Thursday, September 22, 2011

Warming Up at Hot Chocolate

Luke and I always like to celebrate birthdays with a special night out. This year has been no exception. We celebrated my birthday last month at Chicago q, a "modern urban BBQ experience," with mouth-watering ribs and the best honey cornbread I've ever had.

Yesterday, we celebrated Luke's birthday in a similarly fine fashion. We ventured north on Damen to Hot Chocolate, a beautiful restaurant specializing in American contemporary cuisine and--you guessed it--desserts. Owner Mindy Segal has been honored by the James Beard Foundation several times, and we knew we were in for a real treat.

We started with mussels, but these were not your everyday fare. Rather, they were made with bacon, shallots, cream and PBR. A hipster's dream. Next, I enjoyed a beautifully prepared flank steak. But I must admit, I was thinking of hot chocolate and desserts the entire time.

After toiling over several hot chocolate options--all of which sounded delectable--I finally decided on the Medium hot chocolate: milk chocolate with a touch of dark chocolate and caramel. It was served with a cube of marshmallow on the side, which I promptly submerged, delicately of course, into my mug of goodness.

Courtesy: Popsugar Chicago
As if that wasn't enough, dessert arrived! Normally, I am not the biggest fan of sorbet at a restaurant (when so many other delicious options present themselves). But it came highly recommended by the server, and I'm so glad we listened. The four flavors--nectarine, concord grape, cantelope, and apple--all tasted exactly like the fruit. I don't know how they do it. And for a more decadent choice, we got a red velvet cake taht was flavored with raspberries to create the red color (no food coloring here!).

To put it simply, I was in heaven. And I'll be back.

In the mean time, I will attempt to recreate Mindy's Banana Brioche Monkey Bread, a recipe that she shared on Martha Stewart in 2010.

Stay tuned for the results!

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