Saturday, November 22, 2008

Boston Chocolate Buffet

Because it is Thanksgiving, I feel obligated to say something about thankfulness and American forefathers, so I will say that just up the coast from Plymouth rock (in Boston), I found something that I was tremendously thankful for: a CHOCOLATE BUFFET. The Langham Hotel's Café Fleuri has a chocolate buffet on Saturday afternoons September through June, $40 per person, and it is completely worth it. The friend I went with told me that this was something she wants to do before she dies, but I would seriously consider going back again.

There was a surprising number of kid birthday parties in the restaurant, and an array of packaged Tootsie Rolls, Hershey's Kisses, and other candies to cater to them, but here are photos of the endless grown up options.

The photo above is the "Wicked" hot chocolate, one of two hot chocolate options with handmade marshmallows; this hot chocolate was quite rich, with a touch of Grand Marnier.

A crêpe bar provided freshly made chocolate crêpes: chocolate batter, and your choice of various chocolate, candy, and fruit fillings, with crème anglaise or whipped cream to top it.

Beautiful little sweets proliferated: an Oreo with a hat of mint cream, a glass of chocolate quinoa pudding and raspberry jam, and milk chocolate caramel layered cake.

We filled our plates with random goodness (clockwise from upper left): salted chocolate caramel, mini whoopie pie, chocolate madeleine, carrot cake with white chocolate icing, cannolli tipped with pistachio, chocolate pecan tart, pink and white cookie, chocolate coconut mound, and a chocolate fondu-dipped marshmallow.

An elegant and subtle Boston cream pie.

Stacks of cannollis!

Macarons! I may have tucked a few of these into my purse: pistachio with chocolate filling (a bit too crisp on the outside) and raspberry (quite good!)

Not chocolate, but very pretty: thick tapioca with fresh blueberries.

Needless to say, I only had one bite of each thing, and worked hard at taking my time to eat things slowly and space them out with coffee. All the staff working there were extremely helpful and in good spirits; who wouldn't be in good spirits at a chocolate buffet? It was a decadent, beautiful experience.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election cake!

On this exciting day for America, I had to make my first patriotic cake! It's half blue and half red to remain bipartisan, but the blue side did get eaten first in honor of our next president. And yes, there are fifty stars. Recipe to come later - a layer of homemade chocolate cake and a layer of white cake, filled in the middle with buttercream frosting, fudge, and crushed Oreos...I should probably go eat another piece...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Foodie Halloween!

While I still enjoy candy corn on occasion, my current inclinations took me back to Euro Pane for a little "trick or treat"-ing. I had some real food for lunch first: the best ham and cheese sandwich I've ever had, pictured above (sorry, non-pork eating friends). On wonderfully crusted, buttered bread, a crème fraîche-like sauce supported thick and tasty slices of ham, under cheese deemed "good fromage" by my Swiss friend. And fresh herbs sprinkled on to boot!

As a sweet finish to the meal, I bought some of the gourmet marshmallows they carry; these are the heaviest and hugest (and most expensive) marshmallows I've ever seen! Each marshmallow is about 2x2 inches, coated in granulated sugar, and made with corn syrup, sugar, gelatin, and vanilla.

Nice texture, soft and chewy; the corn syrup must help make this texture more similar to store-bought jet puff marshmallows than mine are. The egg whites in my marshmallows also make them much lighter. But I loved these mallowy mouthfuls!

And of course, the best macarons in L.A.! That I've tried thus far, that is. Pistachio, caramel au fleur de sel, and espresso with ganache filling. I only tried the caramel last time, so I took the espresso this time and gave the others to my friends. I'm learning to be more generous with my macarons...

I was actually pleased to see that these were delicate enough to get smooshed a bit in the bag. As my previous posts reveal, some are just so firm that they are not reminiscent of meringue; these have the crust on the outside, but are soft and light and chewy on the inside. No tricks here - a "treat" indeed!