Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Escazu Churns Out Artisan Chocolates

Named after a town in Costa Rica visited by proprietor Hallot Parson, Escazu Artisan Chocolates has been churning out otherworldly concoctions since 2008. Parson works alongside the talented Danielle Centeno, a native of Venezuela and Culinary Institute of America trained chef.

Escazu employs traditional methods of sorting, winnowing and grinding and uses a vintage 1920s roaster and stone grinder imported from Spain. The grinding process lasts four days, allowing for sugar crystal reduction and evaporation of volatile flavors. The result? Superior handcrafted bars and an ever-evolving assortment of confections.  

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Fredin/S&A Cherokee

Besides eclectic truffles and confections like clove orange and honey chamomile, popular bars include the best-selling 65% dark chocolate with sea salt and 74% chipotle chili. Decadent hot chocolate is prepared drawing from rare recipes of yesteryear. 

Despite cramped production space and limited seating capacity, the business boasts wholesale accounts coast-to-coast, including all Whole Foods locations in the Southeast.

Confections range from $1.65 to about $2 apiece. Chocolate bars cost $6.50-$6.99.

Escazu Artisan Chocolates on Urbanspoon 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Brunch Box Rocks

If you don’t go anywhere else for breakfast, brunch or lunch, here’s a locally owned fast-casual hideaway worth seeking out.

Sausage gravy biscuits at The Brunch Box will not disappoint. The satisfying Carolina Eye Opener features roast beef, egg, pepper jack cheese, sweet-and-spicy pepper relish and chipotle ranch on flat bread all for less than $5! Order the French toast and you’ll get three thick-cut slices of sourdough bread soaked in eggs, cream and spices. Build-your-own breakfast is also a solid option.

 images courtesy of Jonathan Fredin/S&A Cherokee

At lunchtime, consider a Tuscan chicken melt, a jalapeño-infused fajita bacon melt or tomato bisque. The Friday seafood special varies from a shrimp Philly sandwich or fish and chips to Cajun mahi mahi or Ahi tuna wrap (side and drink are extra).

Side items like broccoli salad, twice baked potato salad and deviled eggs are transcendent. Save room for at least once piece of thick-cut French toast candied bacon ($1.50 a slice), which may be the best sweet-and-savory treat ever concocted.

The Brunch Box on Urbanspoon