Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I almost died today from too much chocolate. OK, not really, but I wanted to get your attention and death by chocolate is nothing if not attention-grabbing. I was in my stone-cold office today and my boss asked me to go pick up some coffee for us at a cafe/bakery around the corner. This is in lieu of having any heat in the building since the super has decided we are not ready for heat yet. My boss handed me a $5 bill and told me to get whatever I wanted. Bonus! Being a huge coffee drinker, I was delighted to make the trek and proceeded to descend 8 floors to 5th Avenue, walk the 1/2 block to 18th Street and 1/2 block over to the cafe called City Bakery. When I walked in, there were two lines of about 10 people each gathered around the center coffee station. "Wow," I thought, "this place is popular." The lines were long but I was getting paid to stand there so I didn't worry. I got into the back of the line and took a look around. The bakery had two floors, and the decor was conservative but modern. There were many people sitting & chatting, waiting for table service both on the main floor and the 2nd floor loft. I was waiting in the western-most line, which moved swiftly, so I needed to make my decision quickly. There was no menu posted, so I looked around to try to find what they were serving.

"Let's see, " I thought, "They have 10 different kinds of homemade cookies and at least 7 containers of coffee, as well as breads and sandwiches..." Then something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye- a sign pointing toward the "Chocolate Room." Warning bells should have gone off, but instead I got inspired, and decided I would order a hot chocolate.

"Would you like a homemade marshmellow with that?" the perky barista asked. I stared at her blankly as the words washed over me, and then I realized that she wasn't kidding. "Would I?!? Yes, please!" I exclaimed. I watched as she dished my cocoa out of a soup basin with a ladel, added a gigantic white cube to the cup, then sprinkled chocolate fairy dust on top and topped it with a lid. I walked to the cashier, and proceeded to be charged $1.75 for the coffee and $5.50 for the marshmellow laden hot chocolate. I was stunned- the audacity of charging so much for cocoa- isn't there an amendment prohibiting this? I was lucky that I brought more money with me to cover the cost of the choco-mortgage. I smiled forcefully and paid, and carried my treasure back to the office.

When I got there I told Gail (my boss) the cost of the cocoa and she, being a true Jewish matriarch, proceeded to gasp in a distinctly Yiddish fashion and clutch her chest. We both agreed that this hot chocolate had better be pretty damned good for $5.50. I opened up the cup to view the homemade marshmellow goodness, and stirred the cocoa with my spoon to find that the cocoa was the consistency of thick chowder. Think: a Godiva chocolate bar that has melted into a cup.I paused, not knowing what to do, because I was pretty sure that if I consumed this decadent sludge I would go into cardiac arrest. I showed it to Gail, and she said, "Well, looks like you got your $5.50 worth. Drink up."

It has been an hour since I returned for the Choco-Cafe, and after consuming 1/3 of this concoction I think I have added 5-6 cavities to my ever growing list of bodily concerns. My stomach is rumbling a bit, and I am a little jittery. The lesson I have learned from this is that when ordering cocoa, one should be prepared to ask, "Will I go into a sugar coma from drinking this?"

Or, maybe I should just stick to coffee...

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