A respite from the sensory overload of downtown Manhattan. In the form of chocolate on ice.
NYC – As sure as the sun sets in the west, I hit a low point while traversing the big city. It happens mid-afternoon, maybe around 3 or 4 p.m., definitely after lunch and before dinner. It occurs in the midst of a magical day of high-impact culture: boutiques, walking, museums.
My blood sugar drops and my legs won't work again until I take a break and find some nourishment. I am conveniently (and strategicaly) positioned near MarieBelle, the specialty chocolate shop and cafe in the heart of Soho. The store is a jewelbox of a place, with walls covered in blue and gold and lit by crystal chandeliers. The aroma of chocolate is intoxicating. As are the expertly styled displays of their signature blue boxes.
I head to the back of the shop, beyond a sign that reads Cocoa Bar. Around the corner is the sort of cafe one stumbles upon in Europe. This is the kind of place that appeals to the little girl in me: piles of pastries, twinkly lights hanging from the ceiling and, yes, another giant crystal chandelier lighting the intimate, mirror-paneled room. The speciality here is Aztec hot chocolate and you can choose American style (with milk) or European style (stronger and with water). I order an iced version, which is outrageously decadent and refreshing at the same time. Small bites are also available, so I indluge in the carmelized banana and cinnamon crepe served with a small bowl of vanilla gelato and fresh strawberries.
Before I know it, thirty minutes pass and the last bit of icy chocolate goodness has been sipped from my glass. My energy is back and I feel inspired. On the way out I pick up Aztec hot chocolate mix so I can share the experience with my husband. I wonder if the strong cocoa blend will have the same restorative effects when prepared in my kitchen back in Hollywood. I suspect not but there's only one way to find out. At the last minute, I buy a box of chocolates, too.
484 Broome St.
New York, NY 10012
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