Manhattan views and hot chocolate.

1. I’m doing a freelancing graphic design job in midtown Manhattan this week, and they gave me an office to use. It’s an ordinary office, but it has a five foot wide by eight foot tall window with a view of Manhattan that is mind-altering. I can see all of Central Park and way up into Harlem. I will try to get some good shots of it and put them up here.

2. For lunch today I grabbed some Japanese food and on my way back to the office I passed the Maison du Chocolat which advertised having hot chocolate. Hooray, I thought. I went it and ordered a small semi-sweet hot chocolate, since I imagined their dark chocolate is pretty bitter. She poured it for me and said, “That’ll be $8.50.” O…kay. This is Maison du Chocolat and they use very good chocolate, so I’ll let the price go. I get upstairs, I eat my lunch and then I try the hot chocolate (that I paid $8.50 for). Let me try to describe it to you – You take a high cocoa content chocolate bar, you melt it into a cup (so far so good), then you add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil (uh oh) and a healthy sprinkle of horse manure (oh dear), and drink it. The horse manure part is not a joke, it really did have an “earthy” tang to it. It reminded me of the desciption of the most expensive coffee in the world:

Kopi Luwak coffee comes from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, an area well-known for its excellent coffee. Also native to the area is a small civit-like animal called a Paradoxurus. That’s the scientific name, the locals call them luwaks. These little mammals live in the trees and one of their favorite foods is the red, ripe coffee cherry. They eat the cherries, bean and all. While the bean is in the little guy’s stomach, it undergoes chemical treatments and fermentations. The bean finishes its journey through the digestive system, and exits. The still-intact beans are collected from the forest floor, and are cleaned, then roasted and ground just like any other coffee.

Perhaps an animal ate my cocoa beans and the resulting product was made into my hot chocolate. Civet-digested cocoa beans would also explain the price ($8.50).

Addendum on Feb. 22: Here are those pictures of my view.

From the doorway so as to appreciate the size of the window:


Through the window:


Closer-upper view through the window, focusing on that tree-carpet area which is Central Park:


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