Finally made it over to the Crossroads for a visit to chocolatier Christopher Elbow’s new store (Do click through to the website; it’s beautiful).
They’re tucked into a tiny storefront between 17th and 18th on McGee… sort of the “East Crossroads,” as the sweet counter girl suggested. Most of the rest of the block is for rent, but it’s clean and crammed with character… lovely old buildings with funky clothes and furniture places here and there.
You walk in the all-glass front door, and this is what greets you:
A gorgeous wooden wall of chocolate treats. There are new Elbow chocolate bars, drinking chocolate, covered almonds, t-shirts, books… I brought home a tin of the noir drinking chocolate mix.
At the back is another all-glass wall, where you can peer back at white-frocked young energetic folks filling boxes and trays with the colorful jewels of Elbow chocolates.
Turning to your left, you are smitten with the single chocolates that many of us have come to know and love:
The impression was immediate and strong: very clean, clear lines, with the only the colors of the bright decorations on the chocolates themselves veering from the white/chocolate brown/clear design scheme. There’s also a huge flatscreen TV behind the cash register, showing luscious close-ups of the different flavors, in case having them right under your nose isn’t tempting enough.
There are also cute little lollipops. My 3-year-old asked for one, and I tried to get a picture of him devouring his blueberry-white chocolate morsel. It was gone by the time I got my camera out:
Behind the Wall of Chocolate Treats is a little sitting area, with more chocolate-and-white furnishings:
This is where you enjoy your fabulous hot chocolate. This isn’t your mama’s Nestlé Quik hot chocolate. This is thick, rich, exotic, velvety, amazing hot chocolate. I tried the Coconut Curry, made with dark chocolate, milk, coconut milk and curry flavoring. It sound odd but it was heady and amazingly good. Do give it a try, especially if you like the more off-beat of Elbow’s offerings. The counter gal said that there was a 1:1 chocolate to milk ratio, and I believe her… you almost had to chew the stuff. I used my finger to get the last drop out of my cup, but really the amount was just right… too much and it would have started to get cloying or overpowering, too little and you’d be gnawing the cup for every molecule.
You could also choose to have your cocoa accompanied by a homemade marshmallow. I went with vanilla (not sure the peach or other flavors would be a hit with the curry), and it was a lovely bit of featherlight fluff, not too sweet.
Open until 6pm, this would be a great place to meet with a friend before a movie, for afternoon tea or morning elevenses. Kansas City is indeed fortunate to have this artist make his home here.
In other news: a shout-out to Dan of Gone Mild, a wonderful local political blog that periodically veers into food-and-drink territory (not often enough, in my opinion!). Kinda surprised me that this guy peruses my dinky li’l blog… No word yet on the other 59th St. business, Simmer Down, but my spies are working on it (meaning: next time the toddler and I walk by, we’ll bang on the window again).