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The Nibbler: How sweet it is

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[Times photos: Stefanie Boyar]
Pastry chef Kim Yelvington displays some of her decadent creations, which feature top-tier, top-dollar chocolate.

By CHRIS SHERMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 13, 2002


The Nibbler: Chris ShermanIf your sweet tooth aches, it must know that Sugar 3 (Cubed) has opened in Tampa.

The too-cute name is spelled in math notation, and the patisserie is enclosed in an art gallery, but it's the chocolates and pastries in Euro cases that take sweets to a higher power. This is top-tier, top-dollar chocolate that has never had an elegant home here.

Pastry chef Kim Yelvington (formerly of SideBern's and Bern's) cooks with high-cocoa Valrhona chocolate and high-glam presentation.

They all look smashing, especially those robed in deep dark chocolate, like my favorite, a 3-inch cake called chocolate-covered vanilla bean. Don't worry, the vanilla is vastly outnumbered, just a sweet spice in an excuse to eat a gob of chocolate in the glazing, the mousse and everything else.

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The only one I'd skip is the chocolate stack; its cake layer was too dry.

Her partners, Paul DeMeza and Roger Chamieh, also worked at Bern's. The trio started the business last year at the Rosemary Cottage, serving their desserts in the tea room and baking for the wholesale trade, too. They set up their own, flashy quarters two months ago.

The menu runs from pastel macaroons and petits fours to precious personal desserts of pear mousse and chocolate in all forms (and in party sizes). Eat them plated at the Chocolate Bar with a cup of coffee or take 'em home (4110-A Henderson Blvd., Tampa, (813) 839-3003).

One omission that grieved me was a cup of French chocolate straight from the pot. Maybe that'll change as the place expands.

Dinner dates

Love and luck will forgive those who forgot the holidays this week.

If you can't nail down a reservation for a lovers dinner Thursday, remember that this year you can spread Valentines throughout the weekend. You've got Friday, Saturday, Sunday and even brunch to get a table. But you better have a card, flowers or chocolates on the proper day.

You've got even more time to observe Chinese New Year. Observation began yesterday but you have 12 days to enter the year of the Horse by eating your way to long life (uncut noodles) and good fortune (golden sesame cookies). The dragon dancers will give you another chance, too, Saturday at Forbidden City in Clearwater.

Mardi Gras? You just plain missed it. You'll need to pass a good time on your own.

- Food critic Chris Sherman writes about dining and restaurant news in the Nibbler. He can be reached at (727) 893-8585 or by e-mail at sherman@sptimes.com.

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