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.
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Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.