Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jacques Torres- New York, New York

Jacques Torres- Wicked Hot Chocolate

After I left the cookie haven, I decided to swagger down Amsterdam Avenue. I didn't even make it one block when I stopped in my tracks. I looked up and saw a beige awning with white and orange writing. I glanced at the window and saw the words, “Jacques Torres,” scribbled on the glass. Then it hit me like an epileptic, chocolate shock. I had suddenly come to the realization that I was, in fact, standing in front of THE Jacques Torres* chocolate shop. It was like I stumbled upon the hope diamond of cocoa, the freakin' holy grail of the sweet God.

I walked in and sniffed the air like Copper, the hound dog. It smelt like an ultra sweet version of a chocolate-laced pumpkin pie. Overall, Jacques Torres looked like Godiva's elegant and more sophisticated fraternal twin, minus the gold and black d├ęcor. The walls were painted orange and lined with shelves stocked with pre-packed, ready-to-purchase chocolates and Torres apparel. I had seen the shop on Best Thing I Ever Ate, where Giada De Laurentiis endorsed the wicked hot chocolate. It was surreal to be standing inside!

I was so excited. I had the entire place to myself. I approached the girl behind the glass casing, “Hello! How are ya?” I said. The stocky lil fille glared and gave a me a brusquely, “Hello.” She looked like the female version of Mick Mars and acted like Eeyore. I always thought this chocolate establishment would be like a real life version of Wonka's Factory but this Motley Crue, heavy metal, bitch was making it seem like a drag. I quickly decided she was not going to ruin my chocolate escapade. Pivot. (*Ross Gellar voice*)

I strolled the perimeter of the store, glancing at the champagne truffles, assorted milk chocolates and cookies. “Do you have any hot chocolate?” I asked the girl. “Yes. We have a whole coffee bar.” She answered derisively and pointed to the right corner. “The special is the wicked hot chocolate. Want that?” “Why yes, I totally want that try that!”
I said in a mockingly equivalent tone.

The loopy calligraphy font on the menu said this wicked hot chocolate was a mix of “allspice, cinnamon, ground, sweet ancho chili peppers, and smoked, ground chipotle chili peppers.” How could I refuse? I ordered the iced version. She made a batch and served it in a Starbucks like plastic cup. I sat on a velvet couch at the front of the store and prepared to enjoy my European treat.

Yuuuccckkk! First of all, this chocolate mud is NOT hot chocolate! Everyone knows hot cocoa is about the experience. It is a delicious memory that transports you back to the days of sitting by a fire and waiting for Santa. This drink is thick and tastes like the barista threw all the ingredients in a blender and served it with extra cornstarch. Even after further sips, the chocolate sludge only got worse. I did get a hint of the chili peppers and cinnamon but the ultra-rich cocoa was so overpowering it mostly tasted like a melted chocolate bar sprinkled with Christmas and caliente spices. I appreciate your truffles, Jacques Torres, but seriously---your hot cocoa tastes like shit. I am American. I like my hot chocolate with equal parts chocolate powder, froth, milk, sugar, and marshmallows. Oh, and no chili peppers.
(Most articles all rhapsodize about how amazing this chocolate gunk is but I still stick by my opinion: chocolate tar with hot cinnamon.)

*For all of you neophyte foodies, Jacques Torres is a world renowned pastry chef and chocolatier. He is French and most people refer to him as the “king of chocolate.”

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