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Jun 20, 2004 01:48 PM

Cafe Cacao Report

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It's a little better than mediocre -- but definitely not great. I had a pressed mozerella and garlic rapini sandwich, served with some overly large pieces of lettuce with mild dressing on the side. My friend had an arrugula salad that she said was good. The sandwich was more grilled than pressed and a bit too greasy. And while I loved the raab in the sandwich, the mozerella couldn't stand up to it and was lost. A third flavor -- some sort of mustard or sauce might have been good to balance out the sharp taste of the rapini.

I was, of course, most excited about any and all things chocolate and the sweets were great, in that you can't go too wrong with a sharffen berger filled pastry. But they were not inventive, interesting or even as good as some of the bakeries around town who are using sharffen berger, or other great chocolate, in their treats. We had a chocolate mouse, which was very good and rich and chocolate-y, and we took some pastries to go, which were all equally yummy in their chocolate-y goodness. However, I would not stop at Cafe Cacao to pick-up pastires, above a better pastry maker that uses their great chocolate.

The absolute biggest disappointment though, was their hot chocolate. They have both hot chocolate and hot cocoa on the menu. Hot chocolate is more expensive and uses actual chocolate in addition their cocoa powder. I recently posted on the international board that I adored the chocolate at Angelina's and asked where could I find similar hot chocolate in the Bay. Cafe Cacao was suggested as a possibility.

The hot chocolate arrived cool to the touch and of the very light color that you get when you're making chocolate from a bar and either haven't mixed it properly or haven't used enough chocolate. I sent it back and it came back just lukewarm. It did not have a rich chocolate flavor, it had a sitting-around consistency (which, after asking, I found out it is) and it was not served with creme.

It's possible Cafe Cacao is one of the those places where, if you know exactly what to order, it's good. There's nothing I was impressed enough by, to go back for.

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    Laurel Corbett

    I'm visiting from New York and Cafe Cacao was on my list of places to eat. Do other people feel the same way that Oakland Veggie Girl does (maybe it's because what she ate was vegetarian?). I looked at her other postings and they seem descriptive, but I wonder if some eating establishments do a better job preparing meat than cheese or vegetable or egg dishes. Also, I realize this is a side question, but I'm new to this website and I don't understand how to do a search *within* a board. Can someone explain that?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Laurel Corbett

      Can't answer the Cafe Cacao question, but there are two ways to search within the board: the first is to use control F (find on this page) to search for any words that might be actually on the page (i.e. message headers). This is particularly useful if you're looking for a specific place (Union Square or Napa) or a specific restaurant name (Cortez, Defina, etc.).

      You can also use the main search engine on the Chowhound home page (go up to the top of the page, click the link to the California board, and on the California board there's a link to the home page). If you add "francisco" to your search terms, it should limit your results to this board (more or less). So for example, if you want to look for comments about the best chocolates in San Francisco, you could search "chocolates francisco" and see what comes up (quite a lot, actually, pretty mouthwatering).

    2. Pet peeve -- restaurants that don't deliver what they describe on the menu. For instance, at brunch I ordered the poached eggs wuth browned butter and rosemary. What came were two bare eggs. The waitress apologized and then returned with a small cup of melted butter with some rosemary floating in it. My daughter's dish was supposed to have caramelized onions, but came with a few barely fried bits. That's it for Cafe Cacao! nojones

      2 Replies
      1. re: Nojones

        I did a tasting last year because we were thinking about having our wedding reception there. Total disappointment. Salmon that was ok, but nothing my hudband and I couldn't have prepared at home. Mediocre appetizers. Nothing I'd pay for to eat out--and certainly not for our wedding-- and I haven't been back.

        1. re: Nojones

          I was there around a year ago and had the worst service EVER. The food was mediocre and I am being kind. I will never return to the restaurant again.

        2. I had a cookie there but don't remember it. I've never heard anything outstanding about Cafe Cacao...mostly, much like you, it was okay but the tour and choco was great. My sense is that it's really there as a convenience or add-on to fill out the destination.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ML8000

            I ate there not long after it opened and was impressed by the quality and simplicity of the food (breakfast). The menu items were simple, but the food that arrived showed the Chez Panisse pedigree of that chef. Too bad it's gone downhill since then.