Archive for January, 2011

Chocolat Café Chaud (Hot Chocolate with Coffee)

Last summer, my friend Avery hosted a French exchange student – Livia – for the months of July and August. Over the two months, the three of us did nearly everything possible (for teenagers) in Western New York: walking through the Elmwood Village, a picnic on the waterfront, American malls, beaches, Bisons games, leisurely sitting by the pool, etc. By the end of the summer, we had surely become lifelong friends (and, thanks to Facebook and the like, it’s ridiculously easy to keep in touch).

So it was no surprise, really, when Livia sent us a gift package this Christmas – to Buffalo from Mours-Saint-Eusèbe. Along with a bar of French nougat (containing incredibly fresh pistachios and almonds), Livia sent me a French cookbook: Ma cuisine au chocolat by Joël Durand. While I am learning French, the book is a bit complex for my understanding. But from what I can gather, the book introduces chocolate into savory dishes. Examples: chocolate curry sauce, filet mignon au chocolat, and (something I can’t wait to try) pizza with tomatoes and dark chocolate. There’s also traditional desserts like milkshakes, cookies, and cakes – all of which look delicious and difficult to interpret. So, I stuck with something simple for my first attempt at making something from la cuisine de Joël Durand: hot chocolate.

But different hot chocolate, really: French hot chocolate… Hot chocolate made with coffee-infused cream, restrained amounts of sugar and chocolate (which I doubled anyway), and odd symbols that I believe mean “centiliter” and “gram”. The finished drink is very robust: you taste chocolate and coffee. I almost want to use the word “dry” in a very good way – this isn’t a cloyingly sweet hot chocolate. The portioning is also delightfully French: “pour 10 tasses” (10 cups). Why then, does the recipe call for only 50 cl of milk? If only I had a set of demitasses on hand…

Continue reading ‘Chocolat Café Chaud (Hot Chocolate with Coffee)’

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I’m Still Here… Also, a Pizzeria Review (Mama Mia’s)

Is it just me, or did the holiday season happen in the blink of an eye? Okay, so that wouldn’t exactly explain why I haven’t posted since mid-October, but whatever. (Hint: college applications.) In the meantime (or, after this review), I’m prepping to write some interesting blog posts for January – inspired by a friend from across the Atlantic. Stay tuned!

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to post an informal review about a small pizzeria in Tonawanda: Mama Mia’s. Located on the corner of Highland and Colvin, Mama Mia’s opened about 6 or 7 years ago, replacing another pizzeria whose name escapes me. Since that time, it’s been patronized by my friends and I for a few good reasons: the food’s great, the prices are cheap, and the staff is down-to-earth and pleasant.


Any pizzeria needs to have good pizza; without that, it’s almost like the other things don’t matter. So, it’s a good thing that they do. The pizza is very Buffalo-esque: thicker, fluffy crust, good amount of sweet sauce and cheese, and crunchy cup-pepperoni. It’s an above average pie that – while not competing with big name pizzas like Bocce’s or Leonardi’s – is endlessly consistent and always tasty.

Continue reading ‘I’m Still Here… Also, a Pizzeria Review (Mama Mia’s)’


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