CocoaBella Chocolates- San Francisco

CocoaBella Chocolates

Rated: ♣♣ (This review is solely on their hot chocolate.)

K and I have sipped a ton of hot chocolate in our time. From instant packets of Swiss Miss to Cacao Sampaka in Barcelona, we’ve probably consumed enough hot chocolate to fill a swimming pool. I was told that CocoaBella Chocolates in the Westfield Shopping Center in San Francisco has a  notable sipping chocolate.

The little chocolate stand at the front of the shopping center sells little pieces of gourmet chocolate, but if you walk to the back of their stand, you can order a full cup of rich, piping-hot liquid chocolate. They have a handful of flavors to choose from – peanut butter hot chocolate, spicy hot chocolate, mint hot chocolate, and a few others. You even have the option of ordering dark or milk chocolate for your drink. I tried to order the peanut butter, but they ran out, even before 12pm! So, instead I got the hazelnut and K got the mint. Ten dollars later, we each had 2 tiny cups of the thick drinking chocolate. I was a little disappointed by the size, but then concluded that I probably shouldn’t be drinking anymore than what I had.

CocoaBella Menu

After my first sip, it tasted like I was drinking liquid Nutella… and that’s a good thing. Though it was a little too watery to my liking, the flavor was still pretty good. The hazelnuts weren’t too overpowering and the texture of the drink was really smooth. K’s mint hot chocolate was okay. The mint was more of a fresh mint than a peppermint. It almost tasted like I was drinking regular hot chocolate after brushing my teeth with toothpaste. Not a great flavor.

CocoaBella Hot Chocolates

Overall, I was disappointed with CocoaBella’s hot chocolate, especially since they’re charging $5 per cup. If you’re looking for some stellar sipping chocolate, try Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate in Hayes Valley for $4.50. Their chocolate is rich, velvety and topped with a home made (and complimentary) marshmallow.

CocoaBella Chocolates
Westfield San Francisco Centre
865 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhoods: Union Square, SOMA

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Destination Baking Company – San Francisco

Destinations Storefront

Rated: ♣♣♣♣♣

I can’t believe I just discovered Destination Baking Company. I live just 2 minutes away to this quaint little 50s style bakery in Glen Park that serves up freshly baked breads, pies, pastries and cakes.

Destinations Selection

One Saturday afternoon, K and I discovered this neighborhood gem on our way to the Bart station. The sign advertising an apricot pie lured me in. I was a little bummed to learn that they just sold their last piece of pie, but I picked up a lemon tartlet, a moon pie and two large bowls of coffee instead. K and I grabbed a seat by the window and leisurely enjoyed our afternoon snack. My lemon tart was really good. Tart, not too sweet, and the crust was perfectly thing. K’s moon pie was delish! The cookie sandwich was really soft and the marshmallow cream filling was airy and light. The whole time, we watched this elderly couple next to us fill out a crossword puzzle together while eating some warm palmiers straight out of the oven. My immediate thought was “That is how I am going to spend my weekends when I grow old.”

Destinations Lemon Tart Moon Pie

Destinations Coffee

Based on the decor of this bakery, the name is completely fitting. Destination? The 1950s. From the tables to the chairs to the clocks. Everything seems to have been placed in a time capsule and opened just for this bake shop. I came back to Destination Baking Company a few weeks later and tried the sticky bun and the cinnamon roll. Both also were amazing. I hope one day I can try that apricot pie!

Destination Baking Company
598 Chenery St
(between Natick St & Roanoke St)
San Francisco, CA 94131
Neighborhood: Glen Park

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Cereal Marshmallows – Best Idea Ever

And I thought this was the coolest thing ever…

Let’s be honest, no one really likes the actual cereal from Lucky Charms. When I was a kid, I used to dig my hand into the cereal box and only eat the marshmallows, leaving my brother with the brown pieces. Well, now I can bypass the cereal and only have the sweet, crunchy goodness that is Cereal Marshmallows!

You can purchase 2-7oz. bags from for $7.99.

You’ve gotta love this guy’s site. He has videos of him eating his cereal marshmallows with other breakfast items. Here’s Nathan Wratislaw eating Cereal Marshmallows with Oatmeal. “I don’t like oatmeal. I’m not a horse.”

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Sam’s Kitchen – Tartine’s Lemon Cream Pie

Tartine Lemon Cream Pie

I just love lemon desserts. I had a strong debate last time I was in Tartine between the Lemon Cream Pie and the Banana Cream Pie, and I chose the latter because it’s a restaurant favorite. And once I received the Tartine cookbook for Christmas, I knew I had to make this pie. So glad I did!

Before you follow this recipe, you’ll need to make Tartine’s Sweet Tart Crust.


1/2 cup plus 2 T. lemon juice
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cool, cut into tablespoon sized slices or cubes


Tartine Lemon Curd

Heat about 1.5 inches of water to a simmer in a double boiler, or a saucepan that is the right size for a non-reactive metal bowl to fit into so that the bowl doesn’t touch the water but sits just above it. In the bowl, combine the lemon juice, whole eggs, egg yolk, sugar and salt. (Add the egg yolks last and whisk immediately – if you let the egg yolks and sugar sit, they will become grainy.) Rest the bowl on the pan and whisk until the mixture becomes thick and registers 180 degrees on a thermometer, this will take about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the water and let the mixture cool to about 140, stirring occasionally.

Tartine Lemon Curd Blend

When the mixture has cooled to 140, strain it with a fine mesh sieve, and use a hand blender in a high sided bowl or bar blender to blend in the butter one chunk at a time, blending continuously, and allowing each chunk to become incorporated before adding the next. It will be pale yellow and very thick. At this point you can add a little lemon zest or up to a tablespoon or so of lemon juice if needed to brighten the flavor. Chill the cream until your tart shell is cool, or if it is, go ahead and fill it.

Tartine Lemon Curd Fill Pie

To assemble the tart (which you should do no more than a few hours before you plan to serve it) cut the tops off of the strawberries and dot the tart shell with them flat side down, points up, about a quarter inch apart. Pour the lemon cream over the top and chill for at least an hour.

For the topping:
2 cups of cream
2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar
Beat cream in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment on high until soft peaks start to form. Add powdered sugar and continue to beat until stiff.

Tartine Lemon Curd Add Whipped Cream

Dollop the top of the tart with the whipped cream, spreading to the edges with an offset spatula, and dot the top with smaller whole strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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