Battle of the Sexy Desserts
With Valentine's Day around the corner, we thought we'd get you in the mood with a little friendly competition of gooey, rich and chocolatey desserts. We have two serious competitors: a deep, dark chocolate cake and a brownie-like dessert served with a side of warm chocolate sauce.
So light some candles. Slip into something sensual. And read on...
In One Corner: Cafe Zuzu at The Valley Ho
6850 E. Main St. in Scottsdale
|Oh, the naughty things we could do with this chocolate sauce...|
Cafe Zuzu exudes swank elegance without being overly pretentious. The dining area is dark and cozy, with an orange-red glow. We nabbed one of the large circular booths on the far wall, giving us a view of the place. On a weeknight it was fairly empty, save for our dining party and a couple with a small child dining on the other side of the room.
During our visit, the staff was prepping one large table as if expecting a group of foreign dignitaries. Or Brangelina and their brood.
We ordered the most sinful, diet-busting dessert on the menu: Warm Chocolate Decadence. The description given on the menu was vague, but we figured with that name it had to be good. Our dessert arrived piping hot in a cast iron baker, topped with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and accompanied by a tiny pitcher of chocolate sauce.
We dug in and found a brownie-like chocolate cake with a moist center. The cake was a little dry around the edges, but the ice cream helped to moisten the rapidly crumbling cake. The vanilla ice cream was simple, but delicious -- exactly what ice cream should be.
"I can taste real vanilla bean in here," remarked my dining companion. "It's a nice light, refreshing ice cream. Not too heavy."
The ice cream was excellent, especially when paired with the thick cake. The chocolate sauce, on the other hand, was a total disappointment.
"Are you kidding me?" our friend griped. "This can't really be..."
We know the Valley Ho is big on retro, but we didn't expect Hershey's syrup from a can. Tell us all you want about Chilean-grown cacao beans or hand-poured chocolate, everyone at our table would swear hand to Bible that this was Hershey's. That, or the Valley Ho's chefs have replicated the Pennsylvania-based company's syrup so perfectly they could put the original out of business.
The rest of our meal was delicious, and the Chocolate Decadence wasn't bad. If it had been a little moister and the syrup had been warm hot fudge, this dessert could've scored an "A." For now, the best part is the ideas the chocolate sauce gives you -- especially given that there are rooms ready and waiting right next door.