr. Brenner!  Maybe not really but my love goes out to them both.  I am so going to dig out some Ghiradelli pix when I get home today!

max brenner inside  walls of max brenner
inside w/ the chocolate factory feel  //  walls lined with shelves of stuff [spices / marshmallows, candies, etc]

The hostess gave us a really good seat in a corner where we had views of a large part of the restaurant, but none of us were feeling the tiny round table for 3.  We asked to move [right next to the walls of shelves so we were sitting in a type of platformed area] b/c we knew we were going to be ordering tons of stuff.  The hostess was very accommodating- she even told us we could push two little tables together if we wanted.  The waitress we had was also really sweet.  She kept coming by to check up on us, giving a plus to the level of service.  It was totally unexpected b/c I thought a place like that would be more of a “just focus on the food” type place. 

We decided it’d be best if we got two orders of real-food things to share to save room for the sweets.  We ended up with 2 entrees, 2 sweets, and a drink each.  [we became obsessed with their drinkware- hey, presentation rules us].  Ispent about an hour of billable firm time combing through the menu earlier yesterday, so I already knew what I would eat.  We decided on the melted smoked mozzarella sandwich with hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, and mushrooms; it comes with a side of greens in what seems to be caesar dressing and baby pickles.  We also ordered the antipasti salad with romaine and mesclun [yea- i wanted to get rid of the romaines]; the salad had roasted red peppers, roasted sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and pepperoni.  Irene and I enjoyed the bread of the sandwich b/c it was soft and lighted toasted [read: warm]; we also thought that they could’ve cooked the mushrooms for better flavor.  Eva wasn’t too happy with egg, so she mainly worked on the antipasti.  The greens for the side salad were probably made in a big batch at the beginning of the day because it was limp and a bit on the soggy side- also the dressing was bleh.  Yes, bleh.  I can use that to describe food.  I really liked the baby pickles, so kudos for that on Brenner’s part.  The antipasti has some type of vinaigrette dressing and it was really good- it didn’t overpower the salad at all.  I really liked the sweet potatoes, even though I’m not sure why someone would include that in a salad- though I would totally do that myself now- given i had roasted sweet potatoes .. and salad.. and vinaigrette…  It was a unanimous decision- the antipasti was a hit.

max sandwich    antipasti
maxwich & antipasti

Originally, we were going to skip the drinks b/c we thought water would be a good balance for all the chocolate we’d be inhaling.  But there’s this cup- they call it the Alice, it was just too cool- it looks like a grown up ceramic version of what could be a milk container.  Then, there’s the hug mug– okay- how can you go wrong with a cup that is ergonomically designed to be hugged by your hands?  We just had to do it.  Eva ordered the Dark Chocolat[chocolat meaning the chocolate cappucino], made from Crillo cocoa beans from Venezuela.  I got the Milk Chocolat, with vanilla- also from Venezuela.  Both came in hug mugs.  Irene got a  Chocolate Granita, a dark chocolate frap.  The drinks were fab.  I was definitely pleasantly surprised because mine was not overly sweet.  Irene’s frap wasn’t like a regular frap either.  It didn’t taste as creamy as I thought it would; but more refreshing- like a chocolate ice [but better than the frozen hot chocolate from serendipz].

hug mug / alice    milk chocolat
alice cups and hug mugs // my frothy milk chocolat

We got 2 deserts; the  melting marshmallow crepe and the fondue [we wanted the two person one but I think we got the four person one].  The crepe had “melted chocolate chunks and marshmallows, vanilla ice cream [with a hard chocolate top], gummi bears, warm chocolate sauce [for “pouring all over the crepe” says the waitress], white chocolate chunks.”  We got two dipping sauces for the fondue; dark chocolate and white chocolate; the dippers were: strawberries, marshmallows, bananas, and banana bread. 

crepe sauce fondue
crepe / chocolate sauces / stuff to be dipped by sauces

The crepe’s insides were yummy and gooey, but we didn’t enjoy the actual crepe.  Eva says it’s rubbery and I agree.  I think they need to re-evaluate their batter.  The vanilla ice cream was unbelievably good and none of us knew why.  I am a vanilla freak, but I don’t know what was up with this ice cream!  Eva says that maybe it’s because I had too much chocolate so the vanilla’s the perfect counterbalance for me.  The dipping sauces were both really good.  The banana bread was… weird.  It had a uniform consistency that real banana bread usually doesn’t, and I didn’t enjoy its texture.  Bananas and strawberries were fresh and there was no way you could mess up marshmallows so that was good too.

After all that eating, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves.  There was soo much sugar going through our veins that we had to go walk it off.  I don’t even eat chocolate regularly- I thought I was giong to die.  I really just wanted to try Max Brenner’s cuz it was so pretty and I’m glad I did. 

The check came in a really cool tin; it would fit a huge bar of chocolate perfectly [coincidence? I think not].  I would rather be forced to eat more chocolate than to pay the bill, but I wasn’t given that choice.  It cost us $65 for all the food we got- which could be considered as expensive, but we didn’t even think twice before plopping out money now.  

receipt
Money for life / chocolate for the soul

We walked around the shop afterwards and this lady offered us more chocolate.  Yea, even though I don’t like chocolate, I couldn’t turn out free food so I ate it anyways.  Damn, was it sweet.  Chocolate caramel pecan something or other. 

A friend at the firm pointed out chocolate cake to me today.  Ugh.  No more.  Please!

=== 

i heart vanilla. 

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