Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lov'n those darn chocolates - Chocolate Passion Conroe

Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of Chocolate Passion. This is aptly named from the craving attitude of South Americans, this case of Venezuelans. Now I know many north Americans who also crave chocolate, so I am going to share this with all my readers, especially knowing how healthy chocolate is for us. OK, maybe that is an emerging trend of thought, but seriously, dark chocolate is being touted as an excellent antioxidant.

Chocolate Passion is located in Conroe, a well-spent short trip from The Woodlands area. Yes, I know! The highway department has a big construction project that sometimes creates a bad bottleneck. Well, I suggest avoiding I45 north on Friday afternoon. Other than that and at 5PM daily, I'd say the construction is not typically a big issue.

You just cannot miss out on at least sampling the products of this establishment! Nestled in a little quaint shopping center on SH 75, it is easily accessible from the SH 105 exit. When you enter the place, immediately you know you have found something different, on the order of a small town store, that is comfortable and luring. It is like a shop you might see in Old Town Spring. On entry, you are already wanting to taste their stuff. Go to the meeting room and relax like it is your own living room! Go to the cuisine enjoyment room, sit at a table on the wooden floor, and listen to the live singing entertainment that is often present on weekend nights. It is like a modern coffee shop of the 60's on a wooden floor with rustic decorations. And you can enjoy it all with your laptop connected to the Internet! Click on the title above to see their website. It has plenty of information.

Now shall we talk about the cuisine? These folks make a rare specialty chocolate, of pure (and rare) imported cocoa from Venezuela. At their grand opening, they had a wide variety of chocolates which you can pick out of the showcase by what looks good or even by product name if you really know your stuff. Of course they will help you sort out what to choose by your likes and dislikes as well. The owner is an expert Chocolatier. She has been making candy for many years and brought her expertise with her when she moved here from Venezuela. She makes her chocolate products right there in her store.

Chocolate is not all that is served, by far! Their coffee beans are also imported, freshly roasted and ground right here in the Houston area. They sell the beans and serve this coffee. You know it is always fresh! They serve Lattes and other coffee drinks, just as you would find in other coffee houses.

I do not know if they sell it or not, but I noted fresh baked Venezuelan bread, a famous Venezuelan Ham bread made for the Christmas holidays. I sampled it and it was authentic. Delicious stuff!

Breakfast and lunch are now served there as they have partnered with a catering service who prepare sandwiches and soups. I had a salad which was very tasty.

They rent out rooms for special events. It is amazing what this little place can do.

I highly recommend everyone try out this place, especially if you like chocolate. Although they do not serve alcoholic beverages, they did conduct a free wine tasting event on their opening day, to demonstrate how well certain wines will augment the taste of their chocolates and how the blend of the two together make an excellent tasting treat for the palate. I was thoroughly impressed and my passion will be Chocolate Passion, as it has always been. I guarantee that will not be the last visit there for Indianspringsguy !

Tell em I sent ya.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Liv'n Christmas Decoration Evaluations

And how do you choose the best decorated home? Or the best decorated neighborhood? I am challenged with participating in the selection of a the best neighborhood and home this year. Here are my criteria to consider:

1. Content Theme - is the neighborhood or individual home themed well? How well? This indicates a team spirit which presents a neighborhood concept instead of an individual concept of what is valued by spectators to gain group recognition. For an individual home, the theme must be recognized and consistent to be recognized. I will lean toward community or higher abstract themes more than technical or mechanical.
2. Colors - are the colors pleasing to the eye? Of course this is the reason the people who are challenged as a judge are called judges - to figure this out. And no two people see it the same way. Color themes are sometimes part of the content theme but are judged independently. For a neighborhood, I am looking for transitions from one home to another in addition to an overall color theme. Colors usually provide primary evaluation significance to the common spectator.
3. Ingenuity - the thought behind the decorations is very important. When the judge can say "wow, great ideas went into this", the recognition is likely to be higher.
4. Gaudiness - too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Minus points on this front. Christmas decor should be in good taste and in the spirit of Christmas. It is not in motor horsepower drawing Santas' reindeer 100 feet over the neighborhood. It is not spending gobs of money to be the best display. It is in the human aspect of presenting a message.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lov'n the little lady who sold her property

One little country lady has been our customer for years. She raised her children here, saw her home burned by fire, went through the death of her husband here, and at the end sold her home to The Woodlands Development Company. She will move on to new pastures. Some commercial center will rise up from her land in the bustling new village of The Woodlands in Harris county. Moving away but staying in her state, she will be remembered for her fishing stories in the rain forests of Vancouver, her dog stories, her "better than nuthin" response when we would ask her "how are you today?". In fact right after she had a significant fire in her home, she came for a pedicure with a very sullen face, and when asked how she felt, she responded "Better than nuthin". We will miss her for many reasons, but most of all because a long time resident will leave and along with her - part of the country of horses, small ranch estates and good people in the Tomball area.

Happy fishing to ya Jenny! May the bass leap right into your pockets!

"The Woodlands Development Co. has purchased 3.6 acres at 26619 Kuykendahl from Jenny Huber. Charles Underwood and Carson Underwood of McDade, Smith, Gould, Johnston, Mason + Co. represented the seller."
Houston Chronicle November 25th, 2007, "Real Estate Transactions"