Travel for Chocolate

It has been ten long years since I have seen any of my childhood friends from Little Rock, Arkansas! When I got the news that Chera was planning to visit,  I talked about it known stop with everyone I knew. I told them endless childhood stories about our friendship and southern lifestyle together. After a while, they too became just as excited as I was.

Chera was not only coming to visit but to work. She is a pastry chef in Arkansas and Texas and because of her strong creative skills and desire to learn her boss invited her to take a course at Valrhona Chocolate in Brooklyn, New York. The other young inspiring chefs that work beside her were very envious of the opportunity. She has worked incredibly hard to get this opportunity. He picked the perfect person to take this course because she is truly a mastermind and artist. Her deserts are sometimes too damn good to eat I just want to smell and admire its beauty. Taste means everything but the presentation brings fantasies.


When she finally boarded her flight to New York City, I was just too freaking excited. I sent out a multiple texts informing all my friends in both New Jersey and New York that she will arrive in the next six hours. She had no idea or knew anything about Brooklyn, and she confused to me that Brooklyn looked ghetto to her. I laughed so hard because it reminded me of the many months and years I had gone through a massive culture shock when moving to New Jersey. Leaving the sounds of tall whispering trees and playful birds to now skyscrapers and subways were almost challenging to accept. I totally understand how she felt because we grew up in the same environment. The buildings and homes are not large and appealing from the outside as they are in the south so I can see why she could not relate to the Brooklyn environment at first.

After a few hours and days, Brooklyn had won her over and she almost didn’t want to leave it. To keep her from being clingy to Brooklyn we went out to Manhattan. The plan was to bar hop all night long, but since she informed me she was pregnant a week before her trip, the plans changed. We went restaurant hopping instead near the Chelsea Pier Golf Club. The restaurant name Toro is one of my favorite places to go. The food is delicious, and the drinks have just the right kick. At night the wind picked up and being near the Pier was not very helpful for a girl who only had on a leather jacket. The wind had me blowing in so many directions and on top of that we didn’t have an umbrella to shield us from the rain.


The next stop was a Cuban restaurant called Havana Alma de Cuba in Time Square. Okay, I have to confess every time I’m in New York I try to avoid the tourist zone at all times! Depending on the weather and time of year there is usually less foot traffic. Fortunately, we made it on time for our reservation, and our waiter did not rush us to order or to eat which is a BIG plus for me. The service and food were fantastic and must I say it again AMAZING!  She was very satisfied with my restaurant choices and just couldn’t believe how well I knew how to pick the perfect spot. What can I say a girl who is often exploring NYC has to know all the greatest location.


Every day after finishing her Chocolate course she would send me photos and videos of all the delicious pastries she was creating. During her free time, she managed to visit many other pastries shops, museums, and parks. Whenever she was by herself, she would go to explore Soho. She is very aware that is my favorite area in the city because I have often shared so many great stories about my dining and shopping trips there. Towards the end of the trip, she wanted to stay and not go back to Arkansas. Now that she has started her own family her husband might not be big on the idea of moving as of the moment. Next time, the city might just convince her to open up her own shop here. Fingers cross!


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