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Dec 18, 2008 04:50 PM

Cozy Chow Treats on a Cool Day

With a snowstorm in the offing, I thought I'd start this book-end post to my summer thread about cool chow treats on a hot day.

Lots of things come to mind - a great bowl of Pho from Pho Pasteur, a bowl of beef borscht from Prague Deli, a latte from Dark Horse, etc.

But the one that's freshest on my mind is the hot chocolate I tried today from MoRoCo, the new cafe in Yorkville. This place has an old world luxe that seems decidedly out of place in these tough recessionary days - I mean a $10 cup of melted Valrhona chocolate, a $24 glass of Veuve? But then I thought, maybe it is a well-timed venture - with so many starting to really reign in the big expenses, maybe a little splurge like this is just what the doctor ordered.

Anyway, enough social commentary. Let's talk chocolate. They have 3 kinds of hot chocolate - dark Valrhona, milk chocolate chai and white chocolate orange. I can't speak for the other 2 as we shared a pot of the dark chocolate. What arrived was a little pitcher of gorgeous liquid chocolate (like Soma's shots), 2 adorable cups on funky plates with silver spoons, little fluted glasses filled with freshly whipped cream and one truffle apiece (our choice). You take the first sip and think - OMG, this is rich. How am I going to drink this? But then the little child came out in both of us - soon we were creating chocolate, whipped cream parfaits in our cup, then we tried a bit more chocolate stirred through with some whipped cream. We would dip the spoonful of chocolate into the whipped cream glass and then vice versa. It was decidedly Benjamin Buttonesque - totally child-like and yet completely, elegantly grown-up..

They have a menu of lightish eats - some sandwiches, salads, goat cheese souffle, etc. We tried a few things - all overpriced and all good, nothing standout. They even show smores on the menu which sounds like they bring a little stove to your table and let you create the smores yourself - how fun would that be with a glass of champagne?

This would be a great spot for anyone but especially for ladies that lunch, for girlfriends hanging out, for couples taking a little romantic shopping break, for entertaining someone from out of town. I can't think of another place like it in the city. And the bathrooms - stunning (I think the owner is a designer) - pedastel vanities, bejewelled mirrors - where the third floor Holt's Cafe is striking in a white, bright, modern and spare way, this place is at the other end of the spectrum - dark, opulent, elegant and very old world in its feel. This is a great place to stop in over the holidays to warm up on a snowy, winter day.

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  1. mmm that sounds really good!

    My current fave is Ambience hot chocolate (it sounds very similar though from MoRoCo) really thick and amazing!

    Other good places to hang around for me are Le Gourmand on Spadina. It does get a little busy in there but it is so warm inside there that it just makes you want to hang around and enjoy the cookies! Also (I suspect) the Mercury on Main will be a great spot. Good coffee and the couch is really comfy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Otonabee

      Is Ambience the little spot on Queen East? If so, I tried it last year after someone posted about it here. It was really good hot chocolate, but with milk right? I liked it a lot. It wasn't too sweet. And they were very nice in there.

      1. re: peppermint pate

        That sounds right. Queen East closer to Broadview. I though the fact that you got a free truffle with it was a really nice addition.

        Had a couple of times were we hit Rose's Cafe for Bahn Mi sandwiches and then to Ambience for hot chocolate. So divine!

    2. I found the first sip of MoRoCo's dark hot chocolate decadent, but more than an ounce was too much for me. It was as rich as the ganache I made for my grasshopper squares last week. I shared the $16 pot for 2 with a friend, and only finished about half the serving. It seemed wasteful to leave it on the table, but the serving was too big considering the caloric load/richness of the ingredients. I hope MoRoCo will consider thimble-sized servings in the future;)

      I like roti in this type of weather. The channa roti ($4.50) at Island Foods in the Village by the Grange foodcourt was the perfect warm-up after spending an hour outside today.

      2 Replies
      1. re: phoenikia

        I agree with you about the richness. After the first sip, we both thought - whoa, no way we can finish this. But then something came over us - perhaps an insulin hit - and we found ourselves manically gobbling it up. In future, though, I would definitely split the single portion between 2 people.

        1. re: phoenikia

          I didn't mind the portion size of the chocolate drink at all once I mixed the whipped cream in to cut it. The desserts were enjoyable, though not sublime. I'd definitely skip the truffles next time - very disappointing.