January 23, 2011

The Food + Travel Idea: Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate. These two words in unison invoke thoughts of cozy, wintry nights spent huddled around the fireplace- a traditional scene. Chicago's chic, new-age inspired Hot Chocolate takes this old, family-centric image, covers it in underground art, gives it a cow-skull hat, and a single strong spank. Based on a high Yelp score and the desire to find out how remix-ready a staple of my winter diet is, we spent an hour or so at Hot Chocolate.

Clara and I met up with her brother and his wife, both of who live in Chicago, and got a large shared table in the back of the restaurant. If you're one who relies heavily on first impressions,

1) Let me know so I can prepare if we ever meet, and

2) You'll agree with everything I've said so far upon setting foot in Hot Chocolate.

The walls of the small, dimly-lit restaurant are covered with odd, progressive artwork and surround an environment fueled by loud, pulsating ambient music and the constant chatter of the hipster elite.

In order to better understand the restaurant's allure, the four of us ordered the following:

-Two hot chocolates (Mexican and Affogato)

-Warm Brioche Doughnuts

-Chocolate #1

-a banana-themed dessert (I don't remember its exact name, but it was good)

Our initial reaction was that all of it was extremely rich, and that the amount we ordered was perfect for four people to share. The hot chocolate was (appropriately) excellent, and even though the anti-cinnamon activists at my table rejected my Mexican Hot Chocolate, that just meant that there was more for me. The accessory elements in each dish were there for a purpose: the super-salted thin pretzels with the Chocolate #1 complemented the semi-sweetened chocolate-lava that filled the souffle, and the Warm Brioche Doughnuts' chocolate dipping sauce made a soft, warm delicacy even warmer and more gooey.

Oh, and I almost forgot- they do brunch, lunch, and dinner as well (but I have no experience with any of these things, so look elsewhere for info!).

If you ever feel like releasing your inner hipster but just can't shake the hot chocolate blues that come with the bite of midwestern winters, I heartily suggest Hot Chocolate for relief.

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