How's that New Year's resolution to lose weight going? That resolve no doubt will be tested further at Chocolate & Spice Bakery.
Megan Romano, an executive pastry chef affiliated with Charlie Palmer's Aureole for 16 years, opened the bakery at 7293 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 8, just east of Tenaya Way.
"Foods are meant to be enjoyed ... with good flavors, so that's what we're doing," she said. "Straightforward, great ingredients, someplace you'll come more than once and not necessarily for a special occasion, somewhere that you stop often as you're running errands or in between things."
The 2,400-square-foot shop can accommodate more than 70 patrons and has a small private area in the back for groups. Seating is set up with conversation areas for those with time on their hands.
One wall offers pre-packaged treats and Romano's cookbook, "It's A Sweet Life." One of its more notable recipes tells how to make chocolate-dipped orange slices.
To go along with your café white mocha, spicy chai latte or espresso, there are goodies such as croissants (chocolate, raisin pinwheel, apricot), blueberry lemon muffin, blueberry scone, ham and Gruyere brioche roll and caramel sticky brioche roll. Or maybe you're in the mood for a dessert such as banana vanilla bean cream pie or tiramisu orange parfait.
"She has a lot of good ideas," said Johnny Pride, a barrista at Chocolate & Spice.
One of those good ideas got Romano into Bon Appétit magazine.
Through Aureole at Mandalay Bay, she always has been involved with events where Bon Appétit was represented, and "at the last one, I was featured with the book ... so that was kind of neat," Romano said. "And we did (handed out) gift boxes on the way out.
"We were on vacation up in Montana, and it was this gorgeous Montana summer, and we were bike riding, and I get a phone call. When I saw Bon Appétit (on the phone), I came to a screeching halt, and they just said, 'The chocolate oranges were a big hit,' and they said, 'Will you feature it online? And if you do, we'll feature you in the magazine.' My husband was way ahead, and he (rode back during the conversation) and said, 'I thought you got hit by a car. What happened?' and I said, 'Be quiet, I'm a little busy.' "
Assuring the magazine that she would feature the recipe on her website came with a minor predicament ---- she didn't have one.
"I backtracked and said, 'How do I do this?' " she said.
"That was September 2010, I'd just done the book, and then I came back and created the website and learned about processing, packaging and shipping and all the variables. We uploaded the site November 25 (2011) and the issue (of Bon Appétit) came out on the 28th."
From December 2011 until March, 500 orders came in, and that gave her the confidence to open the bakery. Besides pastries, cakes and chocolate goodies, the business eventually will include a catering arm and one that supplies the major restaurants with dessert items.
Plans also are in the works to offer cooking classes.
Chocolate & Spice Bakery is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
For more information, call 527-7772. For more information about Romano, visit chefmeganromano.com.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 387-2949.