Monthly Archives: February 2010

Vegan Chocolate Reviewer: Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar

TJ's dark chocolate lover's bar 3

I would not describe myself as a chocoholic, cacao connoisseur, or chocolate fiend. But I am a solemn devotee of the food with a 200-year history as a solid confection (though cacao has a 2000-year history in human consumption as a beverage). Purported to possess aphrodisiacal qualities, lauded for its content of antioxidant-rich flavonoids, and appreciated as a source of mood-boosting theobromine, chocolate is such an amazing foodstuff that I feel virtually no shame for consuming half a bar religiously each week.

Chocolate reviews will thus become a regular feature, not for the sole purpose of grading products but mainly to share my favorite finds and encourage others to enjoy their own chocolate tastings.

TJ's dark chocolate lover's bar

Product: Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar
Price: $1.49 for 3.5 oz at Trader Joe’s
Type of chocolate: 85% cacao from Colombia
My notes: Chocolatey aroma, like the inside of a confectionery shop. Smooth, shiny surface. Somewhat soft snap. Readily melts in mouth with a soft, chewy bite. Initial fruity taste slightly redolent of beer, with a bitter cocoa aftertaste. Best for consuming just one or several squares at a time.
Overall rating (out of five stars): **

TJ's dark chocolate  lover's bar 2

TJ's dark chocolate lover's bar nutrition

The package comes with two individually-wrapped 1.75-oz bars. Perhaps I’d give this a *** rating if I was very fond of dark, dark chocolate, but I like to be able to put away about 2 oz at a time without feeling ill.

TJ's dark chocolate lover's bar 5

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Birthday and Dinner at Millennium

Last Friday I finally got around to turning 20. It’s about time, isn’t it? To celebrate, I went into San Francisco with a (gorgeous) friend at UC Berkeley and my (gorgeous) boyfriend. We spent the morning in the (gorgeous) botanical gardens of Golden Gate Park, then explored the (gorgeous) King Tut exhibit at the de Young (wish I could have taken pictures there! ).

sf botanical garden - gaby & me 2

sf botanical garden - john & me 2

sf botanical garden - gaby & rhododendron

sf botanical garden rhododendron

The afternoon was cold and full of rain, but evening was cozy and full of delicious smells inside my favorite restaurant, the Millennium on Geary Street. The winter menu boasts an array of richer, heartier fare than the menu of summer. Our trio had caribbean tempeh, polenta nera cake, and yuba roulade with desserts of “death by chocolate and peanut butter” and meyer lemon pound cake.

millennium bday dinner

Though the dishes were tasty and interesting, and my friend Gaby loved the daily bread with white bean-thyme spread, I was a bit underwhelmed. Dining at the Millennium is a pricey but special treat that always makes me feel I’ve spent my money well, yet only about half the time am I truly stunned rigid with amazement at the food’s spectacular deliciousness. And the other times it’s merely great.

I asked for a candle in my little cake, because I wanted to have my birthday wish. But when I blew out the flame, what did I wish for? Nothing. Maybe that’s the problem with me. Or maybe I didn’t want to dawdle and think of wishes while facing a lemon cake topped with candied kumquats and raspberry sorbet.

millennium meyer lemon pound cake with candied kumquats 2

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