This story comes courtesy of FoodGPS.
Los Angeles is far from frigid, but occasionally, when the days are short and a chill hits, you can now be prepared with 10 Top Los Angeles Hot Chocolates.
This “social coffee house” from former entertainment industry executive Sonny Mediana offers Cocoa Chaud ($3.75) as a decaffeinated alternative. A Belgian chocolate bar – either dark, milk or hazelnut – joins steamed milk, yielding frothy results. <a href="http://www.foodgps.com/taza-coffee-arcadia-sugarbloom-pastries/">Taza. A Social Coffee House</a> 11 West Huntington Drive Arcadia, CA 91007 626-538-2233
9. Jin Patisserie
Kristy Choo’s bamboo-lined patio cafe has been a mainstay along Abbot Kinney since 2004, but she closes the curtain on its first incarnation on March 24, 2013. Since a chocolatier’s in charge, of course Jin has Hot Chocolate ($5.50). Her approach is simple but effective, combining 72% bittersweet chocolate with steamed milk. She serves plentiful hot chocolate in a pitcher with two unfilled floral Earl Grey macaron cookies. <a href="http://jinpatisserie.com/">Jin Patisserie</a> 1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA 90291 310-399-8801
8. Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
At their Sunset Junction location, talented Intelli baristas prepare rich Hot Chocolate ($4) with ganache of 60% Tcho dark chocolate, heavy cream, and a waterfall of decorative steamed milk. <a href="http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/location/silver-lake-coffeebar">Intelligentsia Coffee</a> 3922 West Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90029 323-663-6173
At the Lopez family’s colorful ode to Oaxaca, they offer Oaxacan Hot Chocolate ($4.50) with Oaxacan cocoa powder de primera calidad (of the finest quality) blended with crushed almonds and cinnamon and a choice of milk or water, depending on how diluted or rich you want the cocoa. <a href="http://www.ilovemole.com/">Guelaguetza</a> 3014 W Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90006 213-427-0608
Bobak Roshan is a bit of a maverick, and his Lavender Liquid Hot Chocolate ($5) comes with two drops of floral lavender extract and a “giant flame kissed marshmallow” which requires the attention of a kitchen torch. The sweet, dark brown magma involves molten Guittard chocolate blended with vanilla bean and sugar to taste. During my visit, Roshan was getting ready to roll out a lemongrass version. <a href="http://cafedemitasse.com/">Demitasse</a> 135 S. San Pedro Street Los Angeles, CA 90012 213-613-9300
5. Cognoscenti Coffee
Yeekai Lim’s architectural cafe in Culver City’s Arts District has Hot Chocolate ($3.50), but only off menu. The beverage combines bittersweet Twenty-Four Blackbirds fine drinking chocolate from the Dominican Republic with subtle agave sweetener and steamed Straus barista milk. <a href="http://www.popupcoffee.com/">Cognoscenti Coffee</a> 6114 Washington Blvd Culver City, CA 90232 213-986-6624
4. Coffee + Milk
Talented Ray’s and Stark Bar pastry chef Josh Graves, who also contributes to C+M, crafted Artisanal Chocolat ($4) featuring housemade chocolate ganache with steamed Straus Family Creamery whole milk, which is rich but not too sweet. <a href="http://www.patinagroup.com/restaurant.php?restaurants_id=136">Coffee + Milk</a> 5905 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90036 323-857-6180
3. Churros Calientes
Sandro Finocchio’s tiny café next to the Laemmle Royal Theatre has sidewalk seats, a small bar, and brown handprints on the walls. Finocchio’s father owns an Italian restaurant in Caracas, Venezuela, and drew on a Spanish style of Chocolate Caliente ($3.25) to complement churros. His thick, rich hot chocolate has a pudding-like consistency. Churros Calientes 11521 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025 424-248-3890
2. ChocolateBox Cafe
Zareh Baghdasarian relocated this chocoholic’s dream from La Cañada to the Malibu Lumber Yard, an outdoor shopping mall with sumptuous wood decor. His Chocolate Bar features Belgian chocolate infused with ingredients like mint, hemp, orange of chile pepper, which all factor into Hot Chocolate ($4.95). I enjoyed the cardamom chocolate flakes, which melted into whole milk and lent a Middle Eastern flavor profile. <a href="http://www.chocolateboxcafe.com/">ChocolateBox Cafe</a> 3939 Cross Creek Road, Suite C100 Malibu, CA 90263 310-456-7977
1. Cacao Mexicatessen
Since the name of Andrew Lujan’s family restaurant refers to chocolate, of course this Eagle Rock deli and cafe has hot chocolate. Lujan is a Mexicali native, but delves deeper into Mexico to find inspiration for Hot Cacao ($3.95). La Soledad chocolate from Oaxaca joins cinnamon and sugar in a mug with milk to form a sunburst pattern. A garnish of toasted almond scales completes the sweet picture. <a href="http://www.cacaodeli.com/">Cacao Mexicatessen</a> 1576 Colorado Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90041 323-478-2791
Joshua Lurie is the founder of Food GPS, a guide to Lurie's favorite restaurants. To read more Food GPS stories, click here.
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