We sent intern Lisa Collins out to explore decadent dessert destinations in a Chevy. Read her report below.
Saturday was a sweet day for a handful of dessert lovers who were treated to a pre-Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt by Chevy. Couples were given their own General Motors vehicle to use for the day as well as clues to each of the locations.
The sweet hunt started off in Inwood Village at Rise No. 1, the country’s only souffle-specific restaurant.
Our appetites were more than whetted by a sampling of chocolate and strawberry souffles, each hand-drizzled with warm chocolate or strawberry sauce. Anticipating the day of dessert-eating ahead, it was reassuring to learn that the strawberry souffle was only 122 calories.
It was also reassuring to learn that Rise No. 1 tries to stay as green as possible by filtering water in-house, using sustainable energy sources, and decorating with recycled materials and antiques. Definitely an excellent date night choice for the environmentally conscious foodie.
After gorging on decadent souffles, guests were given their first clue: “Victoria has secrets and apparently chocolate does too…” We followed the clue to Chocolate Secrets on Oak Lawn and were each greeted by a dainty plate of four chocolates that were almost too pretty to eat.
The selection included a white chocolate filled with Madagascan vanilla bean, chosen for the oaky sweetness that comes from Madagascar’s volcanic soil; a savory chocolate-covered salted caramel; a milk chocolate pumpkin spice made with real pumpkin purée; and a smoky lavender dark chocolate. We were instructed to eat them counter-clockwise for the best chocolate-eating experience. Each piece was hand brushed with cocoa butter to create decorative patterns, a process the chocolatier said takes four days.
The next clue, “Dude, where’s your chocolate? Somewhere sweet…” took us out to Dude, Sweet Chocolate in the Bishop Arts District. No traditional treats to be found here, as owner Katherine Clapner told us, “We do things differently in here, without a doubt.”
Clapner breaks the traditional rules of chocolate shops and makes her own. Rule number one: no milk or white chocolate. Why?
“It’s not chocolate. Once you start to add sugar and milk, it becomes something else,” Clapner said.
However, her chocolate purist beliefs do not stop her from experimenting with unique ingredients. The Fungus Amoungus toffee is made with porcini mushrooms, roasted pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate, while the signature artisan chocolates have ingredients ranging from Louisiana tobacco to black garlic.
We also sampled the Miss Piggy, a wacky caramel corn made with bacon fat.
“These wouldn’t normally be served in a chocolate store, but I like them. And it’s my store,” Clapner said of the popcorns.
However, don’t expect these year round. With a pastry chef background, Clapner likes to use seasonal ingredients and switches up the menu about four times a year. Dude, Sweet Chocolate doesn’t use any processed sugar or corn syrup and buys most ingredients locally—many right around the corner from its neighbors in the Bishop Arts District.
Our last clue, “Hola Chocolate Conquistadores! Now that you’ve got your bag of chocolates, meet us at this Bishop Arts restaurante,” took a bit of translating to figure out, but we finally eased out of our sugar rush at the foodie heaven down the street, Bolsa.
Group favorites included the bruschetta tasting, the wagyu burger with Vermont white cheddar, and the habanero-infused passion whiskey fizz.
Although I’m not sure I can ever think about chocolate again after this day, I would recommend taking your Valentine to my favorite stop, Dude, Sweet Chocolate—it is sure to be an adventure. —Lisa Collins