kanedijkman

SF Chocolate Salon Spring 2012

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2012 at 7:19 am

 

I missed doing a review for the Fall Salon, but since it is in a smaller venue and didn’t have much new I don’t think there is anything to miss.

As with last year this Spring sees me leaving the event with a serious chocolate buzz. 10 hours later and I am still feeling the effects from it. There were a lot of regulars and a few new folks there. Compared to the last few years the event was smaller. In the Herbst Pavillion instead of the larger one which I am forgetting the name of. One cool thing this year, I learned a new word! One of the exhibitors has these thin tasting wafers that just melt on your mouth. Apparently they are called “palette” (sp? – it is a French pronunciation and spelling, so just make yourself sound French and trail off halfway through pronouncing the word any you are set).

I think the best way to review all the exhibitors is to focus on which ones got me to shell out money right then and there. That really is the best endorsement I can give. Everything I tried was great, well one of the toffee makers was marginal (the other was great), but the ones that got my money really stood out.

 

My purchases this year.

 

As usual I picked up a Genmai bar from Jade Chocolates since they really do the best green tea bar, bar none. I have tried a whole bunch of bars over the last year. Pretty much any time I come across a green tea or matcha bar I will pick it up to try, and none come close. My wife picked up the Rice Paddies which look to be new this year. They are quite nice and have a good crunch to them. Oh yeah, speaking of Jade Chocolates I did get a box of their truffles in the Fall. I did not see any out at the show and forgot to ask if they were still making them. The truffles from the Fall were okay but nothing to write home about.

Next up is Dandelion Chocolates. They were first at the Fall Salon and I picked up their bar sampler there. I really liked the rich favors they are getting from their single source seasonal beans. The favors of each bar vary based on where they were from and really need to be tried to get a feel for how varied the flavors from chocolate can be. They are opening a store in SF this year and I hope they see much success with it. Seeing them develop their bars and build a business is really inspiring.

On a side note I have to say that. I really love the paper that Jade and Dandelion wrap their chocolates in. The weight, print and texture of the paper and the unwrapping experience on their bars feels very luxurious.

NeoCocoa is on the list again this year. While my wife drove these purchases of their ganache wrapped around marshmallow everything I had at their booth was top notch. If it wasn’t these it would have been something else. My favorite this year was their caramel ganache. Very decadent!

Finally we have bacon. Bacon, bacon, bacon. Did I mention bacon? Christopher Michael Chocolates had this amazing bacon milk chocolate bar with pop rocks in it. Unlike other bacon samples I tried with this one you could smell the bacon right away. The flavor is classic milk chocolate with that yummy bacon savory salty smokeyness that ends with the sizzle of pop rocks in your mouth. Tasty and fun!

Mmmmm… Chocolate

 

 

That Usability Guy

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2011 at 7:40 am

I have always had a like / dislike thing with Jakob Nielsen and his usability stuff.

On the like side, usability is important and there are a lot of systems and apps I have used that have terrible usability *cough*Rock Band 3*cough*. usability is a critical part of making a good product.

But on the dislike side, Nielsen seems to give short shrift to the presentation side. Case in point, have you seen their site? And then they have these suggestions and reviews that I always seem to find disagreement with.

The most recent one talks about Amazon’s Windowshop. Saying it is too confusing. (I link to the Ars article due to laziness to find it in the full report. Lazy Powers Activate!) I could not disagree more. The app is awesome. It is so much better than the website. So much so that I go to it to do a purchase instead of the website using my computer. Sadly it has made buying stuff to friction free that I think I have spent more since I got that app.

I realize I am not giving any concrete examples of why it is better. Shame on me. But it is late and time for bed. Try it out and decide for yourself which is a better shopping experience.

Social Network Systems

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Gah! What is it with all social networking systems pretty much forcing you to talk to everyone? Case in point, I am looking for a new iPad developer and want to post about it on LinkedIn. Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, I have a lot of recruiters that I am linked to on the system. And I don’t want to get inundated with them all trying to get my business. I just want to reach out to people I have worked with before to see if they know anyone.

Well, I can’t. Linked in gives me two options. Everyone or connections only. There is no way to make a group or tag that I want the message to be targeted to.

Facebook, of course, does the same type of thing, and that is one of the reasons I hate it so much.

Dear social systems… not everyone wants to talk to everyone all the time.

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