Food and Drink
A Dedication to some of my Favorite Foods and Drinks and the Places Where I Might Enjoy Them
New items begin with an '*' Last updated December 10, 2017.
Interested in my small collection of Yelp reviews? Click here
First priority goes to Chocolate of course!
You might want first to check out some chcolate-making:
How Stuff Works: Chocolate Making and Its History (and other links)
Side-note: INCREDIBLY, the chocolate.com domain name is for sale as of July 8, 2017!!! I am soooooooo tempted to put together an investment team to get ownership! If only I had time to fully dedicate to my culinary passion. I am guessing the price tag for this domain has to be extremely high.
Chocolate, by far, is the best food on earth. Over the years I have tracked down favorite spots to hook up the good stuff. Some of the best chocolate desserts I have found in various restaurants.
- Chocolate Malt Cake (now Chocolate Caramel Crunch Cake): One of my all-time favorite cakes. The new revised concoction is good too, but I wish T.G.I.Friday's would include both! It is rich and unabashedly all-chocolate. A dream of a dessert. As of 2005, Friday's has changed up the dessert menu again. The cake has yet another name and new recipe. But even MORE interesting is their "Brownie Obsession." Let's just say this thing is so rich and chocolatey I get obsessed just thinking about thinking about it!
- Serious Chocolate Cake: This bad boy definitely lives up to its name. As one friend put it: "That has got to be the most enormous cake I have ever seen." This rewarding delight from The Good Earth restaurant (and bakery) has 4 serious layers of serious chocolate. It is TALL, and one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had! The Good Earth is scattered at least through the SF Bay Area (see link or 185 University Ave; Palo Alto, CA).
- Chocolate Supreme: This chocolate bonanza is pure, unadulterated chocolate: 3 layers, with fudge filling, creamy chocolate frosting, and, for good measure, a piece of a chocolate bar stuck on top. WARNING! Extra-rich stuff! Try heating it up a bit for an extra treat. You can find this at Florentine Restaurant and Pasta Market (4546 El Camino Real, Los Altos, CA, 650-949-1235; at least 2 other South Bay locations). They have several other dessert goodies. I will next be trying out their Black Forest Cake and Fudge Brownie. Stay tuned!
- Portofino Chocolate Passione Ice Cream: All I can say is WOW! When fellow chocolate afficiando Eileen told me about this Italian style ice cream treat, I rushed off to the grocery store to find it since she has never steered me wrong on chocolate (and may I add she is one of the best bakers I have ever met?). It is dark chocolate ice cream with truffle pieces and ribbons of fudge. So far I have only found it in the 24 fl oz size. This is a MUST for chcololate lovers! You can contact Portofino toll free at 888-613-2842 (Oakland, CA).
- Triple Chocolate Cheesecake: This incredible dessert can be found at the ubiquitous Olive Garden (franchised Italian restaurant, great breadsticks too): 2515 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA (650-326-5673). This cheesecake is so good, the excitement alone generated from eating it burns off the massive calories from consuming it (well, OK, not exactly). They may have cancelled this item from their dessert menu , but you can always try the delicious "Brownie Decadenza" too.
- Death By Chocolate: While on a business trip in the Detroit area, a fellow chocoholic introduced me to this devilish food. It is chocolate rocky road ice cream, on a crumbled chocolate cookie-type crust, surrounded by hardened chocloate fudge with some warm fudge for good measure (get it on the side). I finally found out about a Beningan's restaurant in my area! It is one of TWO restaurants in all of California. Incredible. One is in San Diego, "mine" is at 4150 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA (408-748-0378). I also recently saw one in Chicago, but my friend refused to stop. You can imagine the psychological damage that caused... (2004 update - Beningan's continues to grow and seems to be all over the place now.)
- Lovin Spoonful (313-663-2663): This ice cream spot WAS on 330 S Main St in Ann Arbor, MI and had some of the best chocolate ice creams I have EVER tasted! It almost made me want to move, or go to the University of Michigan or something! Sadly, as of 2006, Lovin' Spoonful ceased doing business. I wonder whether the recipes went...
- Cheesecake Factory: Trust me. If you are blessed to have one in your area, check it out. While I suffer without on here I have visited and loved locations in Marina Del Rey, CA ; Beverly Hills, CA; Woodland Hills, CA; and Atlanta, GA (note all 3 CA locations are in the Los Angeles area). If you can't find at least 2 or 3 amazing chocolate treats on their extensive menu of cheesecakes and cakes, check your pulse. "Death By Chocolate" is tops. (2004 update - Cheescake Factory has finally shown up in the SF Bay Area with both SF and SJ locations. I haven't been to the SF one yet.)
- Red Lobster : Yep! You heard correctly! RED LOBSTER! They have recently teamed up with Cheesecake Factory to offer some slammin' desserts. Of course, the item of choice is the layered choclate cake. Simply devine!
- Country Sun Natural Foods: Wow, all natural. I never thought natural could taste so good. Usually, if you want "healthy" chocolate, you have to settle for carob, a choco substitute I really despise. But at Country Sun in Palo Alto you can find numerous natural chocolate treats (basically, no artifical additives or other synthetic ingredients, also healthier ingredients are used than refined sugar or white flour). I have had the Vegan Chocolate Cake and the Chocolate Malt Balls. BOTH are excellent choices and, yes, in many ways, BETTER, than the traditional choices! Hey, you have to taste them to believe it. Even the M&M knock-offs are better than the "original"! Natural and "healthy" CAN taste good. If you're not in the South Bay, I encourage you to try out your local health food store and find out what it has to offer. You can find Country Sun at 440 S. California in Palo Alto, CA (650-324-9190).
- Double Rainbow: This ice cream parlor is plentiful down here in the South Bay. They run a close second to "Spoonful" in terms of quality of and variety of chocolate ice creams. Check out spots in San Francisco and Boston.
- Chocolate Croissants: This most decadent breakfast delight is best enjoyed warm (microwave high about 15-20 seconds). You can eat it any other time as well, but it's best as a quick choco-boost at the beginning of a dreary morning. Most reputable pastry places have good croissants. Some of my favorite suppliers so far: Java City, Le Petit Boulangeire, Starbuck's Coffee, even Dunkin Donuts (in Michigan)! Order some for your next meeting or gathering !
- SnackWell's Chocolate Sandwich Cookies : There definitely must be some addictive substance in these cookies replacing the 50% fat that Nabisco (800-922-4726) dumped out of these cookies! I must exercise theutmost of restraint to prevent myself fromdowning a whole box in one sitting! Thank goodness for the 50% reduced fat, I can thus eat more cookies. But seriously, these must be some of the best chocolate cookies I have EVER had, fat or no fat.
- Honey Maid Chocolate Graham Crackers : Here is a news flash you will not see often here...while Nabisco (800-922-4726) makes a great snack with its chocolate graham crackers, I actually like the Oatmeal Crunch even better! Of course, a smores concoction enhances the experience. Even try combining the oatmeal crunch and the SnackWell's chocolate sandwich cookie (reduced fat). Wow!
- Double Chocolate Chip Cookies: Man, oh, man. I can really get down on some cookies over-stuffed with chocolate. While I have found several joints throwing down some sheer choco-pleasure on the cookie tip, tragically, these delicious cookies can be quite hard to find. I have even resorted to making them from scratch! Some good spots include Cafe Borrone (Menlo Park, CA), the Hewlett Packard cafeteria in Cupertino (don't laugh!), Mrs. Fields Cookies (they're everywhere and even the cookies packaged in the store is good), more recommendations forthcoming....!
- Chocolate Fudge Brownies: Ditto for brownies as the cookies. Probably my top hot-spot for this delicacy is Caffe Centro in the South Park area of San Francisco
- Bodega Chocolates : Boxes of chocolates tend to have regional followings. In my part of the world, See's seems to dominate. Thanks to a wonderful Southern California friend, I have been introduced to "Orange County's Premier Gourmet Chocolate Company." And I tell ya, See's ain't got nothing on them! Wow! Bodega shoots right to the top of my list. I insist that you at least give them a try. I almost sure once you try them, you will stick to Bodega boxes from now on...
- Chocolate Mousse at the El Dorado Kitchen in the El Dorado Hotel: This delicious delight was consumed within seconds. I was stuffed from a dinner of bass and potato thing-a-ma-bobs, but this mousse was so good, I could not help but chew non-stop. If my stomach was not over-stuffed, I would have ordered another!
- La Fiesta : I know, I know. You are asking why are you listing a Mexican restaurant (in Mountain View) on a list about chocolate?!? Well, this great place is where I first discovered the wonders of mole sauce. I had never heard of this chocolate concoction before. It seems that they are well-known for their mole as well. It works well with chicken dishes: enchiladas, burritos, and as a "plain" entree. Even MORE importantly, the chocolate cake is absolutely vicious. I don't even know how to describe...just eat it and make sure to brace yourself before falling out your chair!
- Chocolate Chambord Cake : I first downed this delicious treat at JoJo Restaurant Bar in Washington D.C. This joint jams in the gentrifying 14th & U area of NW, and it features excellent vibes, jazz, cozy atmosphere and top-notch martinis (I guzzled down an apricot version). But what really had this Cali-boy floored was the chocolate chambord cake offered up to cap off the good times. I have no idea who bakes the original, but Jojo's is a must if you cannot find this delicious treat anywhere else!
- Roy's Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé : This temptation is similar to tamer versions of the chocolate volcano cake, but much better. It is so exquisite that it must be ordered at Roy's Restaurant 20 or 25 minutes in advance. I waited for it in Tampa, FL, and it was worth every ounce of time, energy, and effort. The chocolate oozed, melted, and did all sorts of acrobatics in my mouth as I tried my best to savor every morsel without inhaling it whole. OK...so I exaggerate a bit, but you know what I mean! Roy's has restaurants all over the U.S., so you have no excuse. Enjoy!
- Michel Cluizel: A product of France and a very exotic taste. I had the dark chocolate bar and could not put it down until I finished every last bit. I cannot wait to try out the rest of the product line.
- CocoaVia: A chocolate bar that's good for you?!? I could hardly believe my eyes. Yet, it seems that CocoaVia has been able to seize upon recent research that suggests that dark chocolate has properties conducive tdo maintaining a healthy heart. I tried out the pictured Original Chocolate Bar. It was a very rich, creamy, and chewy dark chocolate delight. My heart didn't feel any different, but my tongue and tummy sure did! If I get a health-bonus on top, hey, I can't complain!
- Teuscher (of New York): While this is a recent find for me, this chocolatier has been around for over 70 years since starting out on its glorious journey in Switzerland. Teuscher is apparently famous for its champagne truffles, and I certainly confirmed the rumors! I also devoured a lemoncilla-infused dark chocolate truffle and a traditional plain old dark truffle. All delicious. And that lemoncilla was a kind of "liquor" that I had never even heard of. That brief visit made my stay in New York City that day all worth it!
- Chris's Cookies: I was strolling through the airport in Philadelphia minding my own business when I spied a gourmet food stand right next to my gate. Given that I was really hungry, I wanted to get some "real" food and almost payed the Burger King down the aisle a visit. I thought better of it, and decided to try something new. Well, lo and behold, this food stand featured an irresistable array of foods and desserts. I immediately picked up the most chocolate thing I could find: The Ultra Premium, chocolate fudge brownie made by Chris's Cookies. Now, you know me. I can guzzle down chocolate with the best of them. But THIS thing was so rich, I had to eat it over a span of THREE days! I cannot wait for my next opportunity, and I can only hope they start offering it for sale on their website! (July 14 update! I just found out directly from the source that these delicious brownies will be available on the website starting 9/1/08. I am first in line!)
- Another Hennessey's (San Francisco, CA): They FINALLY applied their special baking skills to more than chocolate chip cookies and came up with a double chocolate chip that takes me back to the OLD DAYS! Oh, Cookie Magoo...where are you?!?
- Choxie: I was barely able to get this picture taken..these "double dark truffles" were too good to leave a full package laying around! The message on the packaging is VERY accurate: "An enchanting balance of bitter and sweet, our deep, dark truffles have undernotes of dusky cocoa and hints of fresh cream sweetness." I am typically quite skeptical of marketing messages, but I feel for this one hook, line, and sinker! Amazingly enough, these explosive balls of dark chocolate are distributed by Target. I want to know the baker!
- Triple-Layer Chocolate Ganache Cake - Chocolate ganache filling made of semi-sweet chocolate melted with heavy cream. My gracious co-workers hooked me up with this absolutely incredible delight from the restaurant of Stoney River Legendary Steaks. Trust me, it is as naughty as it sounds, and I enjoyed every last bite. I won't go there for the steaks, but I sure will head straight for the dessert table!
- Chocolate Stampede - You WILL be trampled if you try to tackle this mountainous chocolate delight. Longhorn Steakhouse serves up this tongue-lashing: "Two peaks of chocolate cake packed with six types of chocolate including chocolate mousse, fudge icing and chocolate shavings! Served with vanilla bean ice cream, fudge sauce and whipped cream."
- So its stock is in the toilet and business is sinking as wallets get stingy. Whole Foods Market is worth a visit for the dark chocolate gelato ice cream. Creamy, rich, and oh so crammed with chocolate goodies. A real treat!
- Finally, an excellent chocolate dessert at a Japanese restaurant! Musa, a Japanese restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina, makes a Belgian chocolate torte in-house (of all things!). It is definitely one of the best tortes I have ever had. Light, rich, unalduterated chocolate. The caramel and strawberry drippings that adorn the plate add a perfect burst of flavor.
- bee's knees Bakery and Gifts in Athens, GA has an excellent, rich , and moist double chocolate fudge brownie. Grab one on your way to AND from a Bulldawgs game!
- My man, "TraderMike" apparently moonlights as a bartender after he is done with his stock trading for the day. I attended his 40th birthday party where he served up a creamy, smooth Chocolate martini. He has been kind enough to share his "secret" recipe. See below:
1 part vodka, 2 parts Godiva liqueur. 2 parts Creme de Cacao
- Double Chocolate Decadence Vegan Cookie by the Alternative Baking Company. I never thought "vegan" and "decadent" could be used in the same sentence, but, this cookie incredibly pulls it off. Now, if they could only equate this cookie with "low calories" too! This cookie packs a whopping 480 calories with all its chocolatey goodness...
- Levain bakery is located in New York City...and simply too far away for me to enjoy their giant, enormous cookies every week. I was introduced to them by a co-worker upon her return from a business trip to NYC several years ago. The double chocolate chip cookies weigh a ton and are worth every gooey, rich, chocolatey calorie!
- Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia was featured on the Food Network's show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," but host Guy Fieri completely missed the incredible Chocolate Suicide cake! This cake is so deadly, it should be called triple suicide. I felt like I died and went to heaven over and over and over. I was so smitten, I wanted to jump into the cake and swim in it! Despite the fact that this cake could feed an army, it was so good my wife and I (with a little help from our delighted 2-year old) polished off the entire thing. No doggy bags for this cake!
- Glucerna Chocolate Chunk Meal Bar is a snack/meal alternative made for diabetics from the science of Abbott Labs. I know it seems strange placing such a product on a page dedicated to chocolate indulgences, but I had to give this product a thumbs up for those looking to control blood sugar without completely giving up the pleasures of chocolate. This bar is certainly not like eating the real thing, but it is amazingly close. It does have a slight, lingering after-taste, but beyond that, it is pretty good! This bar is made from slowly digestible carbohydrates, including a sugar substitute called "sucromalt". Glucerna describes it as "...a type of sweetener made from sucrose and maltose. It provides natural, slow-release carbohydrates, resulting in lower glucose and insulin responses than those produced by regular sugar."
- Sierra Rizing Catering & Bakery is located way out in Lotus, CA. So, I was glad for the opportunity to have one of their DELICIOUS and rich chocolate croissants on a visit to the Gold Country. The assortment of goodies on the menu is astounding, and I can't wait for the next opportunity stop by the shop!
- Sherri's Cookies has two Northern California locations: Capitola and Salinas, both in the malls in those cities. This joint is one of those few places that actually offers an unadulterated double-chocolate chip cookie. Sherri's calls it the "Double Rich Chocolate." Sherri's makes it a bit on the cake side. It is not too sweet or gooey but it is chewy. My kids had the brownie-on-a-stick. Both loved it! Can't make it to Sherri's? You can order for delivery! The cookies are baked within hours of shipping...
Now for Beverages
You can review and learn about all types of beverages at The Beverage Network.
- Italian Soda: Definitely one of my favorite drinks! Of course, most Italian restaurants DO NOT serve this, so I figure this is some American misnomer. Anyway, after paying too much at select eateries for the stuff, and often not getting enough sweet syrup, I have decided to make my own. Real simple actually. Just take a glassful of sparkling water (I like Shweppe's club soda best), cubed ice, and add as much Torani syrup as you like! You might want to start small, like 3-4 tablespoons, and add more to suit your taste.
- Sarsi Soda : I have only found this carbonated delight in Singapore so far (by the way, I had some of the best Southeast Asian foods there). It's hard to describe but it has a thick syrup, sweet, and carbonated. I particularly like the lemon-lime and other fruit flavors. Some people hate the stuff, but I love it, even better than root beer (yikes!). If you find it in the U.S., especially Northern California, let me know ASAP !
- Root Beer: The best root beer I have ever had, believe it or not, was Snapple 's Tru Root Beer; it is an all natural beverage with NO artificial colors or flavors, thus the name and the clear appearance. Unfortunately, it is not sold on the West Coast, and I believe the company may be phasing it out period. I ask you, in fact beg of you, to join me in both saving this excellent carbonated delight and also bringing it to the West Coast. Simply send a quick piece of propaganda to Snapple and maybe this Web campaign can get this well-deserving drink saved!
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES (for those of you of legal drinking age of course)
I have never been a big drinker, but over the many years I have developed some particular tastes. More significantly, I have gotten hip to some wines that really match up well with my taste buds. I have a serious sweet tooth, so I am very partial to white wines, and dessert wines in particular. Let me state up front that I am not trying to perpetrate as an expert here, but simply sharing with you a combo of my limited experience and the wisdom passed on to me from others. Hopefully, you will learn something as well!
- Midori Sour , Bacardi and Coke : These are my favorite liqueurs over the years. As I slowly become more sophisticated, other drinks will catch up. I started on Bacardi rums and recently got hip to Midori in January of 1996 (thanks Debbie wherever you are now). I actually started my drinking career on wine coolers, but rarely touch them anymore...except for nostalgia. Make your own drinks with Webtender !
- V. Sattui Winery (St. Helena, California, USA): This has got to be one of the better wine-tasting experiences in Napa Valley. I highly recommend a visit here. You will want to hang out for a few hours with wine, cheese, fruit, and desserts in the picnic area after snatching up the delicious wines from the exclusive selection. My favorite wines are the California Muscat (a sweet, fruity, smooth dessert wine with a hint of dryness or "bite"); Johannisberg Riesling - Off Dry (this has 2% sugar and is thus sweeter than the Dry, it is sweet but not as smooth as the Muscat having a bit more tanginess or "bite"); and the California Madeira (all I can say to this is WOW!!! If you like dessert wines this is a MUST. It is a mix of wine and brandy. It is sweet, smooth, but with a lot of kick. It has an ancient tradition and V. Sattui appears to be upholding it in award-winning form including the traditional wax-sealed, stout bottle). Go their web site for more info and to place orders. You canalso call 1-800-799-2337. You will NOT find their excellent wines in stores!
- Barenjager: This is honey liqueur made in Germany. I first sampled it a sophisticated little cafe in Atlanta's Buckhead district with a huge drink list. I was being my usual experimental/adventurous self and ordered this interesting thing. It came straight, and I had to sip on it all evening long, but it was smooth, sweet, going down warm wth the tingle of strong alcoholic content. I am not sure of the brand I had at the cafe, but the bottle I recently bought by Teucke & Koenig suggests serving it cold, and they recommend a whole host of recipes for Barnejager. I have to try anything but straight down the hatches...!
- Auslese: Another German product. My FIRST introduction to dessert wines, a result of an excellent choice of a German colleague of mine whilst fine dining in Rochester, Minnesota. I was simply startled. I never knew wine could taste so good. The version I had then was exceptionally crisp, sweet, very smooth, and very fruity. Perfect for my tastes. I couldn't get enough that night. Since then, I have found a 1992 Frenzh and a 1998 Leonard Kreusch Rheinhessen. I was told that white wines aren't meant to sit around, so that explains why I prefer the 1998 although the 1992 was not too bad either. Ultimately, I would like to track down the source of my initiation as that is as yet unmatched in quality and taste!
- Alize: OK...I have to admit. I first got hip to this drink listening to rappers mention this drink over and over. So of course eventually I had to taste what all the excitement was about. An excellent liqueur for the sweet toothes of the world. It is "a unique bled of natural passion fruit juices and cognac" from France. I have not had much of it since I first sampled it back in1996, but I am working on it after I get through all my dessert wines and Barenjager!
Over the past many years I have become a huge fan of Veggie Burgers although I am not a vegetarian. But since I eat very little red meat, veggie burgers have provided an excellent, and often BETTER, subsitute. I will compile a list of the best I have tasted in order of preference:
- Down Under Coffee (Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia - 1999). Absolutely THE BEST I have EVER had. I wish I could describe all the ingredients. But trust me, if you are ever in Sydney, Australia, you MUST try this one. It is located at the very north end of the main strip along the beach.
- Fibbar McGee's (Mountain View, CA, U.S.A.). Quite a surprise that a bar and hang out would have such a good veggie burger, but this place is definitely home to the best AMERICAN veggie burger I have ever had. Fibbar is located near the East end of downtown Mountain View on Castro St.
- Armadillo Willy's (Los Altos, CA, U.S.A.). This place supposedly has the best veggie burger in the area, but I found it quite ordinary. You should try it for yourself perhaps... Armadillo is located on San Antonio and El Camino behind/next to Chef Chu's.
I am a huge fan of the turkey burger. Some joints do it well in an attempt to replicate the beef hamburger experience. Others do not stand the test. Here is my ever-growing list of joints where I have experienced delicious turkey burgers:
- Chaplin's Sports Bistro HAD one of the best turkey burgers I have EVER tasted. Hands down. Chaplin's recreates the experience of the beef burger for those of us who cannot or do not eat beef. The burger is juicy, flavorful, and has all the right accessories! Sadly, I discovered in November, 2017 that Chaplin's made the unfortunate decision to stop serving this wonderful turkey burger.
- Cafe Intermezzo is exactly what a cafe should be: intimate with a LARGE variety of drink and dessert options. The turkey burger is a good flavor with a unique cranberry sauce option that I highly recommend. Very satisfying burger.
- Fuddruckers is well-known for its customizable burgers before the concept became such a fad in the 2010s. This franchise also offers a wide variety of meats, including turkey. Fuddruckers delivers a "straight-up" burger. It is not a unique flavor just well-done and a good meal.
- Jack's Bar & Restaurant has a burger that reminds me of the one Chaplins used to serve. it is grilled to perfection by someone who clearly put some thought and effort into how to make a flavorful and juicy offering. Well done!
Sweet Potato Fries (seemingly becoming more and more popular since 2012)
I am ALL about my sweet potato fries. I almost never eat regular fries anymore, but I will almost always get sweet potato fries if the option is available. I noticed starting in the 2010s that restaurants were starting to catch on to this healthier option. Unfortunately, some places like Chili's have started to back away. There are still great options!
- Chaplin's Sports Bistro has one of the best sweet potato offerings I have had. Just like the turky burgers, I can tell this place pays close attention to delivering a unique experience and flavor. The fries have the PERFECT combination of outside crunchiness and inside softness. Of course htis is an excellent complement to the turky burger.
- Fuddruckers has what I call a "sufficient" offering for sweet potato fries. It works in a pinch.
Other Fav Foods...and sometimes how to make 'em
Here, I also index some of my favorite foods and list a quick rating on places where I have eaten them.
Chicken and waffles
Double Chocolate Chip Pancakes
- Canopy Road Cafe (Tallahassee, FL) - funky joint. Waffle made out of sweet potato. Delicious!
- IHop - nothing special. I don't get the Chicken and Waffles here anymore
- Roscoe's (Southern California) - all-time classic and hands down the BEST
- Shari's (Castro Valley, CA) - decent. I put the gravy on the side and rarely eat it though
Makes 2 thick pancakes about 5 1/2 inches long and 4 inches wide. Adjust to taste and preferred quantity - note I like MY pancakes thick and VERY chocolatey! Maintain proportions.
|1 cup Kruteaz Honey Wheat light and fluffy pancake mix
||1/3 cup of water
|1/4 cup of Ghiradelli 60% premium baking chips
||1/4 cup of 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate (plus a 'pinch' more)
|1 teaspoon of Ghiradelli premium baking cocoa, 100% unsweetened
- Pre-heat griddle on medium heat (I use an old-fashion iron skillet)
- Put pancake mix in a mixing bowl (I use a metal one)
- Add water and beat mix until smooth (no lumps) - add more water for thinner pancakes.
- Add baking cocoa and mix thoroughly so that entire batter is chocolatey brown.
- Toss in chocolate chips and mix again.
- Pour pancake mix onto griddle to desired size.
- Final pancake will be roughly the width and length of the batter poured.
- Cook until bubbles start appearing in the top of the pancake.
- Flip pancake over and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Length of time depends on heat of griddle.
- Pancake is ready when the bottom is lightly browned.
Serve and enjoy! No syrup needed.
A breakfast classic, and easy to make right at home. Just hook-up a waffle maker and basic kitchen utensils and you're set. Here is my favorite recipe, complete with my own customized methods for enhanced chocolate-ness. The basic recipe comes courtesy of Fleischmann's Yeast (800-777-4959, U.S. only).
World Class Waffles (Makes 3-4 round waffles...well, that's what they say, but on my little griddle I spit out about 8!)
|2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
||2 cups of warm milk (105-115 degrees F). Note of wisdom: This is a must! Otherwise, dough will not rise properly.
|3 tablespoons sugar
||3 large eggs
|1 package of Fleishmann's RapidRise Yeast
||1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
|3/4 teaspoon salt
||2 teaspoons Spice Islands Pure Vanilla Extract
In large bowl combine all ingredients in the order listed (top to bottom, column one then column two); mix until just blended (you should see no lumps). Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 hour. Or cover and refrigerate overnight if desired. Stir down batter; bake in hot waffle iron until steaming stops and waffles are golden brown. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.
Use either or both of these essential flavor enhancers. (1) After dough has risen, drop into the batter a half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Mix well. And/or, (2) Melt 2 sqaures of Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate (800-431-1001, U.S. only). Drop into batter after it has risen, mix well. This adds a hint of chocolate flavoring throughout the waffle, you can try more or less to suit taste; it's color will be a darker brown as well. Enjoy! I know I do...
Other Restaurants where I have enjoyed flippin' forks (a VERY incomplete but growing list)
Atlanta area restaurants
The Beautiful Restaurant - one of my favorite breakfast joints of all time
Berkeley Area restaurants :
Big River Grille & Brewing Works - has good microbrewery (Chattanooga, TN)
Curry Curry (Thai - Smyrna, GA)
Fuego Spanish Grill
Gladys Knight & Ron Winan's Chicken and Waffles
J. Christopher's - breakfast and lunch
Jamaica Jamaica Carribean Restaurant (Underground Atlanta)
Lime Taqueria & Tequila Bar (Smyrna, GA)
Marietta Diner (Marietta, GA)
The Midtown Mellow Mushroom (also in Athens, GA)
Mt. Vernon - good homestyle Southern cooking (Chattanooga, TN)
Siri Thai (Athens, GA)
Taste of Thai (I kid you not...this is some of the BEST Thai found I have had ANYWHERE in the U.S.! - 2911 Chapel Hill Road; Douglasville, GA)
Top Spice Thai & Malaysian Cuisine
Thumbs Up (East Point)
The Ultimate Sports Bar & Grill - excellent option for chicken & waffles
Check out the link for an extensive listing. Here are some of my favorite B-town spots...
Ajanta (good Indian food, excellent setting)
Cafe de la Paz (excellent Latin American dishes)
Cancun (delicious burritos)
Cha Am (one of my favorite Thai spots)
Emeryville Market (good cheap food from all over the world - a must see)
Fat Apples (best for breakfast)
Homemade Cafe - Berkeley
Jupiter (a great casual hang out and chill spot - good beer selection too)
Khana Peena (excellent Indian food)
Skates on the Bay (actually best for drinks in the evening)
Thai Delight - includes an organic menu
Unicorn (slammin' fusion food at GREAT prices)
Conga's Cuban Restaurant
Catch 35 (the way swordfish is supposed to be grilled!)
Other East Bay Joints
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
Banana Blossom Thai Cuisine - Oakland: Excellent food and very kid-friendly!
San Francisco restaurants
City Bistro - Hayward
La Pinata (Mexican) - Hayward
Thai Sky Cuisine (Thai) - Pleasanton: Excellent food. First place I had "original" Thai Iced Tea - lime juice but no cream. Never heard of it before.
Another Henessey's - specialty deli and wine shop
Los Angeles area
E&O Trading Company (Asian fusion)
Esperanto (Pan Latin)
Pakwan Restaurant (Indian) - 2 SF locations
Shari's - Castro Valley. Well-known for their pies.
Specialty's Cafe & Bakery - several locations
Victor's (causal Mexican - some of the best burritos around)
Roscoe's Chicken And Waffles (my FAVORITE breakfast spot - a must eat spot when I am in the area) - Los Angeles
Thai Wave - Huntington Beach
Fusia - in the Luxor hotel (simple menu but excellent, elegant Asian food at a decent price in Vegas terms)
Gardunos - in the Palms hotel. The only place in Vegas that serves up the delicious (and hard to find) New Mexican treat "sopaipilla"!
Lotus of Siam (Thai) - an ecclectic mix of Asian foods and wines.
Pin-Kaow Restaurant (Thai)
Restaurant Julien (good French food)
Palo Alto Area restaurants
Aya Sushi (excellent variety - even the cooked stuff!) - San Carlos
Raleigh, North Carolina
Azteca La Mexicatessen (some of the best authentic Mexican food I have ever had!) - Redwood City
Cafe Borrone - Menlo Park: - great desserts, gourmet sandwiches
Fiesta Del Mar (Mexican) - 2 Mountain View locations
Frankie, Johnny, and Luigi Too (Italian) - Mountain View
La Fiesta (Mexican - my FIRST mole dish!) - Mountain View
La Pachanga (Mexican - good mole and extensive menu) - Redwood City
Nola's (lively Louisiana style) - PA
Oregano's (excellent wood-fired oven pizzas) - broder with Mountain View
Siamese Kitchen - San Carlos
Stack's - Menlo Park, Redwood City: Great breakfast spot
Straits (good fusion) - PA
Taqueria El Grullense (good, authentic Mexican food)- PA
Musa - Japanese
South Bay, Other (including Fremont area)
Banh Thai - Fremont
Blowfish (good sushi variety) - San Jose
Cocurry Thai Cuisine - Newark
Curry King (Indian) - Union City (some of the BEST samosas and chicken I have ever had!)
Dhaba Restaurant (excellent fast Indian food) - Sunnyvale
Golden Buddha, The (great Chinese food, lots of it, and reasonable prices) - San Jose
My Thai Restaurant - Fremont
Straits (good fusion) - San Jose
Thai Basil (one of my fav Thai spots) - Sunnyvale
Canopy Road Cafe - Good chicken and waffles, very rich sweet potato pancakes
Siam Sushi - hands down, the BEST pineapple fried rice I have EVER had! Amazing flavor. (July 28, 2012)
Cubanos - Silver Spring, MD
All Over the World
(I have been many places but it will take time for me to recollect the various names of places where I have eaten!)
Boudreaux's Cajun Kitchen (a popular chain) - Houston, TX
Casual joints and other chains
Windows - Baltimore, MD (a restaurant in the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in the Inner Harbor area. I had an amazing shrimp and cheese grits meal. Yep! Believe it!
Arby's (The best chicken fingers I ever had...until I discovered Zaxby's! And then Arby's got rid of the chicken fingers...)
Armadillo Willy's BBQ
Bahama Breeze (love that Fire-Roasted Jerk Shrimp and Cuban bread!)
Baja Fresh (Mexican)
The Bamboo Club, Asian Bistro (I have been to the Tampa, FL location)
Bueno Bueno (Mexican) - Mountain View, CA
Cucina, Cucina! (Italian)
Elephant Bar (European, Asian, and American fusion)
Extreme Pizza (very different types of toppings...and good)
Fatz Cafe (Southeast) - a challenger to Zaxby's for best chicken fingers in the universe
Houston's: I LOVE their veggie burger!!!
International House of Pancakes (I only eat the chocolate chip pancakes!)
Jason's Deli (Alabama and Georgia and..?)
Panera Bread - with free WiFi, I am now completely hooked!
Rubio's - the salmon burrito is the main thing I buy
Rojoz Wraps & Smoothies (exotic combinations!) - Saratoga, CA
Una Mas! - one of my favorite Mexican food chains
Uno Chicago Grill
Up the Creek Fish Camp & Grill (Alabama and Georgia and..?)
Zaxby's (mainly in the Southeast - my favorite chicken joint bar none)