When we were visiting Universal Studios in Florida, we spotted this interesting building structure in the Universal CityWalk area. We originally thought it is a restaurant related to Harry Potter. But as we got close, we realized it has nothing to do with Harry Potter, but everything to do with Chocolate and everything sweet. We soon learned that it is an enchanting 19th century themed, Steampunk inspired restaurant & shop with a façade of towering smokestacks and an interior adorned with intriguing gadgets and gizmos. They just opened this summer, sometime around July or August of 2016, I think. If you are planning to dine here, make sure to go early (maybe one or two hours earlier than when you are planning to eat) and go straight to the hostess table to give them your name and number, as the wait time can be quite long. Once your table is ready, they will text you.
So, the story goes like this… “From the Alps to the empire of the Aztecs, from Mongolia to Madagascar, Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome learned new and fascinating methods of infusing chocolate into the most extraordinary recipes, making friends and receiving honors everywhere she went. Upon returning home to London, Penelope determined that she would share her love and knowledge of chocolate with the world.” And thanks to her, now we get to enjoy all the sweet discoveries right here! The inside space is large, but gets super packed with lots and lots of people visiting the Universal CityWalk.
It was very whimsical and colorful. If I didn’t know it was a sweet shop, I would’ve thought it to be some sort of magic shop with portions and gadgets. And all the staffs here are dressed up in the 19th century Steampunk inspired attire, which was really cool. They also had T-Shirts with the printed Steampunk attire as well, which was fun.
The way they displayed their sweets were just amazingly beautiful. Vivid, bright colors, sleek glass containers, very eye catching, everywhere I looked. It is not always obvious what is inside, it could be anything from perfume to love portion…but when you read the labels, you realize they are flavored (and colored) sugar powders, cotton candy, chocolates, and so on.
I wanted to buy so many of everything, regardless of what they really were, but because they looked beautiful. They would’ve made such wonderful interior decoration…and can give a sugar rush in case of emergency like a zombie attack, alien invasion, or apocalypse. Or, when you are really crazing something sweet.
They also had lots of pretty truffles and macarons in the window showcase. You can choose what you want, and they will box them up for you. Such vibrant colors, with lots of fun flavors like Hot Fudge Sundae, Peanut Butter Bacon, Guava Cheesecake, and so much more.
Around the corner from truffles and macarons, I found more amazing looking desserts in the refrigerated show window. They had mostly chocolate covered something or some kind of desserts that are made with chocolate, and lots of fluffy marshmallows.
They are made with love and care, and lots of attention to detail. Some of them looked like artworks. Yes, I wanted to buy one of each, but we had to really figure out which one we wanted to try for sure… We were also about to have a light dinner, since we were not super hungry, so it was actually a good time to look at all these beauties without being completely overcome with desires.
They had lots of interesting looking chocolate “art” beyond those ones in the showcase. They were several chocolate in interesting shapes, in align with their 19th century Steampunk theme. They had all sorts of tools and metal parts, painted in brass color, and old hand watches in brass/gold. I couldn’t believe they were edible chocolates!
And they also had few interesting things on displays, like golden shoes in strange concept or forms. I don’t think these were made of chocolates, but then again, who knows? It was really cool to look at them, who ever came up with the designs have such great imagination!
The dining area is behind the shops, well separated so that the noise from the shop will not affect the dining experience. It is almost like going into a completely different place, lead by a wide, dimmed, large walkway into the dining room. In between the shop and dining room is a kitchen for pâtissiers, making all the fabulous desserts and sweets.
We could look at all these busy bees through a large window, it was especially fun when we got to see them making their popular milkshakes. Even though there were a few pâtissiers working in the kitchen, everyone had their spot, each task and purpose, so they didn’t seem crowded. They were very efficient and fast, without losing their focus or care for the item they were making.
When our table was finally ready (about 1 hour or so, just as we were informed), the hostess took us upstairs, where they had great view of the Universal Studios through huge windows (if you get a table near the windows). They also had beautiful full bar in the middle of the floor, it was rather romantic. I wondered if a steam-engine ship in a sky would have a bar like this?
The second floor was mostly open floor, but one section was semi-private, and our table was in this section. It had very old maps of world everywhere, and all the gadgets and gizmos that Penelope brought back from all over the world (so I’ve been told by our waiter). Their menu had metal cover, really keeping the theme going here, everywhere, with every detail done perfectly. All the servers were also in 19th century Steampunk inspired attire as well, but everyone a bit different, putting their own taste and fashion sense into it.
Even the simple water was turned into something that could be an antique designed scene. Beautiful glass, no clumsy plastic cup here.
As we were not super hungry, we decided to share couple of appetizers, and a shake. The first item we ordered was a Warm Chocolate Almond Bread ($2.95). It is a fresh chocolate almond bread, with salted caramel butter. I was picturing something small, like a mini muffing type of thing, but it was actually a large bread, complete steal for less than $3! It was soft, airy, light, with large chocolate chips everywhere. It had criss cross slits so it was easy to take them apart. The butter was nice too, subtle sweetness that went great with the bread. The bread itself was not very sweet, just a hint of it, which I actually liked. It had a great flavor of the bread itself, very high quality.
The second item we ordered was called “Tochos” ($10.50). This item was very intriguing to me, it had everything I liked. Fried tater tots, spicy green chili, crispy pork belly, andouille sausage, with cheddar cheese sauce. Doesn’t that sounds just delightful? This dish was really huge, it was more like a real entrée than an appetizer. Even though we were sharing, it was so huge that we couldn’t finish it. We took about half of it home. Another great steal! It was packed with flavor, every bite was heavenly. It had nice kick to it from the chili, pork and sausage gave extra depth to the dish, and cheddar sauce sealed the whole thing. My goodness it was awesome!
Then here comes the main event of the night, the shake. They had so many different kinds of shakes, all very mouth watering, so it took us a while to decide which one to order. We finally decided on Marshmallow Crisp ($12). It is made with vanilla ice cream, rice crispies, marshmallow fluff, fresh whipped cream, and Rice Crispies treat. It is huge, almost as big as my face, as you can see in the photo below. It was sooooo good, this is what shake heaven looks and taste like. It was velvety, creamy, tasty, and very high quality. The marshmallow was really fluffy and airy, and I love Rice Crispie treat, so that was added bonus. Simple but yet intricate, it was certainly made with love and care. I believe the shakes can be ordered to go, as I saw several people walking out the restaurant with the freshly made shake, if you are planning to dine here.
We had a great dining experience here, the waiter, Alex was really nice, friendly, and gave us great recommendation on food. He was knowledgeable about the restaurant as well. I wish if this restaurant/shop can extend to NYC, but then, I don’t think they can offer the same food at the same price/portion in NYC…
We of course grabbed some treats for later and as gifts for our family. We bought couple of marshmallows. S’mores ($9.95) to take home, and Mint Chocolate Chip ($2.95) to eat right there. I think the boxed one is more expensive than the ones out of the window showcase. The box of the marshmallow says “handcrafted marshmallows brings joy to the world.” And I believe that to be true… The mint chocolate chip was so fluffy, like clouds. It was a good size, a bit bitter than the palm of my hand, more than enough to share. It had great mint flavor, not too strong, and generous amount of chocolate without overpowering the mint.
The S’mores was packages really well, it traveled very good. It was in a shrink wrap, so that it also helped to stay fresh. The S’mores looked completely different from the ones in the window showcase. I understood the reason why this one cost so much more… It was constructed with great effort. Small piece of marshmallow coated in graham cracker crumble and chocolate marshmallow were put together, and those were put together like puzzle, until it made a perfect square. It was fun to pull apart each one of those small squares from the big square to eat it.
It was constructed with great effort. Small piece of marshmallow coated in graham cracker crumble and chocolate marshmallow were put together, and those were put together like puzzle, until it made a perfect square. It was fun to pull apart each one of those small squares from the big square to eat it.
We bought boxes of chocolate covered somethings for us and for our family as well. They had great varieties, and they all sounded really good. We went with Chocolate Blueberries, Yogurt Almond, Cappuccino Biscotti Bites, and Amaretto Almond ($12.95/box). They were all soooooo delicious, high quality, and addicting. Our family members loved them all as well.
The restaurant at night was even more beautiful, and their smokestacks really blow steams! It was such a fun place to visit, where adults can let the kid inside (who loves sweets, of course) to come free and explore the wonderful world of Penelope, and chocolate.
I wish if they could expand to other locations, like NYC… so that we can have the experience again. But then again, maybe it was extra special because they are far away, and we were there for special fun vacation. If we go back to Orlando, we would definitely go back for some more great food and desserts!!!
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen – 6068 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819