June 25, 2017

LA Burdick: Hot Chocolate for Adults


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Today I have an appointment with my producer Sabrina.  She is not just my web producer and editor but also a dessert maker and avowed chocolate junkie.  For the meeting Sabrina has chosen LA Burdick, a “quiet café” on 20th street in Manhattan.  Apparently this place is the new “It place” for everything “Single sourced chocolate.”  Just so you know, these are all code words for “Places where women hang out.”

I was impressed by her choice – the place was quiet and charming with soothing background music and a rich perfume of chocolate permeated the air.  A barista bar for steamed hot cocoa, espressos and more. The pastry counter has French desserts and truffles all made “in house.”  Displays of hand crafted chocolate bars and such line the walls.

The hot cocoa here is called The Nibble, not the manliest word to write but then again I didn’t create it.  I have to admit it might be the best tasting hot chocolate recipe of all time: it seems to consist of melting bars of dark chocolate into steamed milk.  That’s it. It is even better than the hot chocolate I had in Italy during a recent trip.

I was really enjoying the vibe in this place.   It was a cold day right after the blizzard and the place was packed with attractive women dressed in sexy NYC winter attire.  An variety of leather boots, leggings and snug sweaters.  Their faces were pure bliss as they indulged themselves in chocolate.  Inspired by the other customers, I purchased a bar of LA Burdick’s dark chocolate.  This would be a special dessert for my wife later on that night.

I picked up my son from daycare and we arrived home by 5:30pm.  We were running late but this dinner menu was so easy I wasn’t worried about getting it out on time.  We washed up and I set him on a chair at the sink plunging baby arugula in a big bowl of water.  He loves washing stuff so this kept him him busy while I prepped dinner.  Tonight’s dinner is a light and easy no-cook meal except for the dessert, so all I need is a large wooden cutting board and two plates.

Appetizer Cheese board with sliced apples.

Boucheron, an aged French goat cheese.  Spanish blue cheese with large salt crystals and a peppercorn Pecorino to balance it all out.  Serve with small bowls of truffle honey, dijon and salty almonds.

Basket of good bread with butter and extra virgin olive oil on the side.

Entree Proscuitto slices draped across a dinner plate with a mound of baby arugula and pear wedges on top.  Aged balsamico, flaky sea salt and a pepper grinder for the dressing.

Wine pairing Serve dinner with red wine of choice.  Perhaps a Petit Syrah or a Pinot Noir.

Dessert Steamed milk with melted dark chocolate and a shot of Amaretto.

As the wife walked in we had just finished cleaning up and setting the table. Well, actually I did the cleaning and setting up.  Our son was still at the sink playing with the water.

It can be pretty hard to pull off a romantic dinner with a two year old present, but we try.  I set the table with wine glasses, linen napkins, and candlelight.  Don’t forget a chair with booster seat, sippy cup,  plastic bowls of pear slices and a cut up hot dog.  “Thomas and friends” trains scattered around the table for decoration.. Ah, family  life!

Dinner was a hit and wow, did my wife get into that hot chocolate!  When I saw those half closed eyes, I knew the meal had finished on a high note.  Unfortunately we still needed to clean up, give the kid a bath and read some books together before we got him to bed.  But then again, that’s what the left over hot chocolate is for.

Hot chocolate recipe:

  1. Bring 4 cups skim milk to boil and remove from heat.
  2. While milk is heating, grate or chop the dark chocolate bar.
  3. Whisk dark chocolate into milk till very smooth.
  4. Mix in two ounces Amaretto.

Serve in espresso cups or small tea cups.

Use remaining hot cocoa later as needed.

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