People around the country won’t want to hear this, but the Polar Vortex has avoided Los Angeles entirely. Hell, the Polar Vortex will probably never touch down in Southern California, which is why a lot of people live here. Still, on a rare day when the daytime temperature dips below 70 degrees, people race to coffeehouses to load up on lattes and hot chocolate. Why not opt for a hot international beverage? Considering all the different cultures represented in L.A., there are plenty of choices. How about champurrado?
The pre-Columbian drink can be found at plenty of many Mexican restaurants in town, including Oaxacan strongholds like Guelaguetza and Las 7 Regiones, which Lidia Chavarria opened in L.A.’s Byzantine-Latino Quarter in 1996. Their Champurrado ($3) features a blend of atole blanco (mild cornmeal drink) and bittersweet Oaxacan chocolate that’s not too rich, since there’s no milk. The cup comes with dip-able pan de llama, a loaf of egg bread that’s kind of like Mexico’s version of challah, which arrives studded with sesame seeds.
Champurrado may not be balm to the Polar Vortex, but it’s a subtle way to keep warm.