‘Chocolate should be complex. Flavors should by layered and deep like a great wine or a well-made cocktail. They should also surprise you,’ says Mark Pascal, co-owner with Francis Schott of Stage Left and Catherine Lombardi restaurants in New Brunswick. Pascal and Schott have announced their own line of specialty chocolate, called Restaurant Guys Chocolate, which are presented to guests dining in Stage Left at the end of each dinner and are available online at www.restaurantguyschocolate.com.

“It’s insane a little bit I think,” says Schott. “These chocolates are delicate and very perishable. But they are insanely great on the palate. They shock you a little bit. I’m in love with them.”

The restaurateurs say they will only produce five flavors at a time. Currently available are: the Diablo (spicy), elderflower, Austrian roasted pumpkin seed with Maldon sea salt, Stage Left coffee, and black tea with oil of bergamot. Made without stabilizers or preservatives the chocolates should be consumed within seven days.

Pascal and Schott with speak on “The Stand-Alone Restaurant: The Last Bastion of Small Business at the Center of Communities” on Thursday, February 19, at the meeting of 55PLUS at the Jewish Center of Princeton.

Since its founding in 1992, Stage Left has been ranked among the best fine-dining American restaurants in the state. Its sister restaurant, Catherine Lombardi, has been rated Best Italian Restaurant in Central Jersey by the NJ Monthly Readers’ Choice Poll every year since it opened in 1995.

Pascal and Schott also host “The Restaurant Guys Radio Program,” which was broadcast five days per week on WCTC-AM before that station changed to a music format. The show continues in podcast form, where it currently reaches more than 100,000 listeners a month via Restaurant Guys, iTunes, and other podcasting portals. They also serve as consultants to the restaurant and beverage inventory and conduct regular wine-tastings, seminars, and dinners.

According to a press statement, at the February 19 event they “will discuss how their strategies for living a dignified life and for running a stand-alone restaurant have come together to make a stable, stand-alone business in the face of globalization, homogenization, out-sourcing, and Walmart-ization. They will talk about how they have forged a stable business by carefully playing a role in several different communities in a way that cannot be shipped abroad or easily commoditized.”

55PLUS was organized in 1986 as a non-sectarian group to promote social contacts and friendships among men who are either retired or who have flexible working hours. It has no officers, no by-laws, nor a formal membership roster. It meets at 10 A.M. on the first and third Thursday mornings of each month except June, July and August to listen to and discuss a wide range of topics with prominent speakers. Its meetings are open to the general public.

55-Plus, Jewish Center of Princeton, 435 Nassau Street. Thursday, February 19, 10 a.m. “The Stand-Alone Restaurant: The Last Bastion of Small Business at the Center of Communities” presented by Mark Pascal and Francis Schott, owners of Stage Left and Catherine Lombardi restaurants in New Brunswick. 609-737-2001.

Also, Oenological Adventure, Stage Left, 5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. Friday, February 20, 7 p.m. Wine course, “Southern Hemisphere.” Register. $100. Optional after-class dinner, $79. 732-828-4444 or www.stageleft.com.

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