A five-star rating is hard to come by from me. Schooled by the Cute Gardener’s basic Yelp guidelines as well as my own for doling out boos or praise on Netflix, I tend to distribute a lot of average threes. If I really like something it will get a four. So when I attribute five stars to a restaurant or foodie place, there has to be something special about it that goes beyond the norm. Here are the top ten reasons why Dandelion Chocolate, where we spent part of a misty grey recent morn, hits this note for me.
1. The half chocolate shop – half drink and dessert place is located on Valencia Street smack dab in the Mission District in San Francisco (which happens to be my favorite street in my favorite neighborhood of my favorite city in the US).
2. The entire interior is rich with wood the color of roasted cacao beans.
3. There are only a few bars of chocolate for sale and sample shards in dishes to try before you buy, which denotes a jaunty air of confidence.
4. You can rattle a giant pod filled with cacao beans, or buy one to take home.
5. You can purchase a copy of David Lebovitz’s latest pastry porn book My Paris Kitchen.
6. You can order a spicy café mocha sprinkled with chocolate shavings and soft homemade marshmallows. You can also order a decadent cup of European drinking chocolate.
7. You can eat various baked goods made from the signature chocolate. Our brownie tasting platter was delicious—these guys know how to make proper, dense and ultra-chocolaty bites.
8. You can see the chocolatiers (who sign the wrappers on the bars they make) working behind the scenes, going about their business in a room full of shiny machines.
9. The small-batch, harvest-specific chocolate bars are dark – all above 60%. They are made with only two ingredients – chocolate and sugar, which eliminates the waxiness of bras with cocoa butter.
10. The place is named after my favorite liver-cleansing weed.