A Visit to John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood

John Kelly Chocolates

Co-Owners John Kelson and Kelly Green at John Kelly Chocolates shop and factory in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

John Kelly Chocolates
1508 N. Sierra Bonita Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 851-3269
Hours: Mon-Fri 9 am – 5:30 pm, Sat 10 am – 5:30 pm

Santa Monica
1111 1/2 Montana Ave
Sana Monica, CA 90403
(310) 899-0900
Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am – 6 pm, Sat 10 am – 7 pm, Sun 12 – 5 pm

Also at:
(800) 609-4243 toll free
(323) 851-1789 fax

I am a chocoholic. I admit it.

But I’m just as picky about chocolate as I am about other kinds of food. I don’t like my chocolate bitter or waxy or too sugary. At the LA Chocolate Salon I find far more chocolates that I don’t like, compared to the ones I do. This is why I’m sometimes reluctant to do a tasting at a boutique chocolatier. It’s really hard to look at someone who has put a lot of effort and love into creating THEIR perfect version of chocolate and have to say “sorry, not my cup of tea.”

So I was very relieved when I accepted the offer to visit the John Kelly Chocolates factory in Hollywood, to discover that not only is it very much “my cup of tea,” it’s just about my new favorite thing. Co-Owners John Kelson and Kelly Green opened their Hollywood chocolate factory in 2005, supplying upscale outlets like Nieman Marcus and the Ritz Carlton hotels. The smell of chocolate brought passersby knocking on the door looking for the source of that heavenly scent, so in 2010 they opened a shop at the little factory just off Sunset Boulevard and in 2012, they opened another retail store in Santa Monica.

Kelson had a background in luxury sales and Green in marketing. Neither one was an expert in chocolate. They started with a recipe created by a friend that they really enjoyed. “We had the good fortune of having Vickie Delgado who knew chocolate and taught us, and we adjusted the recipe until we had something unique.” says Green.

Unlike the typical chocolate truffle, the offerings at John Kelly have their origins in fudge, but what they call fudge is much creamier and less sugary than any fudge I’ve ever tasted. The pieces or bars are coated in semi-sweet chocolate, which is also something you don’t usually find with fudge. You can get your 1 oz truffle fudge bites plain or with walnuts, as caramel nut clusters or peanut butter fudge. The 2 spicy dark chocolate bars come in the milder chipotle and ancho chile or the fiery habanero and jalapeno variety.

There are almost as many flavors of exotic salts that top the chocolates as there are filling, from Hawaiian Red Alaea sea salt to Himalayan pink salt. The dark chocolate with French grey sea salt won the sofi Gold Award from NASFT for Outstanding Chocolate in 2009 and it’s easy to taste why. Everything I tasted was wonderful, but the rich pure cacao goodness of this one just tastes like more.

Other favorites for me were both of the spicy varieties, the peanut butter/chocolate duo, the chocolate and caramel with Hawaiian red sea salt and the orange chocolate and…really each one was my favorite while I was eating it.

All the truffle fudge flavors are extremely rich and dense and just a small taste can be very satisfying, allowing a 1 oz piece to be enjoyed over a couple days – or an 8 oz bar all in one sitting if you’re not careful. In addition to the shareable 8 oz bar, a 3 lb party slab that serves 48-64 people can be ordered in any flavor.

At $3 for a one ounce piece, $3.50 for 2 oz, and $13 for a half pound bar, it’s not your supermarket candy bar, but it’s a relative bargain for luxury chocolate.

You can stop in either of the retail shops in Hollywood or Santa Monica or visit the Hollywood shop and factory on a Tourific Escapes tour.

If you’re like me and drool over everything chocolate, enjoy the photos from John Kelly Chocolates below.

A Vat of Gooey Chocolate

John Kelly Chocolates Factory in Hollywood - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
A vat of gooey, melty chocolate being mixed at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Dipping Fudge Truffles

Dipping Fudge Truffles at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Dipping Fudge Truffles at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood.
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Fudge Truffles being dipped in chocolate coating at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Chocolate Line at John Kelly Chocolates

Chocolate line at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Chocolate line at John Kelly Chocolates.
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Fudge truffles coming out of their chocolate coating bath.

Chocolate-Covered Truffle Fudge

Chocolate-covered truffle fudge - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Chocolate-covered truffle fudge coming off the conveyor belt at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Handmade Walnut Caramels

Making walnut caramel truffles at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Making walnut caramels that will be covered in chocolate at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Walnut Caramels at John Kelly Chocolates

Walnut Caramels at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Hand-made walnut caramels waiting to be covered in chocolate at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

A 3 Pound Bar of Chocolate

3 Pound Bar of Chocolate - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma

Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma

The three-pound slab of chocolate coated truffle fudge at John Kelly Chocolates is designed to serve about 50 people or me and another 10 chocoholics.

Salting Chocolates

John Kelly Chocolate Factory - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Salting chocolates with French gray sea salt and Hawaiian red sea salt at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Sampling the Chocolates

A Tour Group at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Tour group members get samples of chocolates to taste at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Golden Wrappers

Golden Wrapping at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Like Willie Wonka, John Kelly Chocolates wraps some of their precious cargo in golden wrappers.

Tourific Escapes at John Kelly Chocolates

Tourific Escapes Tour at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Tourific Escapes has a couple different tours that stop at John Kelly Chocolates.








San Francisco: Hotels and Restaurants

If You Go…

San Francisco Flights:

Jet Blue flies nonstop into Oakland from Long Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boston Logan, Washington Dulles, or NYC/JFK and connecting from other Jet Blue airports. Check other Flights to San Francisco.

San Francisco Hotels :

The Hotel Mark Twain
345 Taylor Street
San Francisco, CA
(877) 854-4106 Toll Free
(415) 673-2332
Note: Boutique hotel in the process of remodeling, 3 blocks to Union Square, walking distance to cable car, F line, Moscone Center, Zeum
Tip: Ask for a remodeled room
Bonus: Fridge in room, free fitness room

Hotel Fusion
140 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 568-2525
Note: Asian chic boutique hotel. Very small rooms, but cute. 2 blocks from Union square, walking distance to cable car, F line, Moscone Center, Zeum
Bonus: FREE INTERNET, but no place to set your laptop except on your lap or bed

La Luna Inn
2599 Lombard Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(866) 900-0157 Toll Free
Note: 60s style motel gone boutique with slick retro furnishings, view of the top of the Golden Gate from 2nd floor rooms, walking distance to Presidio and Fort Mason, convenient for driving to de Young and Legion of Honor

San Francisco Restaurants:

Moose’s $$-$$$
1652 Stockton in North Beach
San Francisco, CA
(415) 989-7800
Note: fresh organic American, seafood & pastas; convenient to Beach Blanket Babylon, live jazz nightly

McCormick & Kuleto’s $$-$$$
900 North Point at Ghirardelli Square
San Francisco, CA 94109
(888) 344-6861 Toll Free
(415) 929-1730
Note: Fresh seafood with an ocean view at Ghirardelli Square; menu changes daily

Neptune‘s Palace $$-$$$
Pier 39
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 434-2260
Note: Best panoramic view of the bay and the sea lions from the end of Pier 39, great seafood
Tip: For the best views and a break on prices, go for lunch. For after dinner entertainment walk over to seeMenopause the Musical at Theatre 39.

Bistro Boudin $$
Fisherman’s Wharf
160 Jefferson Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Note: 2nd floor waterfront view of Alcatraz, Clam chowder in Boudin’s famous sourdough bread bowl, seafood, burgers

The de Young Café by Bon Appčtit $
At the de Young
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94118
Note: Sandwiches and salads with organic, locally grown ingredients. Try the Thai beef sandwich.

Taylor Street Café $
375 Taylor Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 567-4031
Note: Located next to the Mark Twain Hotel, quick service and decent breakfast for reasonable price. Charge for substitutions.


Feasting Our Way Through Quincy Market

by Nancy Kalajian, photos by Kayte Deioma

Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a beehive of all that is old and new in Boston. With over 15 million tourists and local visitors each year, the Marketplace, which includes Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market, is Boston’s buzziest attraction.

A musician plays in front of Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MAWhile Faneuil Hall retains its historic meeting hall facility above various shopping venues, Quincy, North and South Markets are full of dining and entertainment options and over 80 retail shops. The four historic brick structures are grouped around a cobblestone promenade where good weather finds jugglers, human statues, musicians and magicians offering continuous free entertainment and vying for the attention of walkers, diners and shoppers.

Quincy Market, named for Mayor Josiah Quincy, was built in 1825-1826. It was Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MAdesigned by Alexander Parris in Greek Revival style with twin column-heavy arcades meeting in a central rotunda, somewhat reminiscent of marketplaces in old London. For many decades, Quincy Market served as the main distribution center for Boston’s food industry, but it needed a facelift. It was refurbished and re-opened to the public in 1976 with a food court and a bevy of retail shops.

The Quincy Market Food Colonnade features over 30 eateries, a fun place for a meal, a quick bite “to go” or to snack your way through a wet afternoon. I’ve done all three.

Grilled chicken breasts at A La Carte in Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MAVendors display menu items behind glass counters. Some even offer samples. Many of the kitchens are in full view so you can easily take a peek to see what’s going on. Check out already prepared foods simmering in steam trays or burgers being freshly fired on a grill. From a slice of cheese pizza at Pizzeria Regina or a Boston Barker, an all-meat hot dog at The Dog House, to fresh oysters at the busy Walrus and the Carpenter Raw Bar, there’s certainly something for every budget, taste and diet.

The staff of West End Strollers at Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MAOn a recent visit, the huge order of fried clams at the Fisherman’s Net made my dining companion pretty content. West End Stroller provided more healthy options, including a lightly dressed seafood salad wrap; seasoned fries accompanied the order providing a tasty starch that I craved that afternoon.

Server pours clam chowder into a bread bowl at Boston Chowda, Quincy Market, Boston, MAWe spotted at least five eateries featuring fish and/or calm chowder, and had sample tastes from each. Boston Chowda was the winner in my book; it’s even been a two-time winner of the annual Boston Harborfest Chowderfest. The Chowda’s creamy consistency, generous clams and potato chunks, served in a hearty bread bowl ($5.95) was satisfying and filling. According to the manager, they buy their bread bowls in the North End (Italian section of town) and often sell hundreds of orders in one day.

I continued down the hall quickly…to burn off some of that chowder! I ended up at Kilvert & Forbes, one of the oldest bakeries in the Colonnade. Since my first taste of their huge, flavorful macaroons at their grand opening during the Bicentennial in 1976, they always draw me back. I am happy to report that their macaroons are still outstanding, if a little pricey at $2.25 (plain) and $2.95 (partially chocolate-covered).

The Carol Ann Bakery also showcases a visually appealing assortment of delicacies. I was tempted by the horseshoe-shaped almond-flavored pastry, covered with sliced almonds, which proved addictive.

Grilled chicken breast sandwich from A La Carte at Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MAThe rotisserie chicken at A La Carte is always tender and freshly cooked, even just before closing time. Served in a seeded roll, the chicken breast is sliced, covered with your choice of BBQ or mayonnaise sauce, slices of tomato and lettuce. Platters offer a choice of vegetables and starches.

The Prime Shop specializes in roast beef and turkey. The turkey platter comes with two sides, including a choice of stuffing. I like the potatoes, whipped with butter, and the large roasted chunks of potatoes. The huge bird on display behind the glass counter is thinly carved and weighed in front of your eyes, until the scale rests at four ounces. I kind of like this approach since I receive the same turkey portion as the previous customer. No questions asked. The turkey tastes very natural, not very salty and reminds me of Thanksgiving holidays (except, my family carves thicker pieces) without the stuffing (my choice!).

Joey's Gelateria, Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MAOn several visits to Quincy Market, I noticed that lines for The Philadelphia Steak & Hoagie were pretty long. I could see why after ordering their basic Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich. For $4.72, the sandwich is made to order with a roll that reminds me of France’s best. When the sandwich was handed to me, I didn’t see any cheese so I inquired about its whereabouts. The slice of American is placed inside the roll and then covered with a generous portion of just-grilled shaved steak; the results are pleasing.

For those diners who prefer international fare, options include Mexican, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, Chinese and Japanese. You’ll even notice that some eateries reflect a United Nations of sorts, with someone from Algeria working at a dessert shop or someone Chinese slicing a pizza.

The Rotunda at Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MAOnce you have the goods, where do you sit for comfortable nibbling? In the central atrium, there are numerous square stools and tables, as well as standing room counters. It’s a great place to meet fellow travelers since the seating arrangements are in pretty close quarters. It gets quite crowded during the busy lunch and dinner hours. Numerous ceiling fans provide some relief even on hot, humid, rainy days. Sitting upstairs can serve as a quiet respite from the hustling and bustling crowds on the first floor; and can offer more privacy. There are staircases leading up either side of the rotunda. Large photo reproductions illustrate life around Quincy Market in years past. An assortment of huge signs, representing former establishments, decorate the rotunda. You can peer down into the first floor rotunda and wonder where everyone is coming from, where they are going, how their food tastes or what you might eat next…if you are still hungry that is.

The message written in gold around the base of the central rotunda reads, “This building has served the people of Boston as the central market of the city since its dedication in August 1826,” Though its scope has become even larger, with people form all over the world enjoying the market place, whether as a visitor or employee, it’s still meeting its mission to serve the people.

If you are in Quincy Market in the evening, listen for Owen Plant, a local musician who plays guitar and sings folk songs with a light Jamaican twist. The acoustics are surprisingly good, highlighting the strengths of this talented musician who has four CD’s under his belt. Owen plays at Quincy Market’s central atrium a few evenings each week.

The Bull Market at Quincy Market, Faneuill Hall Marketplace, Boston, MAGlass canopies, connecting to the outside of the buildings’ arcades, provide a safe enclosure for retail shopkeepers to sell their wares, even in a downpour. The Bull Market, a cavalcade of wooden pushcarts, line the periphery of Quincy Market. Craftspeople and artisans rent the carts by the week to showcase and sell their unique wares.

Numerous reputable, sit-down restaurants can also be found at Quincy Market, as well as North and South Markets. In Quincy Market, Chef Bill Bradleys’ Rustic Kitchen features creative Italian cuisine and Cheers Café replicates the popular TV bar.

The Mixed Grill at McCormick & Schmick Seafood Restaurant, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MAIn the North Market, Durgin-Park, one of Boston’s oldest restaurants is known for its somewhat brazen wait staff and serving huge portions. Occupying the Faneuil Hall end of North Market, McCormick and Schmick, takes such pride in the freshness of their seafood that they don’t have a freezer for anything except ice and ice cream. Their menu changes twice daily based on what fish they can get fresh in their twice-daily shipments.

Another popular, but pricey favorite is Chef Todd English’s Kingfish Hall in the South Market; try the “Dancing Fish” or the daily seafood specials.

Quincy Market hours vary but are usually open early in the day to late in the evening. The latest recorded message states Quincy Market’s hours to be Monday through Saturday 10AM to 10 PM. Please call to confirm hours. Visit www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com, Tel: 617- 523-1300. Fax: 617-523 1779.

The closest “T” stations are at Government Center, (green and blue lines), Haymarket (orange line), State Street (blue line) and Aquarium (blue line). Paid Parking is also available at 75 State Street at night and weekends with validation.