Thinking Outside the Box — of Chocolate

A heart-shaped box full of chocolate is romantic, but predictable. Here are some unique ways you and your family can enjoy chocolate this Valentine’s Day.


The Dirty Cookie

The Dirty Cookie

If your family digs milk and cookies, try a cookies-and-cream cookie shot from The Dirty Cookie. A soft, chocolatey and chewy cookie forms an edible shot glass that can hold milk, cold brew coffee, ice cream or even alcohol for Mom and Dad. You can order cookie shots by the dozen or half dozen and don’t forget to check out their assortment of other flavors like red velvet and chocolate chip, and themed cookie shots for birthday parties, showers and more.

17881 Skypark Circle, Suite A, Irvine


Pie Society

Pie Society

Pie Society is a secret speakeasy located behind Pit Fire Pizza on 17th Street in Costa Mesa. If you park in the lot behind the restaurant and approach what appears to be a tool shed, you will hear the faint sounds of nightlife. You are in the right place. The craft cocktail game here is solid, as is the wood-fire pizza. But for a sophisticated take on the chocolate cocktail, try the appropriately named 17th Street, made with rye whiskey, amaretto, cacao-infused Campari and bitters.

353 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa


Studio

Studio

While dessert menu staples like a hot fudge sundae or chocolate lava cake have their time and place, special meals call for a big finish. At Studio at Montage Laguna Beach, your dinner may be a tough act to follow. Enter the Guanaja Chocolate Sphere. Guanaja chocolate is manipulated into a hollow sphere housing salted caramel ice cream and surrounded by Guinness foam. Crack the sphere with a tap of your spoon to get to the goods.

30801 South Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach


SAJJ Mediterranean

SAJJ Mediterranean

Two words you never thought you’d see together: chocolate and hummus. SAJJ Mediterranean in Irvine blends garbanzo beans, tahini, cocoa powder, chocolate hazelnut spread and pistachios for a sweet spin on a Mediterranean snack. You can whip some up at home as a special dessert or after-school snack.

6636 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine

Chocolate Hummus from SAJJ Mediterranean

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. pistachios, shelled and finely chopped

Directions

Blend garbanzo beans and tahini in a blender or food processor. Add Nutella, cocoa powder and maple syrup, and blend until very smooth. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Garnish with finely chopped pistachios and serve with cinnamon pita chips.