SOMETHING CHOCOLATE: A Favorite Recipe from Calistoga Inn, Restaurant & Brewery

Rosie Dunsford, the owner of the Calistoga Inn & Brewery, is a chocolate lover who loves traditions. Rosie and her son, Michael (who also happens to be Vice-Mayor of Calistoga!) have owned the restaurant and inn since 1989 but Rosie got her start in the restaurant world back in 1980 when she opened her first restaurant in Tahoe City, California.

At the time, Rosie was 39 and recently divorced with an adventurous spirit and the desire to open a restaurant which she would name Rosie’s Café. Although she didn’t have a lick of experience in the culinary world, Rosie knew one thing for sure: when she opened the restaurant, there would be a special chocolate dessert on the menu every night. She also knew she wanted it to be a different special chocolate dessert every night and the dessert would be called SOMETHING CHOCOLATE.

With one day to go before opening the doors for business, Rosie was at her wits end- the fabulous “Something Chocolate” dessert was still missing from the menu. Nervously wringing her hands and worried that she had bitten off more than she could chew, one of her servers saved the day with a recipe that was served at all the children’s birthday parties at the time: homemade brownies that were smooshed into vanilla ice cream and refrozen.  Rosie, with her love of chocolate, decided a ladle of hot chocolate sauce would be the perfect finishing touch.

And voila! SOMETHING CHOCOLATE was born. The dessert was a huge success and clients asked for it night after night, so it remained on the menu until Rosie left the restaurant and moved to Calistoga where it is now on the Calistoga Inn & Brewery’s daily offerings. Something chocolate became SOMETHING CHOCOLATE and still is, all these years later.

Rosie Dunsford, Owner, The Calistoga Inn & Brewery


Make your favorite brownie recipe, with or without nuts, in an 8” x 8” pan. Bake until fudgy. Don’t overbake. Let it cool completely and then crumble into 1” pieces.

Have on hand one pint of vanilla ice cream. Put the ice cream in a large bowl and work in the brownie pieces, then refreeze in a container that will accommodate the mixture. Best to freeze overnight.

Add 2 oz. of warm chocolate sauce when serving.

Rosie’s Baking Tip: I use Mark Bittman’s Brownies recipe from the New York Times. I add nuts. Any good chocolate sauce will do. Originally, I used the recipe for Chocolate Sauce from Joy of Cooking. Go crazy and use coffee ice cream.