Critic's note: This occasional entry is about stuff that I eat or drink that you should eat or drink, too. It may be about items that are locally made, or they may not be, but you'll be able to find them in town. And you should.
I STEAL from hotel mini bars whenever possible. And few months ago, I was left unattended at Sentinel, the downtown hotel formerly known as the Governor. With a glass of Evolution's new tasty sparkling wine in one hand, I used the other to palm a tasty-looking morsel: the Firecracker chocolate bar from Chuao Chocolatier. Made by a Venezuelan who left a career in technology to make chocolate in the US, this bar should come standard issue on the Fourth of July. It's dark chocolate with sea salt, smoky chipotle, and (OMFG!) pop rocks that somehow make the chili and cocoa explode all over your tongue. Yeah, it's made in SoCal, but this is one import that has no match locally. I've eaten like five since then. Pick it up at Whole Foods or the Meadow, which, starting July 1, is celebrating "30 Days of Chocolate": They're cracking open every one of the 500 bars they sell to share. This one's made to be cracked on Independence Day.