Tag Archives: Chocolate

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake – Could Dessert Get Any Better?

By Lakshmi:

I occasionally ponder – If I had no access to chocolate, what would life be like?  Barren, incomplete, lackluster, there is a whole litany of words that I can go through to describe what could become a pretty grave state in my life.

But for today, there is an abundance of chocolate in my life for which I could not be more grateful.  And Chocolate Molten Lava Cake takes a special place as decadent, oozing with chocolate and delight in every bite dessert.  Unfortunately, the dessert is also notorious for packing in the calories.  Not anymore.

The  brilliant cooks at Cooking Light magazine have come up with a way to lighten this recipe without compromising on taste.  A few swaps in ingredients including the incorporation of whole wheat pastry flour produces an amazing product just like the original with an excuse for indulging – don’t I need my fiber count for the day?

It takes a bit of time to prepare, but it is a fool-proof recipe and the results are featured in this post!

If you’d like to indulge, here’s the link to the recipe from Cooking Light.



Experience Fisherman’s Wharf in Downtown SanFran!

 By: Rohan 

Downtown San Francisco is stunning to say the least. It is filled with iconic landmarks ranging from the Transamerica Pyramid, Alcatraz Island, Pier 39, and the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. There’s so much to do in the Fisherman’s Wharf area that it’s sometimes hard to decide what to see first. Never fear, Paupers Without Travel is here to provide you with the must-do activities and restaurants you simply must see before leaving the harbor.

1. The Ghirardelli Store: Believe it or not, Ghirardelli was founded and established along the pristine waters of the San Francisco Bay in a factory-like building located on Pier 39. The store lights up at night with a giant neon sign overhead and unleashes an aroma of freshly-made chocolate, fudge, and cocoa throughout the wharf. The store is cozy, with plenty of room to sit down and have a bite of something sweet after a delicious dinner at the harbor. Adjacent to the shop is the Fairmont Hotel, a beautiful luxury resort with splendid views of the harbor.

2. See the Sea Lions: Many people miss this attraction in Fisherman’s Wharf because they are too busy to even notice it. As you are walking down Pier 39, you will come across a large rock near the dock. Every day, hundreds of sea lions gather on the boulder to soak in some sun and wave to tourists and residents alike. They are charming, silly, and cute animals just begging for attention. Make sure you have your camera ready! – PS – This year, the Sea Lions seem to have done a disappearing act! http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Famed-sea-lions-vanish-from-Fisherman-s-Wharf-5585563.php 

3. Boudin’s Bakery: Boudin’s is a restaurant off of Fisherman’s Wharf and across the street from Pier 39. It is similar to a Panera but has a unique German and central European flavor to it that is to die for. The bread comes out of the oven fresh and is delivered to your table not by a waiter, but by an elaborate system of baskets hanging from the ceiling that travels from table to table. Boudin’s certainly knows how to make the ordinary, extraordinary.

4. Candy: We mentioned the Ghirardelli store earlier but aside from that chocolate warehouse, Fisherman’s Wharf is littered with candy stores offering fresh taffy and caramel for you to indulge in. It’s all made at the wharf and there’s nothing quite like it.

5. Soak in the Sights: You never know what will happen on Fisherman’s Wharf. Near the carousel, you can usually find a street performer or two; juggling or doing magic tricks. Sometimes, there are spontaneous laser-light shows and fireworks that are completely unplanned and unannounced. Fisherman’s Wharf is vibrant when the sun sets and full of surprises making every day feel like something special.

After a relaxing evening at the Wharf, it’s fun to take a cable car up one of the sloped streets and see the wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the mysterious Alcatraz Island from a birds-eye view. Talk about a way to conclude a fun-filled day in San Francisco!

Max Brenner – A Chocoholic’s Utopia in New York City (And Beyond)

By Lakshmi:

Last week I had a business meeting in the city and since it was 2:00 pm, a time slot more conducive to a coffee break, the person I was with recommended we head to Max Brenner’s.  I have passed this place a zillion times on my numerous walks on Broadway and even had Siddhi give me a piping syringe filled with chocolate as a gift, but never had set foot here.

Given the weather and the holiday season, the place was packed.  To my right were two huge vats mixing molten white and regular chocolate and to my left was the bar area with a display case of assorted goodies and a woman making and stacking up crepes.  We seated ourselves on the bar stools and then started our oohing and aahing over the dessert menu.  Caramel milk shake or Mexican hot chocolate?  Eat something or simply have a drink?  We both decided on the Mexican hot chocolate.  Within a few minutes we were presented with the most beautiful serving cups (that looked more like gravy pourers – they are called hug mugs!) with a beautiful leaf like design made by the swirl of milk and chocolate on the top.  Our first question – how do you drink from these?  Our waitress told us to cup the utensil with both hands and just drink.  What happened next was not short of divine.  As the perfect blend of chocolate, milk, cinnamon and pepper coated our tongues, we both could not believe that the hot chocolate could be elevated to such a synergistic marriage of flavors.  “Oh my God, this is nothing like the Mexican hot chocolate we have had in other places….How do they do this…You feel the pepper kick without the spiciness…”  We delighted in every last drop, to the point that when the waiter came to take away my cup with a little bit left, I had to stop him.

After lounging here for a few hours, off I went to the Holiday Market at Union Square (featured in a separate post) and when I met up with Siddhi and her friend for dinner, we returned back here to try a meal.

This time, we sat in the dining area and ordered tacos, beer battered onion rings with a sauce that had chocolate, rosemary waffles encasing an arugula mozzarella sandwich and some pita with hummus.  The food was good, but in our opinion not as earth shattering as the chocolate that I had had earlier.  So, needless to say, dessert was a must do.

We decided to go for the fondue.  In a few minutes, we had a beautiful display showcasing a burner to roast marshmallows, three bowls set up over flames with milk chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel and finally strawberries, bananas, cookie and brownie bits.  We ate every morsel in front of us and even asked for spoons to finish the molten chocolate!

If you happen to be in New York City this winter, head over to Max Brenner’s located at 841 Broadway (between 13th and 14th Streets).  Any lover of chocolate will be hard pressed to leave without feeling satiated.

You can read up more on Max Brenner at