Monday, October 4, 2010

Max Brenner: Chocolate Heaven

Quaffing a shot of chocolate ganache

I don't have any baking or crafting projects to show for the weekend because I spent the entire weekend out and about actually living my life. What a change! It was my birthday weekend and with my mom and little brother in town I had to think up some ways to entertain them. And myself, of course, since it was an occasion for celebration. My husband and I rarely go into Philadelphia because of the traffic and hassle of parking but this time we made an exception because there was one particular restaurant I was dying to visit: Max Brenner.

I have an Israeli friend who's been telling me about this chocolate-themed restaurant chain for years, making me increasingly jealous because the only US branch was in New York City. When I discovered they recently opened one near me in Philadelphia I waited patiently for an excuse to make the trek into the city. My birthday turned out to be the perfect excuse!

The place is full of Willy Wonka-like decor like this

They do sell "real" food but even some of the appetizers and entrees have hints of chocolate. The waffle fries are served dusted with cocoa powder and the onion rings we ordered came with a cocoa ranch dipping sauce. Definitely unique! My brother and I split the mac & cheese, which was a little more upscale than what you get out of a Kraft box. There was a crispy breaded layer, diced tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a beaker of marinara sauce on the side. Definitely recommended.

Enjoying my hazelnut milkshake with vanilla bourbon ice cream and dark chocolate truffle

Obviously the focal point of the evening was the dessert, so we made sure to save plenty of room for that course. My mom ordered the apple pie waffles and my husband got the elaborate-looking banana split waffles:

My brother and I split the dessert pizza with the works (banana, peanut butter, chocolate, and marshmallows served as a warm, gooey mess) and a peanut butter banana crepe with a side of spiced peanut ice cream. Each dessert was served with a little beaker of melted ganache on the side, which you can see my goofy brother excitedly pouring over our dessert:

My silly husband isn't a huge fan of chocolate so his beaker went unloved and uneaten. Purely as a charitable act I took it off his hands and decided to down it like a shot. Of course that's the exact moment the manager came by to check on us and she gave me quite a strange look. Obviously they're not used to such obvious displays of brilliance.

Bottom line is if you ever find yourself near one of these fanciful restaurants be sure to stop by for a meal. Or two.


Anonymous said...

I am really behind on my googlereader and I'm just now reading this. I've read about this restaurant and didn't realize there was one in Philadelphia. I'll have to check it out. I'm only an hour or so away! We're practically neighbors as far as the internet is concerned ;)