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Jan 5, 2007 05:27 PM

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...