Neighborhood Joints

Chocolate Fashion: A Suprising Neighborhood Delight

Tucked away a block south of Miracle

Mile in Coral Gables, Chocolate Fashion is a pleasant

neighborhood bakery, breakfast spot, and sweet shop. On a recent

Saturday morning, we sat at one of four tables for two on the

sidewalk. However, there was a line out the door for seating inside,

where tables are cramped and the noise makes conversation difficult.

The menu is full of palate-pleasing options. We tried a brunch staple, the smoked salmon platter

($10.45). Although the menu suggests toasted brioche

as an option, the "bagel on the weekend" -- plain or multigrain --

was the only choice. Served with red onions, capers, a paltry dollop of

cream cheese, and fresh lemon, the finished product was ordinary and

not worth the price.

Listed under the Saturday and Sunday
specials on the menu, the chocolate banana pancake ($5.75) boasted an
incredibly fluffy and light consistency. Chunks of the titular fruit were
mixed into the batter. The pancake was not too sweet, with just the right
swirl of chocolate and powdered sugar on top, and came with a jar
of maple syrup.

An iced cappuccino ($3.80) helped wash down brunch. The drink arrived in a tall glass and was a well-balanced
blend of coffee, milk, and foam.

Of the trays of beautifully
presented pastries, plush croissants, and baked breads, we sampled the French macaroons ($1.85 each) and champagne truffles ($1.60 each). The macaroons were a little stiff, but the truffles were
delicious bites with smooth centers. Easter candy was already on

The staff was polite and prompt, the
atmosphere laid-back and casual, and the ambiance quaint. The tables seemed to turn quickly enough that the wait wasn't too long. And despite the crush of customers, employees looked poised as they calmly took care of guests and replenished the cases of items.

Chocolate Fashion is open for breakfast
Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There's also a location in South Miami
at 5868 Sunset Dr.

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John Zur