Multiple locations, chocollazo.com
Maybe it’s nostalgia that makes us want to grab for every milk chocolate bar inside Chocollazo. Maybe we’re eating our feelings after a long day at work or after simply remembering every horrible thing that happened in 2016 and we’re reaching for something, anything that will make everything feel OK. Whatever the case, a visit to Chocollazo's Boardwalk on Broadway will leave you wanting more.
Owned by chocolatier Mary Collazo, the family-run establishment is a lesson in decorative restraint. The stark white and black walls let you focus on the task at hand: not blowing your paycheck on boutique chocolate treats and fun candy. Those familiar with Chocollazo’s food trailer roots will find familiar items — Collazo calls them yum yums with good reason — in the cases and shelves.
There are oodles of truffles and bon bons inside the gleaming display case with favorites such as the chipotle toffee crunch, peanut butter, caramel macchiato and bacon-German chocolate. Of course, presentation matters and Collazo knows that. Collazo toils endlessly making sure each geometric truffle has just the perfect amount of sheen or colorful cosmic dust (you can sneak a peek at her truffle splatter board on the opening spread).
Baked goods were a staple of the truck but the opening of the brick-and-mortar shop called for skilled hands to give the desserts some oomph. Enter pastry chef Jenni Williams who baked her way across country clubs in West Virginia, North Carolina and Florida before moving to San Antonio earlier this year. Though she specializes in custom cakes, Williams has also revamped all of the baked goods on the menu. The added flair makes them almost too cute to eat — almost.
Whether you’re stopping in for crepes on weekend mornings, or picking up gifts for co-workers or just restocking your Pocky stash, Chocollazo’s got you. —JE
- Dan Payton
5130 Broadway, (210) 437-2200, eatbokchoy.com
Opened in May of this year, Bok Choy is the Cece’s stir-fry manifested into a restaurant: by no means authentic, but bearing enough veggies that you’ll leave feeling less guilty than if you’d opted for a burger and fries. You’re there for the quick-service fare (no doubt the systems have been perfected through its predecessors Green and Earth Burger), but do notice the massive chopstick wrapper that serves as anchor for the restaurant. It’s just plain fun.
The menu is simple enough to navigate, though still extensive. On the sides and appetizer front, spring for the Vietnamese fried spring rolls, which are a must. Hand-rolled and stuffed with an almost surprising amount of shredded carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms all still bearing a toothsome snap, the spring rolls are served in pairs with bright orange duck sauce that can, and should, go unused. The cheese rangoon, delivered both a pliable crunch and creaminess not often found in other variations.
I can sing the praises of a pad kee mao, or drunken noodles, which was garlicky and served steaming hot in a traditional to-go carton. It retained its heat through my drive home and even after digging in to the mound of wide noodles (cooked al dente), fragrant Thai basil, tender bell pepper, chunks of onion and fried tofu.
I took a gamble on the beef and broccoli for later visits. The texturized vegetable protein used creates a chewy, but tender nibble, and the “brown” sauce toes the line of soy-filled and too salty while effectively covering the carrot slices and broccoli florets that accompany the dish.
I’ll stick with the basics and keep enjoying my movie-night snacks. The fare at Bok Choy falls in line with Green’s palate-pleasing offerings and we shouldn’t expect anything else.—JE