It’s winter. Or at least it’s chilly in the evening. Sometimes. Regardless of temp, there’s some things you just crave when the calendar says it’s time to put away bathing suits. Like Hot Chocolate. So maybe we’re not bundled up in the ski lodge, clutching cocoa cups for warmth, but Angeleno babes get to devour delicious hot chocolate, just like kids in the rest of the country. We rounded up the best spots for the stuff, from the Eastside to the Westside. And just in case it’s too warm, we found plenty of places that will make your cocoa chilled. Cheers!
If you haven’t been to Tierra Mia, chocolate for the whole family is the perfect excuse to go. Tierra Mia specializes in Latin inspired drinks including its Chocolate Mexicano, which is reminiscent of Abuelita chocolate with a hint of cinnamon to top it off, and it’s adored by kids. If you need an extra kick while the kids enjoy their hot chocolate, try the Mocha Mexicano, which brings new life to regular old mocha. They also specialize in a variety of drinks like a Horchata Latte and pastries like their Tres Leches Muffin. If it’s too hot to contemplate a warm drink, get any drink in frappe version, which means blended with ice. Tip: The Echo Park location is located next to the Edendale Library Branch, which hosts and fun and low-key story time hour Tuesdays at 10 a.m.
Tierra Mia has multiple spots across the city. Check the website for locations and hours.
Class is in session! Sure, kids know they love chocolate, but do they know where it comes from? Little cocoa lovers can learn all about the process of making delicious and sustainable chocolate from the knowledgeable people who work here as well as information all over the store, including cocoa pods they can examine. The aroma alone in this cozy shop (where they stone grind their own chocolate) is enough to keep you coming back. And the hot chocolate is an experience. Here you can choose your your style: thick and dense European or traditional Mexican or American Hot Chocolate; your base (water or a variety of milks); and your chocolate: 65% (If you want to play it safe), 75% or 100% cocoa (for the purists) or a spicy Mayan concoction. And while you’re here, treat the family to a flight of cookies and more chocolate. Our warm winter tip: when it’s too hot for hot, get it frozen. Their frozen hot chocolate is melted drinking chocolate poured over 3 (!!!) scoops of ice cream.
12469 Washington Blvd
photo: Lori C. via yelp
Perhaps everyone’s favorite architecture themed ice cream sandwich shop isn’t your first thought for where to find fabulous hot chocolate. And if it isn’t, you’ll be missing some incredible concoctions. The signature hot chocolate is pretty amazing on it’s own, but you can dress it up with artisan marshmallows and whipped creams. The cookies in flavors like chocolate chunk pretzel, peanut butter captain crunch and hotcake make awesome dunkers. And if it’s too hot for hot chocolate, but you can’t deny the craving, you can get an amazing Snohetta: a scoop of any ice cream plonked in your cocoa to cool it down.
8588 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, Ca
Here we have something for parents, and something for kids. They whip up a delicate and delicious lavender hot chocolate that is perfect for parents who don’t want something too sweet, and they’ll top it, or a regular hot chocolate, with a massive marshmallow torched right before your very eyes (to your child’s utter delight). Plus, they have an amazing pastry selection fresh from local bakeries. The PB&J cookie is everything kids love in one mouthful.
Cafe Demitasse has locations in Little Tokyo and Santa Monica. Check the website for hours and information.
photo: Kathleen N. via yelp
Amara Chocolate and Coffee
Amara Chocolate and Coffee is right in the midst of the bustle of Old Pasadena and the perfect complement to a day out walking, shopping or simply people watching. This sweet cafe specializes in the flavors of Venezuela, which is something you should introduce to your littles’ taste buds if you haven’t already. And their sipping chocolates are a perfect place to start. You can keep it simple with their Venezuelan Chocolate, which is a rich and creamy concoction of Venezuelan cocoa and milk. It’s so rich and creamy, kids will think they’re drinking pudding! If you’re feeling like a kick, ask for the Amara and Jones with two shots of JC espresso, or the “Mexican Authority” with pasila chile and cinnamon to wake up your senses. If you’re here, you have to try the churros with dipping chocolate or ice cream. Seriously decadent, seriously delightful, and the perfect cozy afternoon in.
55 S. Raymond Ave.
Zona Rosa Caffe
Two picks in Pasadena? Yes, because we couldn’t choose. It really depends on what you want. Step into this cafe for an experience. They specialize in Mexican hot chocolate and they do it well. You can sit downstairs or head up to their upper level for a cozy space with comfy couches to sit and sip, read and cuddle. There’s no wifi in the space, which is a plus, so it’s all about together time. If reading together is on your agenda while you sip, Vroman’s Bookstore (with one of the best children’s departments around) is right around the corner. And if that’s not enough, the pastry case here is stocked by Porto’s, the perfect hot chocolate companion.
15 S. El Molino Ave.
One of the many perfect LA morning options is a good romp at Pan Pacific Park followed by lunch at the Original Farmers Market. And while you’re here, the hot chocolate at Short Cake will warm you up if there’s a nip in the air. If the kids love Short Cake’s delectable chocolate chip cookie, they will fall for their hot chocolate to go with it. Baristas melt down the chocolate chunks from the famous cookies to create a rich ganache that is then blended into steamed milk from Straus Family Creamery to make a dream concoction. Plus, you’re sure to find a perfect pairing in their pastry case. They’ve got the family covered with their tarts, cookies, muffins, hand pies (and beyond) all made from quality ingredients. And they’re just a few stalls down from the market’s incredible Sticker Planet. It’s like you designed this outing for the kids (because you did!).
6333 W. 3rd St
This is the place to be if you want to experience the “real deal” as they say at Lady Chocolatt. Here, they specialize in thick, dense European sipping chocolate. Take it slow. Take your pick from traditional, extra dark or white. Plus, you can ask for a shot of vanilla, hazelnut or a scoop of ice cream to cool it down or on the side. While you’re here, definitely try a freshly warmed croissant or Belgian Liege Waffles (in fact, why not get both?). For those who try and limit their milk intake, try the hot chocolate made with almond milk. It might be even better than the cow kind!
12008 Wilshire Blvd.
Where do you get your creamy dreamy drinking chocolate fix? Let us know in the comment section!