Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Valentine's Dinner Pics

As promised, I've gotten the Valentine's Dinner pics back from our guest photographer Kaleb Scott Photographs and here they are!

But before I give out the goods, take a look at our next dinner. Join us March 20th and 21st at 4, 6, and 8pm for a Mediterrean cocoa-feast:
Spinach Spanikopita with White Chocolate, Dill, & Shallot
Beef and Lamb Kaftas with Cocoa Nib Rice Pilaf (Fried Falafel Veggie Option)
Orange Blossom and Hazelnut Bakalava with Dark Chocolate Sauce

We also have a Hummus and Grilled Haloumi Trio (Optional Starter- $12)

Call the cafe direct at 619.578.2984 or email at Space limited!

Until then, here's your yum-yums...
Starter Platter: Three Artisan Cheeses and Salumis with House-made Cornishons, Herbed Mustard, and Rosemary Almonds

Cocoa-buckwheat crepe with Wild Mushroom Ragout
French Onion Soup with White Chocolate Olive-oil Crostini
Pink Peppercorn-crusted Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa, Cherry, and Shallot Jus
Cocoa-nib Infused Plombiere with Cherry-Red Wine Coulee

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring Seasonal Dessert Tasting Platter

I know what you are thinking: the first day of Spring isn't until March 20th. But why wait until then to debut a new platter? Call it a month early... either way I am happy to usher in something new. Starting today our Spring Seasonal Dessert Tasting Platter is available! Find a friend and stop in to enjoy the sugary vittles.

Here's what we are serving for the next six weeks:

Grilled White Chocolate Carrot Gateaux
[grilled almond-carrot cake studded with 31% white chocolate chips]

Butterscotch-Macadamia Pudding with Cocoa Nibs
[whipped cream pudding+toasted macadamia nut+cocoa nibs+butterscotch sauce]

Roasted Banana Bread Pudding with Dark Chocolate Sauce
[custard-soaked bread pudding studded with roasted bananas+72% dark chocolate sauce]

Frozen Plombiere with Cherry-Peppercorn Compote
[cocoa-infused frozen plombiere+warmed cherry-pink peppercorn compote]


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Grilled White Chocolate Carrot Gateaux

Now that Vday is officially behind me, I can concentrate on putting this place back together. Yes, yes... I PROMISE to start making Azteca Cinnamon Rolls again regularly, but until then... I'm in full swing on the next Seasonal Dessert Tasting Platter.

If you don't remember (or have for some reason taken to regularly reading my blog yet not regularly coming into the cafe), the Seasonal Dessert Tasting Platter is a little gem that consists of four desserts that rotate every six to eight weeks. One is frozen, one is a cooled pudding, one is a grilled item, and since I seem to be unusually talented at making them (don't take my word for it, Mellopie will pledge) one is a bread pudding. The platter is always $12 and is fit for two to share. Add two drinks and you have a full evening out for under $20, and these days that seems just about right!

So today I baked off the first component for this next platter. After being out of it for a full week leading up to Vday, I am happy to say that I will be ready with the entire collection of four by tomorrow. Until then, let your taste buds do the tempting...

My Grilled White Chocolate Carrot Gateaux is a simple and tasty version of a French almond cake I once baked a few years ago. Bound by lots of eggs and almond meal (instead of refined flour), the finished cake is dense and custardy in texture. I added a large quantity of finely grated carrot and studded the batter with 31% white chocolate chips before baking. Without leavening the final cake seems suspiciously thin and unassuming, but I assure you it is satisfying. The finished flavor profile is simple and sweet, with slightly caramelized notes of vanilla and toasted almond. The real punch of the dessert is in what happens next... Before serving, we grill the chilled cake until the top and bottom surfaces develop a crunchy coating that reminds me of pan-fried french toast. It make the finish dessert sing! Take a look:

Friday, February 13, 2009

March Chocolate Tasting Dinner

With few spots remaining for our Valentine's Chocolate Tasting Dinner, we're already getting reservations for the next prix fixe concept in March. So here's the low-down...

Exclusively March 20th and 21st, join us at Eclipse for a Mediterranean Chocolate Feast featuring three courses for just $25 per person. Yes, just three courses for $25! This is the first of our new three-course dinner line-ups and we're excited about the new, lower price point. Join us Friday (6.5pm, 8.5pm) and Saturday (4, 6, 8pm) for the following:

Spinach and Spanikopita with White Chocolate, Dill, & Shallot
Beef and Lamb Kaftas with Cocoa Nib Rice Pilaf (Fried Falafel Veggie Option)
Orange Blossom and Hazelnut Bakalava with Dark Chocolate Sauce

We also have a Hummus and Grilled Haloumi Trio (Optional Starter- $12)

Call the cafe direct at 619.578.2984 or email at Space limited!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine's Truffles

So a lot of people have been calling to ask if their favorite truffle will be around for the big day. With 32 infusions and a case that only holds 16 flavors at a time, everything always seems to be in rotation around here. Well fret no more, I am excited to have finished my preliminary production schedule for the holiday's truffles and as such I am officially disclosing the line-up.

And since Vday is all about truffles, I'm going out of my way to make sure there is as much chocolatey goodness around the shop as possible. We're even dressing all of our boxes in burgundy ribbon. All you need do is pop in and we've got all of your sweetheart needs!

BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE (said in sing-song infomercial voice).

All purchases $50 or more come complete with a complimentary Box of Two Truffles! That's an additional treat you can enjoy just for yourself after you've bequeathed to your heart's content. Who needs to know you kept a few bites to yourself?

And the infusions are...

***Drum roll please***

Lavender Sea-salted Caramel
Caramel Pecan
Double Espresso
Goat Cheese & Fig
Banana, Rum, Cigar
Double Dark Chocolate
Salted Coconut Milk
Bergamot Orange Peel
Honey Saffron
Lavender Poppy
Amaretto Almond
Peanut Butter Toffee
Cardamom Rose Petal
Balsamic Pink Peppercorn
Double Coconut Milk Caramel
Chile-Burnt Caramel
Lemon Ginger

Supplies limited, so I can't guarantee they will all here be for long. Stop in soon!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Roses and Chocolate

If I got your taste buds perky with the last post, be prepared to be tantalized with this one... What's the next best thing after my Cardamom Rose Petal Truffle? My new Rose Nectar Bellini, of course!

When Ray and I traversed the Fancy Food Show earlier this month, we stumbled upon a Rose Nectar Soda imported from Romania bottled under the label called Essence. We both found it instantly charming and refreshing and knew that it should be incorporated in the upcoming Valentine's Day activities. Made from premium roses, this beverage is distilled, bubbled, and bottled that results in a light sweetness and perfume that I think pairs perfectly with our Karma Champagne. Try it with our Cardamom Rose Petal, Balsamic Pink Peppercorn, or Basil-Absinthe truffles. Or better yet, stop in for our Wine and Truffle Happy Hour and have one of those truffles on the house! When's that?, I hear you all ask? Join us Monday-Friday from 4-7pm when every wine and beer purchase is accompanied with a complimentary truffle!

We will also be featuring this Champagne Cocktail as the newest addition to our Prix Fixe Dinner menus. And if for some reason you live under a rock and haven't a clue what that is, check it: our Valentine's Day Sweetheart Dinner.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chocolate and Roses

More than a week has passed since my last post and the little Catholic boy deep inside me (I think he's still in there somewhere) is feeling terribly guilty about it. I'll make amends by posting at least a few more times before the big holiday, as long as I can find the time between drowning in a few thousand truffles.

Speaking of, we've been pouring our little hearts out making as many as possible before next weekend. I'm up to 32 different infusions in my bag of tricks and since my case only holds 16 at a time, many only make seasonal appearances. One that is guaranteed this time of year is a little ditty I made for the first time way back in Vday of 2004 when I was but a naive chocolatier with high hopes and cocoa-glazed dreams. Since then Cardamom Rose-Petal has made an appearance each Vday after.

Enrobed in a 61% dark chocolate shell, this ganache in infused with organic cardamom seeds and perfumed with a touch of rose water. The finished truffle is gilded with a candied rose petal imported from France. And what could be more apropos for your Valentine? Stop in early this week to insure its availability, I only did one sheet of these chocolates this year and it may be gone quickly!