Blackbird Baking Company

blackbbird baking

I wasn’t sure after Sweet Moses that another hot chocolate could be that good. I think Blackbird Baking Company came pretty close to proving me wrong. Peggy had previously been wowed by the hot chocolate here, which started us on this journey in the first place. I was a new to it on our eighth tasting stop.

We had both been to Blackbird countless times together and separately. Walking in on a late afternoon, the bright walls and friendly staff brightened my mood on a grey day. Peggy was already there. We ordered our hot chocolate and requested a mug. They asked if we wanted our hot chocolate sweetened. I said, yes, after the barista explained they use a vanilla syrup to do so. In fact, she informed me, they can add any flavor of syrup to it which I made a note of for future visits.

Here’s what we thought:

  1. Flavor. A rich bittersweet taste is created by a piece of chocolate that warm milk is poured over. According to Peggy, it didn’t impress her as much as the first time she had it.
  2. Topping. Peggy lamented that they didn’t have a homemade marshmallow that she has now become accustomed after the delicious ones at previous stops. I sprinkled some cinnamon and cocoa on mine to liven it up.
  3. Size. They had the usual sizes. We chose a medium.
  4. Atmosphere. The bright and whimsical wall color and art provided a welcoming environment. It is usually busy and often can get too loud making it hard to hear the conversation at your own table. But otherwise, I’ve always had a pleasant time here.

Overall, Blackbird is one of my favorite places to work or meet up with people, because it is conveniently located. We will both come back.  Peggy normally drinks coffee while here and is likely to continue doing so. Although she realized that after that initial sip here, we’ve had a lot of amazing hot chocolate and her palette has been refined by that.

Fear’s Confections

hot chocolate

With this stop, we made it to the halfway point of our challenge. We are now five down and five to go. Along the way, we’ve had some good experiences and some not so good experiences. I’d say Fear’s Confections in Lakewood would fall into the beyond good experience.

As soon as we stepped into the adorable little shop, we were hit with the sweet smell of chocolate and quickly followed by a warm and gregarious greeting from the guy behind the counter. We later learned through a nice exchange with the owner on Instagram that he was her husband.

We ordered our hot chocolates and were pleasantly surprised when we were offered a homemade marshmallow for half off and just 25 cents. Peggy chose raspberry and I got vanilla chai. I also sampled a piece of chocolate and Peggy got some treats to take home, which she later reported were delicious.

Here’s what we thought:

  1. Flavor. The hot chocolate had a yummy rich taste that was not too sweet and just right for both of us.
  2. Topping. Need I say more than, “homemade marshmallow?” There was a selection of four, including the ones we chose and chocolate mint and s’mores.
  3. Size. There seemed to be one size and it was just the perfect amount.
  4. Atmosphere. We loved how cute this shop was. Peggy commented that the two little tables they had were set beautifully. The Valentine’s Day decorations only added to the warmth on a cold January morning.

Overall, we loved Fear’s Confections. Peggy decided that it would now be her preferred chocolate shop. She plans to return soon with friends for more hot chocolate, and it will now top her list of places to grab a coffee with a friend in the neighborhood.

The Root Cafe

rootcafe

When Peggy messaged me and asked if I was available later the next day for our third hot chocolate tasting, I jumped at the chance. Since The Root Cafe, a hipster place located in the center of Lakewood, is convenient and we had each been there many times before, it appeared to be a simple decision to make.

It wasn’t until I arrived slightly earlier than Peggy that I remembered why I don’t frequent it as much. First of all, I believe there are many redeeming qualities about The Root Cafe such as their coffee drinks and their yummy food menu, but there are also a lot of turnoffs as well. The main one being the lack of seating and the isolationist vibe that emanates from it. I get it is a place where people park themselves to work but still the atmosphere is lacking the coziness of past places we visited on this tasting tour.

Now onto to the hot chocolate part. I went purist and ordered the plain hot chocolate, while Peggy, perhaps inspired by the two previous tasting stops, went with the Mexican hot chocolate.

Here’s what we thought:

  1. Flavor. Mine was, well, just ok. I’ve had better hot chocolate out of a package at home. There was definitely nothing special or unique here. Peggy concurred about hers and said the Mexican one hit her in the back of the throat and hard like it’s supposed to.
  2. Topping. None. Nada. Nothing.
  3. Size. We both decided to get the medium. It seemed pretty standard.
  4. Atmosphere. Despite the inviting warm wood interior and eclectic decor, there is not much else here in terms of atmosphere. Peggy observed that there was no talking outside of your table. And unlike our last stop, there was no sense of community.

When we left, I almost wished I hadn’t taken Peggy up on her offer, because despite the company and the conversation, I left feeling unsettled. This was only reinforced when I returned to my car parked on a side street and noticed a parking ticket from a recently expired meter. Even after that, we agreed that we’d both go back to The Root Cafe, because it is popular with other friends but would unlikely go back because of the hot chocolate causing us to question why they made the list.