Review: Locolat Café

Do you ever have one of those days when you’re running to meet someone and then you realize that not only are you not late, but you’re early? So then you and your dining companion, now with unexpected time on your hands, decide to stop for coffee and you sit outside sipping tiny chocolate espressos in the first sunny day in a week and the air is cold and bites your cheeks but the sun is warm and you look over and smile at the person you love and suddenly you’re on the best surprise date ever?

No?

WELL REGARDLESS, you all should still check out the warm, chic, decadent Locolat Café.  At 1781 Florida Ave NW, it’s just on the other side of MINT and El Tamarindo.  I’ve visited this little gem twice– in the same weekend, no less– and have been perfectly thrilled each time.  Despite being small and narrow, the interior is bright and friendly, the exterior wall of large windows reflecting lots of light into a chic black and white interior.  A glass display case runs nearly the entire length of the cafe and showcases rows of candies, cakes, and other treats to tempt the hungry and sugar-deprived, and if you can squeeze past the chocolate-zombies gazing into the cases, definitely grab a seat at one of the small tables indoors or outside at a surprisingly spacious patio area.

Though the cafe does offer a lunch and brunch menu that emphasizes soups, salad, and quiches, I would probably be most likely to come here for chocolate, coffee, or the magical combination of the two.  Definitely check out the 3 Languages Cake:  a tri-layer slice of heaven, this “cake” had little to no flour that I could tell.  Rather, it’s made of three layers of solid cream (think the texture of mascarpone or ricotta, but slightly more dense), each layer infused with chocolate of varying sweetness, finally dusted with espresso and topped with shaved dark and white chocolate.  For those who are interested, there is a slideshow of this cake on the website.  A cake slideshow.

Um, yes.

On the beautiful morning I recounted for all of you above, though, we enjoyed chocolate espressos.  Not an espresso with chocolate syrup or powder, these tiny cups of magnificent were closer to the kind of hot chocolate that involves melting bars of chocolate with milk and combining them with strong Belgian espresso.  Creamy and slightly frothy, these were great little pick-me-ups that definitely cut the punch of traditional espresso.  Will be returning, hopefully to fill my Bubba Keg, espresso etiquette be damned.

Locolat  Café offers barista classes, Beer, Coffee and Chocolate Tastings, and special dinner events, all of which look like fun, if not slightly intimidating for a broke twentysomething. This is not somewhere I’d sit to study, but is perfect for an afternoon coffee or sweet (heh) date, and given the location seemed pretty queer friendly.  Check them out.

Trying this blogging thing.

Cooking is a hobby that I’ve come to enjoy only in the past couple of years.  I’m still very clearly a novice; each new recipe generally warrants 3-4 phone calls to my mother, from the preliminary “can I substitute dark brown sugar for light brown sugar?” to the frustrated “I can’t get this roux to bind! Fuck gumbo.”  While musing over my slowly expanding cooking skill set (not to mention waistline), my girlfriend remarked that I should start a blog to document my experiences.   I’m used to writing for an academic audience and am generally unsure of my voice for more casual readers, so all my previous attempts at blogging have never really come to fruition (ha! get it?)  However, this is primarily a space for me to chart my own learning and progress, and to note excellent restaurants I’ve visited and recipes I’ve tried along the way.  Maybe I’ll even snap a photo or two, as I think this is a much more attractive posting forum for an awkward photo of guacamole in bad lighting than is bombarding my friends’ news feeds on Facebook.

Living in two mid-sized cities (St. Louis and Washington DC) has made it possible for me to trick myself into thinking I’m a pretty cosmopolitan queer.  However, after cooking a decadent macaroni and cheese, organizing my closet, and arranging my shirts in chromatic order this weekend (I was involved in only one of these tasks: I’ll let you guess which), it hit me like a pie in the face: I am the domesticated butch.