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Best Hot Chocolate in LA/OC

Any suggestions for the best hot chocolate? I am not a fan of Starbucks because their's is always luke warm.

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  1. My fave in the very rich and thick category:

    In tem pe ran tia
    15324 Antioch St.
    Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
    310 459 4703
    800 982 0088

    1. Go with a south of the border twist, and get the Zocalo con Platano at ZONA ROSA in Pasadena. Hot chocolate with banana!

      15 S. El Molino Ave.,

      1. I'm not saying I like Starbuck's, but have you tried asking for your drinks extra hot? Sometimes it helps.

        Peet's hot chocolate is okay, but I haven't had it in awhile.

        1. I've been on a bit of a hot chocolate jag lately. My favorite remains Leonidas (I go to the one in Santa Monica); my personal fave is the Mexican with cinnamon and almond, yummy.

          Clementine also continues to have a first-rate version with complex-tasting chocolate and wonderful melted "homemade" marshmallows on top.

          Gave the "famous" ultra-thick version at City Bakery a couple of tries, decided I can't stand it after the first couple of sips--it's thick, all right, but really boring, the flavor's monotonous and as it cools down it just tastes and feels like chocolate-flavored fat.

          Have still not tried Intemperantia's version--bought a few of their chocolate candies somewhere (Wine House, maybe?) and wasn't sufficiently impressed on a price-to-quality basis to make the trek out to Pacific Palisades, but that's obviously not a fair basis for judgment, will have to come up with an excuse to head out that way some time.

          Just this morning, I was in Brentwood and gave another try to the "velvet chocolate" at Chocolat, the little Belgian chocolate shop on the south side of Wilshire. I had the same verdict as on previous tries: Not bad at all, but not spectacular.

          As to the chains, none of them do a *great* job, but IMHO Coffee Bean and Urth try harder with their non-coffee drinks, and have better results, than does Peet's (although the Peet's hot chocolate will certainly do in a pinch). Starbucks' non-coffee drinks, including the chocolate, taste to me like they come straight out of a mix-box.

          I would especially love to hear from anyone about recommendations for Mexican places offering top-notch versions of old-style Mexican chocolate or relatives like champurrado, atole w/chocolate, etc. I have this feeling that there's a whole world of cacao-based drinks out there that I have not even begun to discover! (I am teased by examples such as the the little Nicaraguan place El Nido on La Brea, which sells a cold "cacao juice" that resembles chocolate milk but somehow is miles better.)

          4 Replies
          1. re: PayOrPlay

            great? no, but gueleguetza on 8th serves champurrado.

            1. re: PayOrPlay

              Try Gallo Giro ... may have to travel a bit to East La off of Whittier Blvd ... they have great atole in the morning ... there is another one in Lynwood off the 105

              1. re: PayOrPlay

                I second the vote for Leonidas, I haven't tried all of the rest listed here, but Leonidas is very tasty, full of rich chocolate flavor but not TOO thick like some can be.

                1. re: PayOrPlay

                  Most branches of Vallarta Supermarket serve champurrado in the winter. Dirt cheap, too -- a 20-ounce cup is $1.50. Tortas Mexico, in Studio City and La Crescenta, also has champurrado, winter only.

                2. Not claiming to be an afficionado, but over the holidays I had some hot chocolate at Williams-Sonoma that was very tasty and would be great for when you want HC at home or at work.

                  Also, I have a negative recommendation - stay far, far away from the hot chocolate at Kate Mantilini - it sounds great on the menu, but it's the worst $5 you'll ever spend...

                  1. Trader Joes sipping chocolate is excellent!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: trilby

                      i second that.

                      but for real decadence, go for the maya hot chocolate by chuao. spicy and ohsogood.

                    2. Has anyone tried the hot chocolate available in the mornings at Sprinkles?

                      1. J. Gold mentions Casa de Souza's Mexican Hot Chocolate coupla years back here:

                        I tasted it earlier this summer and it wasn't shabby. Not as good as some of the spicier Mexican Hot Chocolates as I've tasted here in Chicago but better than Peet's ans Starbuck's that's for sure.

                        Otherwise, bring half a gallon of full milk to L'Artisan du Chocolat and see if Christian will whip you up some hot chocolat from his amazing creations? Altho that might really upset him? who knows...

                        1. Starbucks hot cocoa is NOT suppose to be lukewarm. Every HOT drink except for drink coffee and kids drinks are to be made at a very specific temperature. They have thermometers in the milk pitchers for control purposes.

                          If you don't like Starbucks' hot cocoa because it is lukewarm, even though it is not suppose to be, ask for it EXTRA HOT.

                          1. MarieBelle hot chocolate is pretty incredible if you want to make a nice cup at home. Rich, complex flavors truly satisfied my chocolate cravings. Instructions explain to try it either european style with hot water - nothing but dark chocolate bliss - or american style with hot milk - rich and creamy - imagine a warm sublime dessert soup that begs to be slurpped up with a spoon. MarieBelle's Iced Aztec Chocolate is different but equally incredible when served as a hot chocolate. Top any of these off with a good homemade-style marshmellow and you've achieved perfection!

                            1. For the Orange County peoples:

                              Chuao Chocolatier makes two outstanding hot chocolate products. The Abuela is a classic hot choc, while the Maya is the chili spiked grown up version. You can buy them as a prepared drink, or as a mix to make yourself.

                              This is a San Diego based company with several locations, the local one is in the Irvine Spectrum.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Professor Salt

                                I like making Chuao's hot chocolate at home - the one I've had at the store tends to be watery.

                              2. Also, the whipped cream on top of a Starbucks hot cocoa will cool down the steamed milk which gives you "lukewarm" hot cocoa.

                                1. If you want to make your own, try Vosges hot chocolates. I think you can find it at La Sanctuaire in Santa Monica. The White Hot Chocolate with Lavender and Lemon Myrtle was excellent and I usually don't like white chocolate.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: 212

                                    I agreed, Vosges cocoas are so good. Their Aztec Elixir is the best. Just the right amount of spice.

                                    1. re: trilby

                                      I love vosges! So good, the white hot chocolate is great (but don't get if you don't like the taste of cream b/c the other tastes are very subtle). The aztec elixir is so great, but mariebelles is also really good. I had the european chocolate...just like drinking chocolate. Trader Joe's sipping chocolate is great too, if you want it spicy just make it with a little bit of vanilla, cinnamon, and some cayenne pepper...yum!!

                                  2. There are tons of older posts about this very topic. Here's a more recent one from early this year.


                                    My votes still to Firefly Bistro's for its "European" chocolate, which is only served at brunch, and to Clementine.

                                    1. I like Clementine's version best but Lucques offers a very good one as well.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: New Trial

                                        I second Lucques--that was the best thing I ordered there.

                                      2. Where can one buy chapurrado in Orange County?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kel

                                          I like the champurrado at El Gallo Giro (Santa Ana). Smooth texture, not gritty like at some places.

                                        2. Chuao Chocolate makes an excellent cold chocolate drink (best I've had). So if judging by that experience, the hot chocolates may also be good as well.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: david t.

                                            Coupa Cafe, the new Venezuelan restaurant in Beverly Hills, serves Chuao chocolate, both hot and cold. We went Saturday for lunch and I tried the "Spicy Maya" hot chocolate, which wasn't bad but I didn't think it was up to the level of Clementine or Leonidas.

                                          2. Casbah on Sunset!
                                            On the thick side and very chocolatey tasting but not too rich. Leaves you satisfied but not full feeling. I've been on a hot chocolate binge and it's the best I've had so far.