Hallelujah, my savior has arrived -- and He's made of chocolate! A few months ago a shop near my house closed down and, days later, the windows were covered in butcher block paper and a handmade sign was taped to the door: Bittersweet: the Chocolate Café (coming soon)! My curiosity was piqued.
Well, Praise the Lord, it's open at last! I walked past it on Thursday and veered immediately inside the doors when I realized they were open. What I saw made me gasp: shelf after shelf of organic, imported and/or artisanal chocolate bars -- I nabbed a rare Scharffen Berger mix of hazelnuts and dark chocolate -- an abundance of cookbooks dedicated to chocolate, a blackboard scribbled with six varieties of hot chocolate from spicy to white chocolate with cardamom to the creamy milk-infused classic, and an array of sweet treats on display. I sniffed at the glass case: bittersweet pot de cremes in teacups, thick square brownies, chocolate chip walnut cookies the size of a hubcap. The man behind the counter immediately sensed my chocolate lust -- either he was a kindred spirit, or not everyone tries to lick the cakes through the glass. He asked what I'd like.
"What's your favorite?" I asked breathlessly? He pointed to a chocolate-bottomed bar of oats and granola topped with chocolate chips, nuts and raisins.
Blech! Obviously he was no one to go by. I pointed instead to a miniature bittersweet chocolate buttermilk cupcake with a swirl of vanilla frosting and a mere whisper of chocolate shavings on top. "Shall I wrap it?" he asked with a trace of irony in his voice.
And as painful as it was, dear readers, I said yes. I needed to bring it home to photograph for you. I took the three blocks home at a verrrry, verrrry slow pace, lest any of the frosting be marred. Then I placed it on my grandmother's white china plate, snapped a photo ("Make love to the camera!" I shouted) and then, in three bites MUNCH MUNCH MUNCH did away with the moist bit of chocolate bliss. (sigh) I am reborn.
Bittersweet Chocolate Café, San Francisco, 2123 Fillmore Street, 415.346.8715