Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

{decadence: chocolate & vines}

If you're local, I have to tell you about my favorite new (to me) place in the ArtWalk neighborhood. The other night I went out for a drink/business meeting/gab session. The person I was with texted me saying she thought I'd like Chocolate & Vines. Boy, was she right. Like is an understatement.

You know how I am when I am passionate about something--whether it's a Dollop cupcake, Burt's Bees product, my favorite cup of coffee and conversation with Mike, Will, Melissa and crew in the morning from Tim Hortons, my favorite makeup from Everyday Minerals....I just have to share. I can tell that Chocolate & Vines is going to be one of those...a place or flavor or business I just fall in love with immediately.

We went to this chocolate and wine bar on Monday night and met at 8. First of all, I love the location. It is on the corner of University and Merriman, and right across from Writers and Books and just a few steps away from a favorite shop, Craft Company No. 6. The Memorial Art Gallery, George Eastman House, and Rochester Museum & Science Center are also very close by, well within walking distance.

Secondly, the large Victorian house Chocolate & Vines is housed in is simply gorgeous. It's been renovated and has been painted in colors reflective of the original time period. It's warm and welcoming without being pretentious. There's nothing worse than walking into a place and being like you cannot relax and have fun.

I've been to places like that before, where I've envisioned my grandmother's voice speaking to me from Heaven saying, "Karley, remember a LADY always carries a hanky." When I hear that voice in my head, I swear I can almost smell her signature White Linen.

The friendly vibe is present right away. It's a really neat place. I passed a pool table while out to our table on the fabulous porch. We sat and could talk while people watching. It was a beautiful night in Rochester--not too hot or humid--and I really enjoyed looking at the menu.

You're not going to find a typical menu here, as this is a chocolate & wine bar. This is MY kind of menu--cheese samplers, a plethora of chocolates, gelato, wine, and unique beers. I love small meals and I love to graze and this is the kind of place where you want linger, chat, and enjoy the delicious offerings.Monday night happened to be when they had a tastings menu. You could have a small amount of wine, for example, for a lower cost and portion. I enjoyed the Wirra Wirra Shiraz, while my friend had the Sam Smith Strawberry Ale. You could choose other interesting sounding beers as well, from vanilla to raspberry to chocolate. They also have coffee options (using a French press) and teas.

With my shiraz, I ordered what was probably the best gelato I have ever had anywhere. It was the Cappuccino Truffle and it was heaven in a little dish. This had an espresso center with coffee meringue sprinkles. It's a coffee lover's dream.  

Also on the menu--cupcakes from Dollop, an incredible array of fine artisan chocolate truffles, other desserts such as creme brulee....everything really just looks and sounds fabulous.

Besides the beautiful setting, delicious offerings, and the general vibe of this place, the best part of my first visit has to have been the owners, Danielle and Mickey. They're funny, warm, and engaging. They're the kind of people who genuinely make you feel welcome--not because it's their "job" as the owners, but because they genuinely are welcoming to their guests. Notice I am saying guests as opposed to customers--this is because the people there aren't treated like people ordering, paying, and leaving...everyone there is made to feel like an actual, welcome guest. I like that.

I know many of you locals reading love chocolate and like beer and cheese. Who doesn't? I already arranged for a sitter and my husband and I are having date night at Chocolate & Vines this Saturday. I cannot believe I hadn't been there before. Even though it was my first time there, it definitely won't be my last!

More Info: Chocolate & Vines is located at 757 University Avenue. Their phone number is 340-6362. Hours are wonderful--they are open from noon to 11pm seven days a week. Please note that C & V is closed for a private party today from 4:30-7.

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