Max Brenner: A chocolate lover’s dream

I took a trip into NYC to meet my college roomie and since I had been wanting to try Max Brenner for months, we made reservations for lunch. It was finally the perfect opportunity! She loves chocolate too, obviously.

We headed downtown from Penn Station, walked through their little chocolate shop and over to the hostess stand to check in. I considered buying chocolate, but decided against it because it was a balmy day in the city and I didn’t want a puddle of inedible cocoa by the time I returned home later that afternoon.

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We were seated quickly and greeted by the waiter who explained a few things on the menu and recommended a several items. We ordered shakes and then our lunches. My shake of choice was the Chocolate Hazelnut and my roomie got a Cookieshake. Fortunately, my shake included a whipped cream topping and sadly hers did not. We both loved our beverages and the cup added to the experience. The straw laid perfectly in its little spot and there was no mess from the whipped cream, like a diner shake might yield. Everything sat perfectly and then relocated into my belly.

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For lunch, I got the Turkey Club Waffle Sandwich and she ordered the Brenner Lunchette Burger with fries. My sandwich was pretty light because the waffles were thin, so I wasn’t overwhelmed by a sweet or savory taste. They were substantial substitutes for bread slices. The sandwich included cold turkey, salty bacon and creamy avocado. With waffles, it was organized better than a club sandwich with toast because nothing slipped or fell out. The honey mustard and chili aioli gave the sandwich a zesty flavor. I didn’t finish my lunch because I didn’t want to overindulge and miss out on dessert. This was a chocolate restaurant after all.

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For dessert, we decided to share the Chocolate Chunks Pizza with roasted marshmallows and peanut butter. We got the half size, so we didn’t feel to gluttonous. The half pie came out with roasted mini marshmallows sprinkled all over it and peanut butter swirled on top. Underneath, there was a layer of milk and white chocolate. When we took our first bites, we were surprised at how light the crust was. It was much lighter than a pizza dough and didn’t confuse my taste buds, like some dessert pies do. The marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate were warm and melty, and that’s exactly how they should be. If your marshmallow isn’t warm and stringy as you pull and poke at it, you aren’t eating it right.

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After we had eaten our fill, we remarked at how tasty everything was. We didn’t even get a full representation of the menu, so I will have to schedule future visits to really see how their hot chocolate measures up to my favorites.

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If you are a chocoholic, you need to get your fix at Max Brenner. Come on, you deserve a treat!

Max Brenner, 841 Broadway, New York, NY, 646.467.8803

An Italian Feast at Via Napoli

Like I said in my last post, my family is in Walt Disney World enjoying meals at a few places on-site. The decided to try Via Napoli and said it was delicious. Via Napoli is in Italy in the World Showcase at Epcot. I’ve never eaten there, so of course, I am now jealous. Just look at these photos and tell me that you aren’t jealous too …

Via Napoli, 1510 Avenue of the Stars, Orlando, FL, 407-939-3463

Are you ready for some spice at Big Daddy’s?

For my uncle’s birthday, we headed out to Big Daddy’s in Massapequa, N.Y. My Uncle George loves spicy food and he is always looking for something to burn his mouth. He is from Jersey and when he comes out, he loves to visit Big Daddy’s. I don’t mind a little spice in my food, but I don’t like spice just for spice’s sake. I want to be able to taste the food before it punches me in the face with spice, ya know? And, if something is really high up on the Scoville scale, I am a total wuss and won’t even chance it.

Since it was National Margarita Day, I started my meal with the drink of the day, a Pineapple Margarita. I could taste the sweet pineapple and it was quite refreshing. It wasn’t too strong either, and I could taste the tequila. For our appetizers, we chose Lucifer’s Mussels, Pretty Meg’s Wings and the Loaded Cajun Fries. Pretty Meg’s Wings were delicious. The wings were smothered in a sweet and spicy sauce, but this is how I like my spice, with A LOT of flavor. Lucifer’s Mussels were very good and very interesting. I was not used to having mussels with blue cheese crumbles on them, but it was a great combination. This was another flavorful, yet spicy dish, and I was very happy with it. The Loaded Cajun Fries were good, but nothing I would care enough about to order again. The fries were blanketed by smokey pulled pork and drizzled with a zesty sauce, so it was a hearty appetizer, but the other two outweigh it in flavor and complexity.

I probably could have just been happy with more wings and mussels, but I ordered a Grilled Shrimp Po Boy. The shrimp was fresh and the vinegar was crunchy, zesty and a great addition. I would actually consider putting it on most sandwiches because I love vinegar, and I love shredded lettuce, for some odd reason. The bread was perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The sandwich was coupled with soft sweet potato fries, but there was no dipping sauce for them, unfortunately. My father loves their Jambalaya (even though he sweats while eating it) and my mother enjoyed her Chicken and Ribs.

There have been almost a dozen times that I’ve visited and enjoyed Big Daddy’s, and I am sure, if my uncle has anything to say about it, we will be there several more times. If you like to be enticed by flavor and then punched in the face with spice, give it a try. You will leave happy, and not bruised.

We are on Facebook!

I decided that since I have a ton of delicious food photos and information that I have been withholding from all of those folks out there that love food like I do, Yumness should have a Facebook page. So, now you can find food images and info at www.facebook.com/yumness.eats.

I have started albums for appetizers, desserts and burgers and sandwiches, and I just keep adding to them because I just love food, as you may already know. Next up, entrees, and some of those are mouthwatering. Stay tuned and “like” the page, please. There will also be photos of delicious things that can be found at grocery stores, food trucks and some other little-known locations, including my own kitchen.

Thanks for your support!