A few years ago, a shop opened in SoHo called “The Best Chocolate Cake in the World”. Well as tempting as that may have sounded, I just never got around to visiting. So a few weeks ago when they opened a location on the Upper West Side and rebranded themselves as ChocoBolo, I figured it was worth a shot. The kids had a day off from school so off we went.

The shop itself is a cute, little, vintage style coffee shop that Sarah Jessica Parker and the ladies would have loved. But the cake display was another matter. It’s never a good sign when the cakes look at best, amateurish, and at worst like a lopsided, caved-in mess. But we were in for the long haul so we placed an order and sat. Sometimes I remind myself of all the crazy places I’ve been — like the tiny restaurant in Korea where we sat at plastic children’s furniture as the chef washed his hair in the kitchen sink in front of us — and I remember I’m still alive and I didn’t get food poisoning so really how bad could this be.

The good news was we started with a lovely hot chocolate, presented beautifully with real coffee shop flair. After that it was definitely a downhill ride.

Let’s just say the service is confusing. One would think it’s not hard to slice two pieces of premade cake, drop them on plates and serve them at the same time. Alas we received one piece of cake and then eventually, long after finishing the first, the second one made its way to us.

As for the cake, we ordered a slice of the ChocoBolo Original and the ChocoBolo Rich. The original was layers of meringue with chocolate mousse in-between and it was covered in a ganache-like glaze. It seemed that the cake must have been old as the meringue had dissipated into goo. It was edible if you were really desperate for cake and there were no other stores within five miles. The ChocoBolo Rich however was another matter totally. I cut into it with my fork to take a bite and the whole slice dissolved into a pile of dust. Needless to say, we did not finish this cake. When a six- and eight-year-old can’t even choke it down, it’s saying something.

But, I always try to keep exploring and finding delicious treats, so to make up for the flub at ChocoBolo, I bought some amazing cookies at Whole Foods this week — Les Gavottes, Crêpe Chocolat Noir, by Loc Maria. These are dark chocolate–covered crispy cookies and they are amazingly good. Scary eat-the-whole-box-at-once kind of good. I bought a few boxes and I should have bought them all. They also have plain crêpes and a few other variations. They are perfect holiday snacks and I bet Santa and the reindeer wouldn’t mind a few either.

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