This weekend I got to enjoy the second annual SF Chocolate Salon. Actually, make that almost enjoy. There were too many people and it was held in such a small space; the line was ginormous and the crowd packed. All the free chocolate couldn't persuade me to stay, and I fled in about 30 minutes. It was a tough call to make; there were loads of great chocolatiers handing out samples, and I know I didn't get to try everything. However, the event organizers are ensuring that next year it will be in a larger venue and will be a much better planned event. In case you were one of the three people on the planet who didn't make it, here's what you missed out on. Click the "Start" button to check it out.
If you've ever found yourself in a new city and wished you knew where to go to find a chocolate payload then consider yourself lucky. Just in time for chocolate month, the folks at TasteTV have released The Chocolate Guide, a book on local chocolatiers, chocolate makers, chocolate shops, and more. This edition covers the West Coast — it says it covers California, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia; however, I found it to be really California-centric — and gives you descriptions and photos of each place. It's a pretty comprehensive guide — to California anyway — and would make for a fun chocolate road-trip tour guide. However, as much as I love drooling over chocolate, I found it to be somewhat frustrating. To see my thoughts on the book, read more
Last weekend I had a wonderfully unique opportunity to dine in the dark. And when I say dark, I mean dark, as in I was blindfolded. It was an interesting experience, if not a rather difficult one. More than once I picked up my fork and put nothing in my mouth, and I'm not even going to tell you the number of times I shoved a green bean into my eye. And because my fantastic tablemates were also blindfolded, I definitely threw social etiquette out the window, propped my elbows on the table and used my finger as a way to get my food on the fork.
The SF Dark Dining event took place at the Fort Mason Center and while the windows were blacked out, it wasn't really dark enough. So we took our dark napkins and tied them around our eyes and awaited our meal. The menu was rather ambitious for a place with no kitchen — the caterers had to prep everything before hand and finish it off in convection ovens — and it resulted in just so-so to not-so-good flavor. However, the experience was quite interesting as my sense of smell and taste were definitely heightened. Pine nuts suddenly became PINE NUTS and blue cheese was BLUE cheese.
While I wished they had paired down the meal options and went a much simpler route, it's something that I'm glad I did. The cost is currently $95 per person, and even though it's a three-course meal, I didn't feel that the food was worth the experience. However, this was their first time running the event, and they were definitely taking a lot of feed back and getting used to the "kitchen". I think the event can only get better, and if you do go, be sure to wear dark clothes (or a bib!).
To check out some pictures of the dark dining prep — I love the way the waitstaff look in night vision goggles — as well as a link to some video footage, read more