Sunday, June 2, 2013

Melt-ing for Chocolate in North Beach

Several years ago, Angela made Melt a SF Bay Area Chocolate Meetup destination. We had a good group turn out, about 8 people, I think? Which was perfect for sharing cheese fondue and then still having room for dessert. Which was their classic chocolate fondue, of course. (This was also the Meetup where co-blogger Mel and I met for the first time!) Melt is in North Beach, just past Washington Square Park. They are easy to find, right on the corner and you may even hear live music flowing out the main door to welcome you.

Happy Hour/live music.

Al fresco people watching.

Welcome to Melt!
J.K. and I have ventured back again and again to fulfill our Chocolate Fondue Craving. Melt has very reasonable prices and great portion sizes. We debated for a while on the lunch part of our meal, and ended up trying something different. Normally we get a cheese fondue, but Angela really wanted to try their French Onion Soup (perhaps Cook the Book was on her mind-Around the French Table?) and so we paired the soup with the cheese plate plus pate. Actually you can customize their cheese plate several ways, by your choice of how many/what kinds of cheese, plus adding a meat protein (or not). This plate also comes with fruit (grapes and sliced strawberries this time) plus delish toasted bread.

Brie wedges, Goat Cheese coin and Pate chunk. Served with fruit and crispy hot bread.

French Onion Soup with extra bread and butter on the side. Carb heaven.
Our chocolate fondue came with a plate of goodies to dip in the melted goodness. Strawberries, bananas, mini (frozen) creampuffs, salty pretzel sticks, mini cookies, cheesecake, and crunchy wafer cookies. Their menu says this dessert serves 2-4 Chocoholics. We've shared it with others before, out of politeness and friendship, but there are no holds barred when it's just the two of us. So anyone who looks in the window of Melt and then walks up to our table thinking they can get a dip in our fondue pot may just get a fork in the hand instead! The chocolate fondue is thick, rich and very dark, a perfect complement to the fruit and sweets brought out with the small pot. Fondue note: Don't let it burn! If your cheese or chocolate starts to get too hot, just blow out your tea light. Then continue to eat until your bowl is empty.

Natures sweets vs. bakers sweets. Both delish when dipped in chocolate.

The virgin fondue.
Get your fork in there!
This would be a perfect preshow happy hour snack, as both Cobb's Comedy and Bimbo's 365 Club are near.

Melt Cafe has a calm cool cafe vibe, although when the jazz  combo (or other musicians) start jammin' it gets more lively. They also have a lot of opportunities for community engagement such as board games, open mic night, fondue and film night plus free wifi for customers (so come get your work on some afternoon). The staff is personable and ready to make a recommendation if you're not sure about a beverage or meal.

This cafe has an open kitchen.

Small tables easy to push together for a crowd!

Everything is fun with beer and board games.
A window with a view at Melt.
Just next door from Melt Cafe is a truffle shop. Angela always forgets it's hidden there, but it's worth a quick stop. We didn't get the coffee with free truffle from XOXtruffles. Instead, we chose a box to go. Two of each kind, we split them later (of course J.K. always has an emergency ziplock in her purse). J.K. was intrigued by the article in window from Chocolatier Magazine and quizzed the worker about their connection. These one bite truffles were flavorful, almost too easy to eat for a late evening snack. Going, going, gone.

Get your chocolate fix to go.
Many flavors of truffles made in the Rustic style from XOX truffles.
Do you stumble across a cafe or restaurant and think, "How could I not know about this place?" Or maybe, "Haven't I been here before, but we must have forgotten about it?" For Tea Time, there are food places we can't stop thinking about such as Nojo's or Lovejoy's or Absinthe. They are sometimes places we've been again and again or sometimes places that we want to try. However, there are the cafes and restaurants we have eaten at that had good food but in a city like SF where there are so many amazing places to eat they get forgotten. Now we can't forget about XOXtruffles again. We'll remember, oh yes, it's right by North Beach Fondue. Next to Melt!